Kazepis earn vital draw against Moufflons
With competition hotting up for the qualifying places for the semi-finals, Kazepis put themselves in a good position by battling back to secure a draw against Moufflons, who really needed to win this game to progress in the competition.
Moufflons’ gameplan almost worked perfectly after Muhammad won the toss and chose to bat first, aiming to set a stiff target and then bowl out Kazepis. After brief cameos from Murtaza (19) and Bilal (20), the real work was done in a partnership of 140 in 23 overs for the third wicket between Sohel (74) and Shahzeb (61).
Sohel, promoted to open the innings, survived a shaky start to bat fluently, mixing careful defence with a number of positive attacking shots, with 13 fours. At the other end Shahzeb played himself in very carefully before unfurling his full range of strokes, bringing up his fifty with the first of his two sixes.
A late flurry by Muhammad (24), Imran (17) and Uddin (11 not out) enabled Muhammad to declare the innings closed at 260 for 8, leaving Kazepis 36 overs to chase the runs or survive for a draw. For the fielding team Changaiz was lively and took two top-order wickets, while the best bowling came from Umair with 4 for 39 from 7 overs.
Babar was an unstoppable force at the start of the Kazepis innings, taking 4 wickets in his first two overs, before injury reduced his effectiveness. But from the depths of 16 for 4 Kazepis were rescued by a calm partnership of 84 between Sadiq (53) and Changaiz (46), which only ended when Muhammad brought himself on to bowl a few tempters and promptly had Changaiz smartly stumped by Murtaza.
This brought Shahid to the crease at 100 for 5, with 161 still needed for victory from 14 overs. But Shahid’s priority was saving the game, whilst picking up as many bonus points as possible. So he initially batted in an uncharacteristically quiet style, putting on 76 in 10 overs with Sadiq. Then, as the game became safe, he accelerated in his usual manner, putting on 40 in 4 overs with Ahmed.
Moufflons had perhaps missed their best chance of winning by dropping Shahid twice. Finally in the last over, bowled by Shahzeb, he was caught for 73, which included 6 sixes. The final score of 225 for 7 resulted in an honourable draw, with Kazepis taking 14 points to Moufflons’ 13. Kazepis now require only 7 points from their last match, against Akrotiri, to guarantee a semi-final place, alongside Epi Lions whose place in the semis is now confirmed.