Harshesh Bhatt, a leading run scorer for Midi CC over the last three seasons, bade farewell to the club with a blistering 96 runs to spearhead a 59-run victory over old rivals Catus CC in a home friendly on Sunday 1 October.
The victory kept Midi’s unbeaten record at their new ground, ‘Fortress’ Pouzolles – five wins from five matches, three in the Blevins Franks Regional League and two friendlies.
Harshesh, who will be leaving the area to study for an MBA in Nice, was cruelly deprived of a deserved century when, going for a big hit, he skied an easy catch to a close fielder. But his innings, which included three sixes and 11 fours, helped set Catus a respectable target of 193 in the 35-over match.
Catus, who were a few players short, opened their innings at breakneck speed, racking up 100 runs in only 10 overs but wickets started to fall when Midi captain Dom George brought on spinner Naeem Abbas and medium pacer Tahir and the away side fell short, dismissed for 133.
Catus, who had dramatically lost to Midi at home by one wicket in a league match this season, put the home side in to bat and got their reward when Naeem was caught for 12 with the score on 29.
But Harshesh joined Louis Parry and the pair put on 29 runs before Parry was run out going for a second run with the score on 58. He scored 25 runs, which included five fours, and, along with George (11) and Shebaz (16), stayed with Harshesh to help Midi move to 192.
Catus were soon in trouble at four for two wickets, both falling to Sharjah. But he then proved expensive as Farouk join Peter Stirling and the pair looked set to take the away side to victory, ably assisted by a rash of wides, before Naeem came on to bag Stirling for 18 and Farouk for 29.
Naeem mopped up the tail, taking four wickets for 39 off six overs, ably supported by Tahir who took two for 22 off six overs. Sharjah finished with 2 for 40 off three overs.
Midi will be aiming to keep their unbeaten run at home when they wind up the season with a double-header against Catalan visitors, Barca Internationals – a 40-over match on Saturday, 7 October, and a T20 on Sunday. Both games start at midday.