A fine century and a six-wicket haul from all-rounder Shakeel Akram spearheaded Midi Cricket Club to an impressive 105-run victory on Sunday, 21 April. over old rivals Catus CC and marked a perfect start to their 2019 campaign in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League.
On a damp, rain sodden day in Catus, Midi captain Dom George won the toss but quickly wondered if the decision was the right one as he saw his top order fall on the willow, slumping in true Midi fashion to three wickets for 16 runs – Sher Ahmad (1), Akhter Waseem (0) and Syed Naeem (2), all removed by strike bowlers Karim Khan and Ahmed Imran.
The Catus ground, so often a graveyard for Midi in past seasons, had initiated the last rites and an early drive back to the Herault on Easter Sunday seemed the only bright prospect for the visiting side who were playing with only 10 men.
But Shakeel, playing his second season with the club, had other ideas and brandishing his bat with venom, provided the ideal anchor. Almost from the first ball he faced, he advanced down the wicket to show the opposition that he was up for an onslaught on the Catus front-line bowlers.
With able support at the other end from Ben Morgan, who crafted a studious 9,, the battle-scarred warhorse George (17) and new South African recruit Warren Dauncey (17), Shakeel set about the Catus bowling.
Before falling to a catch in the deep for 109 runs, he blasted eight sixes and seven fours, to help Midi post a competitive 183-run target from 38.1 of the allotted 40 overs..
In reply, Catus lost three early wickets for only seven runs with Sher and Naeem doing the early damage before Shakeel stepped in, removing the danger man, Rahim Khan for 25. He then despatched the last five batsmen for a total of nine runs – three clean bowled and two caught. With man-of-the-match Shakeel proving to be almost unplayable, Catus slumped to 77 all out.
Shakeel finished with impressive figures of six for 15 and with the other three strike bowlers all contributing, captain George was looking ahead optimistically to Midi’s league season in the revamped Southern Pool which now has five teams in the league competition. “Catus are never easy to play on their home ground, and we showed with both bat and ball, that we will be competitive this season,” said George.
Midi’s next match in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League is at the club’s Pouzolles ground against TCC Wolves on Sunday 5 May. Start will be at 1pm.