We keep saying that the Sevens Cricket Grounds is a great venue to go and watch cricket, but the Mammoth League match between Dubai Exiles Cricket Club and Jabal Ali Cricket Club was a bit special. In fact, very special. Four hours of a hugely entertaining game boiled down to 1 run needed off 1 ball with 1 wicket remaining for the Exiles.
The Exiles had reduced Jabal Ali to 75 for 6 after Nithin Menon had been clean bowled by ‘Sid’ Jhurani for 17 runs. Looking down the remaining tail end you wouldn’t have blamed them for thinking they might get Jebel Ali back into the changing rooms for less than 100 runs. But Jabal Ali’s Shajil Balan came to the wicket and didn’t just steady the Jabal Ali ship, he fitted it with a new engine and steering system. An unbeaten 85 runs off just 47 balls, including five x 4s and six x 6s navigated Jabal Ali to a total of 187 for 7 of their 25 overs and left the Exiles with everything to do.
Bhavik Thakkar contributes to the Exiles bowling attack
Vivek Deasai thinks it’s out!
Sami Khan removes another batsman
A decent effort!
Chasing a target of 188 for the win, the Exiles quickly found themselves on 13 for the loss of 2 wickets. ‘Sid’ Jhurani had clearly taken onboard the captain’s instructions that at least one run was needed off every ball, and set about moving the score along with what must have been an exhausting series of sprints between the wickets. ‘Sid’ eventually fell to the bowling of Sundeep Raina but not before he’d poured a lot of energy into contributing 16 runs. When Bhavik Thakkar came to the crease, Exiles only had 13 runs on the board and had already lost the wickets of Vikram Nayak and Shayan Khilji.
Bhavik Thakkar sets off on his way to 41 runs
When Exiles youngster Sami Khan arrived, Exiles were 83 for 4, there was an air of despondency around the cricket oval, the run rate was creeping upwards and light was beginning to fade. Sami, just 14 years old, arrived at the wicket and took hold of the game by the scruff of the neck, if Exiles were going to lose this match, it wasn’t going to be without a fight.
14 year old Sami Khan added a thumping 51 runs
The young man played with an assurance and presence far beyond his years and by the time he was bowled by Harish Jashnani he had hit 51 off 40 balls including three x 4s and a 6. Khalid Raja added to the 22 runs to the chase and with Moin Deshmukh batting for the Exiles things were boiling down to the business end of proceedings. The Exiles were down to their last wicket, last over and needing 11 runs to win.
Khalid Raja sends one out of the ground
Moin Deshmukh on his way to 35 not out
As the Exiles players gathered at the boundary, this one had distilled itself into an absolute nail biter. Exiles had drawn level on 187 runs, a couple of timely fours from Moin Deshmukh giving them the chance of the win. Jabal Ali pulled their fielders in close to the wicket as their bowler instructed. The final ball of the match hurtled its way down, one run needed, no wickets remaining, and Moin threaded the ball into the only space available for him and Vivek Desai to sprint between the wickets for the win, As far as sports entertainment goes – it doesn’t get much better than this one.
Moin Deshmukh finds the only gap for the win
Jabal Ali Mammoths
Dubai Exiles Cricket Club – Falcons
|11||Deshmukh Moin Ibrahim Khan||35||20||2||2||5||0||39||2|
|43||Vivek Kumar Desai||0||1||0||0||5||0||35||2|
Dubai Exiles CC v Jabal Ali CC Gallery
Mammoth League Cricket (27th November 2020)