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Mater Dei Cricket Club lose nail biter despite Aquilina’s efforts

Msida Warriors CC are the team to beat two weeks into the 2020 Malta Cricket Association Summer League, as Super Kings CC defeated the impressive Power Hitters XI CC in the headline match of the weekend.

In Saturdays’ first game, Southern Crusaders CC opened their season with a win over Malta cricket debutants Bugibba Blasters CC. Losing the toss and being put in to bat, Crusaders’ captain, Michael Goonetilleke, worked on a tidy opening partnership with Ryan Bastianz until Blasters’ Vinay Singh Negi struck to eventually dismiss both of them. 

Bugibba Blasters could not restrict the amount extra runs conceded, coupled with late run contributions from Eardley Chandiram and Ishantha Kariyawasam, along with Indika Thilan Perera’s tidy 24 runs (not out), Crusaders amassed a score of 133 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in their 20 overs. 

Singh Negi picked up 2 wickets and 2 run-outs, while Sohan Singh was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets for 17 runs in 4 overs.

Crusaders made a blistering start to their defence as they had their opposition down 3 wickets for just 10 runs. Naikoti Rohith and Devendra Singh worked on a partnership of 42 runs before Ezhaq Masih claimed the wicket of the former. Suresh Singh Dobal (14 runs), Singh Negi (22 runs, not out) and Deepak Singh (12 runs) looked set to deliver Blasters their debut win. 

However, it was Crusaders’ ability to pick up wickets late on that proved crucial as Bugibba Blasters CC only managed to finish on 119 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in their 20 overs, handing Southern Crusaders CC a 14 run victory. 

Chandiram, Kariyawasam and Zeeshan Yousaf claimed 2 wickets each for their team. 

The result means Crusaders top Group A after two weekends.

Overseas CC triumphed in a remarkably close game against Mater Dei CC on Saturday afternoon by 2 runs, 1 run more than their margin of victory against the same opposition last year. 

Overseas captain, Jurg Hirschi, opted to bat first after winning the toss and his opening batsmen Sean Byrne and Jaz Cable set about building a total for their team. 

Byrne fell to Faisal Naeem early on, while an assured knock of 34 runs from Cable ended at the hands of Atif Sharazy. 

The exciting Heinrich Gericke came to the crease and blasted his way to a league debut half-century (56 runs) off just 29 balls. 

A healthy contribution of 23 runs by Deon Vosloo helped Overseas CC to 159 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in their 20 overs.

Mater Dei CC did not start their run chase auspiciously as Lee Tuck had Azeen Sethy out the first ball. 

Inspirational Mater Dei skipped Sam Aquilina built up partnerships with Kushilesh Kuppakka and Mohammod Sanawar before the latter two was dismissed by Luke Bradley and Jaz Cable respectively (Cable’s wicket required a great catch by Gerald Sant). 

Aquilina retired hurt after having a tooth knocked out and his jaw fractured in a freak accident but returned to the crease after Muthukumeran Murugesan was dismissed by Cable for his 2nd wicket. 

As Aquilina continued to pile on the runs for his team, Tuck continued to take wickets, removing Cornelius Khan, Naeem and Sharoon Lazar, with Sant taking his 2nd catch for the third of those wickets. 

Aquilina brought up his 50 with a clinical strike for 6 before succumbing to his counterpart captain Hirschi the very next ball – Cable holding on to a brilliant catch in the deep. 

It was all too much work for Mater Dei’s tailenders as Bradley’s dismissal of Sharoon Lazar through a spectacular catch from Gericke in the final over spelt defeat for Mater Dei CC.

Finishing on 157 for the loss of 9 wickets in 20 overs. 

Lee Tuck was the pick of the bowlers for Overseas CC as his 4 for 25 runs in 4 overs helping his team to victory.

Msida Warriors stayed top of Group B after a comfortable victory against the spirited American University of Malta CC (AUM) side. Batting first, the Warriors lost opener Samuel George Boby to Chetan Jani’s bowling with the score at 32. 

Akhil Piostine did not last much longer, succumbing to the all-rounder Abhishek Prajapati. Divyes Kumar blasted a towering 6 before being dismissed by Zoheb Malek, allowing opener Tito Thomas to score his first half-century for the club before he too fell victim to Malek again. 

Captain Rahul Nair piled on the runs as he recorded a 50+ score. However, Jitesh Patel had the last laugh of the innings, bowling Minesh Mathai. 

Nevertheless, Msida Warriors posted 166 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in their 20 overs – the highest score of the season.

In reply, AUM lost Tarak Shah and Saneesh Kumar early on; Shijil Joy and Basil Joy with the wickets respectively. 

Darshit Patanakar, Mohitkumar Panchal and Malek didn’t last much longer either with Shijil Joy having an involvement in all of their dismissals. 

The bright spark for AUM in their batting performance was Prajapati who scored his side’s first half-century in Malta domestic cricket, finishing on 69 runs and topping the MVP rankings after Week 2. The American University of Malta CC ended on 120 runs for the loss of 9 wickets in their 20 overs, handing Msida Warriors CC the victory by 46 runs. 

Samuel Kanakalil Thomas picked up his 5th wicket of the campaign, putting him top of the Bowling Leaderboards heading into Week 3.

Super Kings CC blasted the highest score of the season in the headline match of the weekend against Power Hitters XI. 

This was largely due to the impressive batting performances by top-order batsmen Gopal Chaturvedi and Varun Prasath who recorded scores of 36 runs and 37 runs respectively. 

It was the innings from Navdeep Singh Gill on his Super Kings CC debut that was the standout performance for the champions as he notched 63 runs off just 39 balls. 

Late contributions from skipper Bikram Arora and Amar Sharma saw them finish on 182 runs for the loss of 5 wickets in their 20 overs. Gurjeet Singh claimed 3 wickets for Power Hitters XI who were overwhelmed in the field by their opposition. 

Power Hitters XI CC’s response was slow as Surinder Singh and Ramandeep Singh were both dismissed by Ihtisham Ishaq at the start of the innings while Prasath claimed the scalp of Jaswinder Singh.

It was up to captain Ravinder Singh again to lead the counter-attack and his efforts resulted in his 2nd consecutive Summer League half-century, putting him firmly top of the Batting Leaderboards after 2 matches.

However, his 61 runs coupled with meaningful innings from Gurjeet Singh of 20 runs and Jaspal Singh Jnr. of 32 runs were not enough for the Power Hitters as they handed victory to Super Kings by 24 runs for the loss of 6 wickets, despite posting an impressive total of 158 runs. 

Next weekend, Mater Dei CC, who are on the cusp of elimination, take on Marsa CC in the Saturday morning game while Knight Kings CC return to face Southern Crusaders CC later on in the day.

Paola Boys CC make their debut in Maltese domestic cricket against the powerful Overseas CC on Sunday morning while Swieqi United CC take on Bugibba Blasters CC in the afternoon.

Standings

Group A: Southern Crusaders 2, Super Kings 2, Knight Kings 2, Power Hitters XI 2, Bugibba Blasters 0, Swieqi United 0

Group B: Msida Warriors 4, Marsa 2, Overseas 2, Paola Boys 0, Mater Dei 0, AUM 0

Follow all the action on the Malta Cricket Association’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maltacricketassociation

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