ECB on fire as Raha crumble

Emirates Cricket Board’s National coach, Syed Abid Ali should be a happy man these days and why not? The reasons are plenty to be cheerful; first it was the juniors’ who did their coach proud with spectacular showing and now ECB Blues, who opened their campaign with a stylish slaughter of visiting Raha CC by the margin of 39 runs on Sunday in the ongoing CSS Homeward Bound Trophy for the XVI Sharjah Ramadan Floodlit cricket tournament – A Division, conducted by the Sharjah Cricket Council.

Obviously, the ECB Blues looked an absolutely strengthened team with the inclusion of some stalwarts, but more importantly they showed effects of a nurturing team spirit and a new team culture, being developed by the positive influence of their coach.

Batting first, ECB Blues had to be grateful to Mohd Nadeem, who showed his true potential by putting his head down and applying himself robustly to take his team to the final total of 167 for 7 wickets in 35 overs - a total that looked unlikely at one stage.

Man of the match, Mohd Nadeem was the pivot around which the innings revolved. Playing with grit and determination, he dropped anchor and batted so well to top score with a splendidly orchestrated knock of 66 not out off 93 balls studded with 4 fours and 2 sixes while Ali Asad (17) and Abdullah Hanif (15) unleashed their prowess but only momentarily.

In reply, Raha CC buoyed after two consecutive wins needed a sound start and they got one when openers Mohammed Aslam and Naseer put together 46 runs for the first wicket but the loss of quick wickets in the middle order reduced them to a precarious plunge and after that it was an uninterrupted struggle against a persistently disciplined attack that gave nothing away.

That frugal attack kept coming and chipped at the batting at regular intervals that virtually ended the resistance. Their batsmen put up an indifferent display and crumbled against a spirited attack where spinners controlled the middle innings.

The damage was done by mercurial spinners, Mohd Afzal (2 for 24) and Mohd Ausaf Ali (2 for 26) while lanky pacer, Ali Asad (2 for 28) also had his moments as the strong Raha CC batting paid the price of underrating the opposition attack.

Hyder Ali (34) and Mohamed Aslam (30) resisted stoutly while Sultan Ahmed (18) tried to steady the rocking boat but the damage was well and truly done and as it proved when they eventually crashed to 128 all out in 34.4 overs.

Click Here for Brief Scorecard.

Monday, November 10, 2003.
source : © UAEcricket.com.

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