An afternoon storm so nearly deprived Midi CC of the full points for victory in their home match against old rivals Toulouse but their visitors reached the required minimum 20 overs before the match was abandoned and on a superior run rate Midi are now top of the Blevins Franks South West League.
It was an historic day for Midi with both Harshesh Bhatt and Syed Naeem Abbas posting centuries. They helped Midi compile a record 375 runs after being put in to bat under grey skies by Toulouse who were sitting in second place in the league just ahead of Midi before Saturday’s match.
The win meant that Midi have now won all four matches – three of them in the league – on their new ground at Pouzolles. The club’s 26 points (20 for the win, 5 for batting, 1 for bowling) gives them a total of 82 points, 14 ahead of Toulouse and 19 ahead of St Aulaye who did not play at the weekend.
Toulouse, who have consistently beaten Midi in previous seasons, went desperately close to winning this match, battering 190 runs for three wickets before the rain set in. Their run rate after 20 overs was 9.5, very close to Midi’s 10.14 in 37 overs, reduced from 40 after a rain break.
Midi gave no hint of the fireworks to come after making a disastrous start. Without Captain Ankush Lal and seasoned campaigner Dom George, a drubbing looked in prospect with the score on 15 for three. The top order – Paul Rogers (4), Omit Iqbal (0) and Joris Verdaasdonk (0) – were all back in the pavilion thanks to some fine bowling by Philippe Fermanel and Rayhan.
But once Harshesh and Naeem (pictured below) had settled in, the runs started to flow and after 21 overs, they had pushed the score past 200.
Midi’s two century makers, Harshesh Bhatt (left) and Syed Naeem Abbas.
Naeem was the first to go with the score on 247, caught by Toulouse captain Brett Trudgett, his 119 runs including 10 fours and 12 sixes.
The 232-run partnership with Harshesh was the highest in Midi’s 12-year history and was made all the more meritorious after Midi’s early collapse.
Man-of-the-match Harshesh, whose 73 had steered Midi to victory against Damazan CC in the previous game at Pouzolles, took his score to 130 before being bowled by Fermanel. His mammoth innings included 18 fours and five sixes.
Adnan (23), Ajmal (20) and Pierre Zivanovic (8 not out), helped push the score along to 375 for nine wickets, a formidable target for Toulouse to chase.
Toulouse went on the offensive from the start with both Rayhan and Brett Trudgett taking to Midi’s bowlers. Only acting Captain Paul Rogers was able to stem the run flow, his superb and miserly 1 for 37 from the allotted seven overs saved the match for Midi.
When Trudgett was brilliantly bowled for 41 by Sayed in the 13th over with the score on 122, it was left to Rayhan to keep the run rate ticking over. Ultimately his undefeated 81 was not quite enough to clinch victory for Toulouse when the heavens opened and the match was abandoned with 20 overs completed.
Midi President James Luckes, who watched Midi’s victory, was elated by the performance. “This is a terrific achievement, considering the fact that the Pouzolles ground was only established this year. I feel sure that having the new ground has given a tremendous boost to the team.
“The game on Saturday was sadly rain affected and would probably have been a close run and high scoring finish had it run to a conclusion. Still, for Midi to knock up 375 runs without several of the regular players was great to watch and it shows now that there is depth in the team. All very exciting for the future.”
For latest results and league standings go to: http://www.cricket-sw-france.org/accso-tournaments/tournament-results-2017-1/