Metchosin 168 (H. Bhardwaj 45, M. Smith 25, Y. Bryars 21; A. Singh 4-22) chase United Challengers 167 (T. P. Singh 30; A. Solanki 2-41) by 2 wickets.
The Cougars returned to the MCG for a match up against newcomers United Challengers. After the previous week’s destruction of Oak Bay, the lost toss was not necessarily a bad omen.
The two openers, young import Jet from Australia and cricket fanatic Abhi Uppal started off the innings for the Challengers. Izak was finding some early swing and found the Cougars hands asleep as an early chance was put down in the slips off the young Aussie openers.
Tanzil from the other end was shaping the ball well, and the Challengers openers were certainly showcasing their name as the runs continued to stagnant.
It was not until after the drinks break that the first break through was found, as the Challengers opener Abhi was walking back to the sheds with the score at 44-1 thanks to a sharp fielding throw from Himanshu. The skipper Nannu next in to try and curtail the Cougar defenses, but alas this did not last long as Willy T broke through and had the young Aussie ruing a missed 50 chance. Wickets began to steadily fall as the Challengers scrapped to a 167 for 8 after 45 overs with economical bowling by Tanzil and wickets by Amit, Will, Chewy, Cole & Viq.
With last weeks opener, VC, and overall Metchosin legend – Chris Duke out getting married, the opening position was left open for the mercurial Izak to fill the void.
With regular steady opener KP leading out the charge, the Cougars began the meagre 3.71 runs per over chase.
Of course, in cricket, it may be simple but it sure ain’t easy. And Izak finding the boundary rope with his second ball faced, soon found the sheds with his 3rd after some catching practice by the Challengers fielder. 8-1, surely just a blip on the radar.
KP would soon follow as a ripping delivery from Atul found the offstump. Young Cole Freigang was promoted up the order based on his steadiness in previous games and assured the skip with his straight bat and natural game play.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, this was not to last as an ill fated run attempt found the young number 3 walking back to the sheds as well, 31-3. The Cougars would need some immediate calm during the early storm. Enter legend Mike Smith, fresh off a long day of mowing, and showcasing the new team bat, the perfect opportunity to steady the ship.
Mike and Chewy found the gaps and had the runs piling up. Chewy reminding the supporters of why he was the leagues top scorer in 2021, with some beautiful straight drives and aggressive shots off the hip for four. Mike then one upped the young superstar with his own wonder shot, firing a six into the wind off the Challengers spinner.
Mike was then the next to fall after an all important 50 run partnership, with another young gun Yuri in next. With the Cougars blooding some young talent up the order, the risk/reward paying off, Yuri partnering well with Chewy to take the scores past the 100 mark and reducing the chase below 50, before Chewy missed a ball on the offstump, out for an all important 45 runs.
The skip in next, hoping to break through an early season run slump, only to be returned to the sheds early on after leaving an almighty gap between bat and pad, 128-6. Yuri was soon to follow, also seeing his stumps tumbling. 138-7, and unfortunately, Viq city not able to continue his fine form, suddenly, the Cougars are looking in trouble at 142-8!
Thankfully, the Cougars are blessed with a batting depth not seen in quite some time. With both Will & Tanzil at the crease, the worries of a the chase soon dissipated as the two veterans found the runs and Tanzil put the fear in the bowlers with his classic dash down the pitch to dispatch the bowler for six over deep midwicket.
Some late catches causing some drama and gasps in the crowd, but not to worry, the chase was soon over as the two batters ended the match in the 39th over with a two-wicket win for the Cougars.
Another great game at the MCG.
The Cougars take on the Alcos next Saturday with the final game before an away series of matches into July and August.
Scorecard can be found here: