CAPTAIN LEADS FROM THE FRONT TO SECURE SEMI-FINAL SPOT FOR ARTHINGTON
It was an inspirational performance from Arthington 1st XI Captain Naveed Andrabi in the Barrett cup quarter final match against North Stainley that proved the difference, on an overcast Tuesday evening. Much like most of the matches in the season so far, there were doubts as to whether it was going to be played at all, due to the continuous downpour on the journey north, but North Stainley seemingly had its own microclimate and the match took place, albeit reduced to 18 overs a side. Arthington won the toss and, more out of necessity than for any tactical reason, chose to bat first.
Sajid Hussain opened the batting with Andrew Dowson, but neither had made a significant impact on the score, before both returned to the dressing room in the 4th and 5th overs respectively. Ahmer Sadiq was also not quite able to reproduce the fireworks from the previous round, although we did see glimpses in his short 17-run innings, which included 2 fours and a six and the pre-match confidence of the returning Matt Moss was not converted into big runs. He managed to barely scrape into double figures, before he was caught off the bowling of the useful North Stainley spinner.
With seven overs completed, the score was a perilous 45-4, but Andrabi had made his way to the crease in the previous over, batting at number 5, and he began to stamp his authority on the match. However, not before two more wickets had fallen to take the score to 55-6, as Kevin Braithwaite did his very best attempt at a cricketing copy and paste of Khamrosh Khan’s dismissal; both players were bowled by the same spin bowler for 2 runs.
Contrary to the earlier batting frailty, the 7th wicket stand took the match into the final over and was worth 81 runs, of which Andrabi scored the majority, but Wasim Malik’s useful contribution (12) and staying power must not be overlooked. Andrabi scored stylishly and freely for his 78 not out, but it was not a chanceless knock. He was dropped on at least two, arguably three, occasions by North Stainley fielders, the most unfortunate of which saw the boundary fielder at deep mid-wicket take a clean catch, only to step back onto the boundary rope and gift Andrabi one of his 6 total sixes in the innings, which also included six fours. Andrabi’s batting performance displayed intelligence in not only keeping the majority of the strike but also expert targeting of the shorter boundary. In the final over, Luke Seaborne’s 3-ball cameo added a further 5 runs to the final score of 149-7.
A word that accurately summarises Arthington’s fielding effort would be ‘brave’. Several players took painful blows in the course of assisting the bowlers to restrict the runs. Ahmer Sadiq began the bowling innings in bizarre fashion, conceding 4 wides in the over, but he would be redeemed in his following over with a catch by Andrabi before a superb run out by Khamrosh Khan stole the show. Khan raced in from his position in the ring at backward point and seemed to pick up and throw the ball at great speed, mid-dive, all in one wristy motion. The bails flew and the remaining opening batsman was short of his ground.
Luke Seaborne was economical but not impactful at the other end from his first three overs and it took the change bowling of Andrabi to alter things further, as he removed the number three, four and five North Stainley batsmen in identical fashion; all bowled. At the other end, Sajid Hussain was hit on the wrist by a thunderbolt on the final ball of his third over and was forced off the field, unable to continue. Only he will know whether he was trying to stop the ball, or was simply unsuccessful in avoiding it. Seaborne returned to complete his five overs and struck with his second ball, having just been hit for six. This time, the yorker was on the money and the ball smashed into middle stump. Just two balls later, the new batsman lobbed up a simple catch to Matt Moss at mid-wicket to give Seaborne his second wicket, finishing with figures of 5-0-27-2. Whilst North Stainley briefly counter-attacked, the required rate quickly became unmanageable and forced another couple of run outs by Andrew Dowson and Ahmer Sadiq. Sadiq and Andrabi (5-0-21-3) completed the overs and with them, the North Stainley reply, as they finished their innings on 109-9. Arthington won by 40 runs.
Because the other quarter finals were postponed, as they were due to be played outside of the North Stainley rain-free zone, the 1st XI do not yet know who they will face in the next round nor when the next round is due to take place. It is safe to say that Captain Naveed Andrabi’s performance with both bat and ball was the key to victory in this match though and Arthington will look to take their now impressive cup form into their next few league matches, including another away match against North Stainley, where they will try to unseat them from top spot in the table.