Midi CC’s batting star Shakeel Akram once again guided his team to a second successive victory, his 90 not out providing the foundation for a convincing seven wicket win over the TCC Wolves on Sunday.
Midi, who beat Catus CC in the opening match of their 2019 league campaign, won the toss at their wind-blown Pouzolles ground and captain Dom George sent the Toulouse side in to bat.
A three-wicket haul from Ahmad Sher, another two from Shakeel and two stunning runouts by Waseem Akhtar, limited the visitors to a moderate 179 runs all out from 35 overs.
The home side lost Warren Dauncey (4) and Naeem Abbas (4) cheaply but Shakeel, coming in at number three, shored up the innings, and unlike his rampaging century against Catus the previous weekend, he studiously compiled runs at the start as he sized up the bowling.
With able support from Sher Ahmad (28 not out) and Abdul Basu Adnan (20), Shakeel hit 12 fours and four sixes to ensure that Midi would start their campaign in the Blevins Franks South West Regional League with two wins out of two.
With TCC Wolves batting first, opening strike bowler Sher got Midi off to a great start by removing TCC Wolves’ opening bat Peter Jarvis with a vicious swinging first ball then followed it up in his second over with the wicket of Edrees Zahiry to reduce the visitors to 8 for two wickets.
The Wolves then started piling on the runs and looked capable of setting Midi a competitive 200-plus target but the veteran campaigner George then removed Tanjil Haque LBW on 32, Shakeel had Sriram Balasubramaniam leg before on 21, then Waseem executed an incredible underarm direct hit from fine leg to run out top scorer Sharif Uddin on 32. With slow bowler Warren Dauncey removing Uchchhal Bandyoppadhay on 3 for what can only be described as a donkey drop, Wolves were struggling at 129 for six.
Sher and Shakeel picked up another wicket apiece, Waseem then removed young George Jarvis for a patient 21 and finally wrapped up the innings with a brilliant run out from his own bowling. Sher ended with a creditable three for 26 while Shakeel followed up his six-wicket haul against Catus, with two for 23.
George used eight of bowlers to give as many of the team as possible a chance to participate but it was the strike bowlers – Sher and Shakeel – who did the damage.
Midi’s run chase started bizarrely with opening bowler Raffi Seyal conceding 12 runs with a mixture of wides, a no ball and loose deliveries.
Raffi finally pulled his bowling together in his third over to remove Naeem Abbas for four after Warren Dauncey had been caught also for four off the bowling of Sam.
Shakeel then came in and with support at the other end from Adnan and Sher the score moved towards the winning target, the Wolves not helping their cause by having three bowlers removed from play for bowling over shoulder height after receiving a warning from the umpire.