Cork Cricket Club

Cork County outgun Limerick Raiders in exhilarating run chase

Cork County continued their quest to regain the Munster Division 1 title and remain on top of the Division 1 table by welcoming newcomers Limerick Raiders to the Mardyke on Sunday. Both sides had previously met during a pre-season friendly in April when the Raiders inflicted a heavy defeat on a under strength County XI. On this occasion a strong County side took the field with only one change from last weekend’s game against Midleton with Matt Reed coming in and Michael John Wycherley unavailable due to personal reasons. Conditions were overcast and damp with the forecast of heavy showers throughout the afternoon.

Cork County skipper Robert Duggan won the toss and decided to have a bowl hoping his bowlers could take advantage of the early moisture in the pitch. However, the Limerick Raiders batsman had other ideas by taking the attack to the County bowlers. Opener Shani Alam was out early caught at first slip by Bruce Koch off the bowling of Parvez Ali and he was replaced by skipper Mosh Tayyab who soon got into his stride with some powerful shots down the ground off the bowling of James Duggan. In partnership with the other Azeem Khan, both he and Tayyab put on almost 90 runs for the second wicket with an array of shots around the ground aided by some sub standard Cork County fielding. Tayyab was eventually bowled by Robert Duggan and he was soon followed by Zia Khan who was caught LBW by young off-spinner Brad Morgan. Farrukh Bhagat joined Azeem Khan at the wicket and he took up the attack with some powerful shots to the leg-side in particular. Azeem reached his half century but was run out by Mirza and he was followed in close proximity by middle order batsmen Sajid Javid and Rizwan Aslam. With the dismissal of Farrukh for 50 after being caught behind by Chris Banon off the bowling of Bruce Koch, Cork County hoped to wrap up the Raiders innings however a brief cameo from tail-ender Usman Khan (30 runs) frustrated the County bowlers as their hopes of limiting the winning target to under 200 were dashed. Usman was clean bowled by Parvez Ali and the remaining two wickets followed in close succession leaving the home side with a daunting target of 244 runs to win in deteriorating conditions.

With 243 runs on the board the Limerick Raiders side were quietly confident of causing an upset particularly with conditions not ideal for a big run chase. Cork County openers Robert Duggan and Mirza Baig knew they must provide a solid opening partnership to allow their in-form middle order with a platform to chase down the large Raiders total. The first over from opener Usman Khan was a sign of things to come for the County batsman. The County skipper found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of short balls and balls rising off a length with the now damp wicket beginning to cut up. Mirza Baig didn’t last long as he fished outside his off stump at a short wide ball from Farrukh and was caught behind. Cork County’s Guyanese all rounder Andrew Saul batted at number 3 and was determined not to be dominated by the Limerick Raiders attack by playing some imposing drives over the top and down the ground. Saul was intelligent with his shot selection in the difficult conditions, dismissing anything over pitched or too short of length. Usman and Farrukh attempted to get the most of the conditions by bowling short of a good length hoping the pitch would provided some variable bounce. Saul and Duggan took some blows to the body as they attempted to dampen the early enthusiasm of the Limerick Raiders players. With the Cork County total on 70 for 1 Duggan played at a short wide delivery from Shani Alam which left him slightly and was caught behind by the keeper Rizwan for 25 runs. With the dismissal of skipper Duggan, in-form South African all rounder Bruce Koch joined Andrew Saul at the crease and was soon into his stride and continuing this excellent form by timing shots to both sides of the wicket with effortless ease.

With the conditions deteriorating and poor light becoming an issue for the umpires, run rate would potentially become critical to the final outcome of the game. Saul and Koch entertained the County supporters with beautiful shots to all sides of the ground which were all the more impressive given the batsman unfriendly conditions. Saul provided the power while Koch provided the finesse as their partnership grew and once 20 over’s had been completed meaning the match was now officially a game, the County run rate was almost 6.5 runs per over in comparison to Limerick’s 4.8 runs per over. Limerick knew now knew they must try and bowl out Cork County if they were to win the game. With Cork County total on 193, Andrew Saul mistimed a booming drive and spooned it up in the air to be dismissed for a hugely impressive 76 runs. The warm reception he received from the County supporters on his return to the clubhouse was justly deserved after his super innings. In-form youngster Chris Banon joined Koch at the crease with just over 40 runs required to win. Banon intelligently looked to get Koch on strike as the South African soon began to eye up his second century of the season. With the early energy of the Limerick Raiders attack now diminished, Banon and Koch eased the County total towards victory and with the total on 239 Koch played a booming on-drive from the Mardyke end deep into the adjoining tennis club car park for 6 to give County an empathic 7 wicket victory after chasing down the 244 target in just 37 over’s. Koch finished on 91 not out. As was noted by one or two of the experienced onlookers ‘it was one of the most exciting and impressive run chases seen at the Mardyke for many years’.

Cork County Team: Robert Duggan*, Bruce Koch, Chris Banon†, James Duggan, Andrew Saul, Parvez Ali, Matt Reed, Ciarán Healy, Brad Morgan, Mirza Baig & Kevin Bray.

Sunday May 30th:
Cork County 245-3 beat Limerick Raiders 243 all out by 7 wickets at the Mardyke. scorecard

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.