Lee and Badrinathan provide sting in Scorpions' tail
Bad boys Adrian Lee and Ram Badrinathan came good yesterday as the pair steered Scorpions to a nail-biting one-wicket win over PPR Asia Little Sai Wan in the Sunday Knockout Cup.
A fortnight ago, Lee and Badrinathan were in the bad books of the Hong Kong Cricket Club outfit after spilling a catch each to allow Sai Wan's Khuram Khan to score a match-winning century that denied Scorpions the Sunday League title for the second successive season. Yesterday, they made amends figuring in last-over heroics which ended with the Scorpions emerging winners by a whisker.
The last over began with Scorpions chasing 191 to win, on 189 for nine. On strike was Badrinathan and the first ball from Imran Idrees. He cut it to point where the normally reliable Maurice Ling spilled a catch diving to his left. To make matters worse for Sai Wan, the batsmen stole a run to tie the score.
Sai Wan knew they had to take the last wicket if they were to steal an improbable win, for a tie would have meant Scorpions emerging winners by virtue of losing less wickets. The next four deliveries were dot balls before Lee steered the final ball of the match to mid-wicket to take the run which gave them outright victory.
'Thankfully the Sai Wan jinx did not strike again and we managed to get one game back from them,' said relieved Scorpions skipper Adam Smith afterwards. He was referring to Scorpions recent of habit of losing key matches to Sai Wan - apart from the three-wicket loss a fortnight ago, Scorpions were beaten by Sai Wan in last season's Cup final.
The fates, however, were kind to Scorpions on this occasion with Lee and Badrinathan keeping alive their hopes of finishing this season with silverware.
The pair also featured with the ball. With strike bowler Ryan Eagleson still not recovered from his ankle injury incurred against Sai Wan previously, the onus fell on Smith and the rest of his bowlers. Smith bowled a tight spell conceding 15 runs in his 10 overs and taking a wicket.
But it was left-arm spinner Richard Norris, who grabbed the limelight, taking four for 30 including the key wicket of top-scorer Azhar Illahi (68), enticing him to chip to short mid-wicket where the safe hands of David Mallinson accepted the catch. In the same over he got the edge of Afzaal Haider's bat, to be caught behind by Tim Smart, as Sai Wan slipped to 156 for six.
Lee and Badrinathan also chipped in with two and three wickets respectively. Lee getting both the openers Imran Khan and Ikram Hussain while Badrinathan salvaged his figures with a late burst that ripped through the tail.
Although unable to play a role with the ball, Eagleson more than made up for it with the bat as he anchored the run chase with an invaluable 60 while Smart (25), Jon Powell (23) and Travis Smithson (21) all chipped in. But when Eagleson was out, going for a big hit to be bowled by Shakawat Ali, Scorpions were still 30 runs adrift with three wickets in hand.
The drama came to a head in the last over. But Lee and Badrinathan were up to it this time as they kept Scorpions in the chase for the Cup.
Meanwhile Pakistan Association stayed on course for the double as they defeated Optimists by 250 runs at Mission Road. The Pakistanis scored 399 for three with Mohammed Tahir (147), Hussain Butt (106 not out) and Ilyas Gul (103 not out) all in the runs. They then dismissed Optimists for 140 with Amar Najeeb taking six for 28.
KCC Hornets went one better than Pakistan Association. They scored a massive 418 for seven off their 50 overs against Vagabonds with skipper Ravi Sujanani scoring 117 and Graeme Jardine 139. Vagabonds were dismissed for 88.