By Joe Whitworth
A 10-man Midi battled bravely at a sweltering Catus but were undone by the brilliance of an unbeaten century from Rahim to lose by seven wickets in the quarter-finals of the Blevins Franks South West Cup on Sunday, 17 July.
After winning the toss and electing to bat following the long drive to Catus, Ankush Lal opened with his vice-captain Paul Rogers in a re-jigged batting order.
The usually free-scoring skipper was dropped on nought but then only added one run before being trapped LBW. Next man in, Gaurav Chatterjee, was also dropped but gave Catus another chance and but also went for one.
At 17 for two and a long tail it was looking like a short afternoon’s work for Midi and an easy win for Catus..
However, Rogers dug in and with Harshesh Bhatt measuring attack and defence perfectly, the score moved to 96-2 before Harshesh (45) fell just short of what would have been a well-deserved half century trying to accelerate the scoring rate.
As Rogers moved past 50, Ram Kumbhar (3) provided support as did Joe Whitworth (5 not out). Rogers was finally out with two balls of the innings left for a majestic 73. Ken Miller faced two balls for no run.
Midi finished on a respectable 145 for six wickets. Karim was the pick of the Catus bowlers with three for 21, Shafik took two for 37 and Faruk one for 25.
With such a score to defend, an improvement on the measly 113 when Midi beat Catus earlier in the season, the away side were dreaming of a cup upset. Alas, it was just a dream.
Despite the early wicket of Ken Sutton for one, caught and bowled Rogers (1 for 26 from three overs) with the score on 11, Rahim stepped in to take the game away from Midi.
Ankush curbed the run rate with some tight bowling (0 for 11 from six overs) but otherwise Rahim feasted on the Midi bowling.
Midi did manage to dismiss Stirling for 18 with the score on 87 and Shafik for 11 with the score on 104. Both of these wickets fell to Gaurav (2 for 54 from seven overs).
Ram’s 0 for 35 didn’t reflect how well he bowled, the number of plays and misses and shots in the air falling safely away from the field, and Lucas Zivanovic impressed with his one over for five runs.
Pierre Zivanovic bowled one over for eight runs and Miller was four balls through his first over when the home side hit the winning runs.
But the day belonged to Rahim who ended on 104 not out to see Catus home by seven wickets with more than 10 overs to spare.