Epic recovery brings Epi Lions 20-point victory
Surely the best game of cricket so far this season took place on 2 October at Happy Valley, where Epi Lions pulled off a remarkable win against the odds.
A confident Moufflons team had no hesitation in batting first on winning the toss, but soon subsided to 39 for 4 and then 60 for 7, unable to cope with Richard Crossley’s swing (3-26), well supported by Aaron, Baig and Thomas.
The only batsman able to stay at the crease and make an impression was Shahzeb Shah, but he was rapidly running out of partners. He eventually received some support from Imran who made 13 at number 9, and in a 40-run stand for the last wicket with Jeet, who made 9. Shah struck 12 boundaries in his defiant innings, mixing sound defence with some swashbuckling strokes, and having a bit of fortune with dropped catches. He ended with a worthy unbeaten 78 out of a total of 164 in 29 overs.
Under the competition rules, this left Epi with 51 overs to score the runs, and they needed most of them. Initially they were blown away by the pace and swing of Babar and Jeet, who ripped out the top order and reduced Epi to 24 for 5 after 8 overs. Babar in particular was inspired and finished with figures of 3 for 17.
At this point captain Azan Baig was joined by Andy Mulkern, the ideal man for such a situation. The pair batted with composure and good sense, knowing they had plenty of overs available if they could just stay in.
Gradually the Moufflons’ bowling lost its sting, and drinks breaks came and went with no further loss of wickets. Andy was content to defend stoutly, leaving nothing to chance. Baig was also watchful, but also prepared to hit the bad ball to the boundary.
Moufflons did not help their cause by conceding an incredible 70 runs in extras, but this should not detract from the excellence of the Baig-Mulkern partnership. For the first time this season a team took advantage of the unused overs of their opponents, as Epi continued into the 45th over of their innings before securing victory – the winning run coming appropriately from a wide.
The unbroken sixth wicket stand was worth 142 by the end, with Andy on a defiant 9 and Baig, having reached his maiden half-century, on an excellent 70 not out.
Epi Lions took 20 points to go clear at the top of group A, with Moufflons picking up just 5 bonus points.