The Shanghai Cricket Club Dragons faced off against the Beijing Cricket Club Lions on a wet Sunday in late May in Shanghai to decide the 2016 China Cup.
Beijing arrived at Wellington Cricket Ground in a confident mood, in hopes of retaining the China Cup against a much changed Shanghai team. On arrival, both teams were more concerned with what their weather apps were telling them about the forecast, rather than the task in hand. The Shanghai team took to drying the wicket, which meant using a shovel and rake to try and get some of the excess water off the pitch.
After around an hour of debating when the game would begin both teams settled on a 35 over game, which would begin as soon as both teams would agree that it wasn’t raining too heavy.
The first battle of the day was won by Shanghai, as the new Shanghai captain, Kevin Wright, won the toss and elected to bat first. He had taken on the advice from Steve Kelaher that the Wellington pitch would not get any greener.
So out went the two Shanghai openers in Chris Wade and Wayne Voogt. Chris had been in fine form leading up to the game, but he was the first wicket to fall, scoring just 2 runs, as he was bowled by Beijing’s opening bowler Z Malik, and leaving Shanghai Dragons 6 for 1. This was of course the start Beijing were hoping for and could now smell blood.
Out to the crease stepped Phil Childs, he himself had found himself some good form with the bat leading up to the game for Hot Dogs, and he quickly found his swing in this game. Phil batting freely, began to hit the bowl to all areas of the ground, and if it wasn’t for the weather, he would have hit far more boundaries. His batting partner Wayne began to play some cracking cricket shots too, and with a partnership of 40, it was looking like the sort of batting display that was needed for a big total. However, a mix up in the middle led to Wayne being run out for a well earned 24 and Shanghai were 46 for 2.
Shanghai faced with some excellent bowling from Beijing struggled to then push on for a commanding total. Several batsmen came in, got a start, and then got out. The complete middle order from Shanghai all made double figures, but no one stepped up to make a fifty. Phil Childs looked set to do that until he was bowled on 34. Mike Tsesmelis playing his first game for Shanghai after returning from Singapore scored a quick 20 before being bowled. Playing in his first game for the Shanghai Dragons, Steve Kelaher batted well for his 25, before also getting out caught. It was the same for captain Kevin Wright, as he got 15 before picking out long off when he was trying to push the score along. This left Shanghai at 135 for 5.
After Sajid Anwar hit a quick 10 and out, both Razzaq and Manik failed to make double figures, which left Shanghai 153-9, and a total that didn’t reflect some of the batting higher up the order. However, Alex Todoroz and Santosh Yadev helped Shanghai on to a respectable total of 164 for 9.
This certainly wasn’t the total that Shanghai were hoping for, but all credit had to go to the excellent bowling and fielding display from Beijing Cricket Club. Shanghai looked like mounting a big total, but Beijing bowled tight and took wickets along the way. Special mention should go to Beijing captain, M Kasmani, with figures of 7-1-28-3.
After a fantastic tea, the Shanghai team took the field and quickly took the attack to Beijing. The opening spells from Manik Kapoor and Razzaq Mahmood reflected the desire of the Shanghai team to win the match. Manik bowling fast away swingers was matched in quality by the more accurate bowling of Razzaq from the other end. The opening spell brought wickets with none of Beijing’s top four able to get past 4 runs. This was certainly not the start that Beijing wanted, as they slumped to 21 for 4.
Beijing were definitely not going to hand this match over to Shanghai though, and K Dilshan dug deep to score a labored 13 off 27 balls and S Anwar scored a quick 16 off 15 balls to get the Beijing innings moving. However, after Alex Todorov bowled K Dilshan and Steve Kelaher got S. Anwar out caught, the game quickly began to slip away from Beijing. The introduction of Santosh Yadev brought wickets, and put any chance of a Beijing win off the cards. Santosh came out with his best figures for Shanghai Dragons with 6.3 - 3 - 9 – 4, and he deservedly won the man of the match.
When Beijing’s innings came to a close they were bowled out for 76. Beijing who had been the dominant force in this fixture for the past few years, were shown a real master class in cricket from a strong and confident Shanghai team. The weather conditions didn’t help the proceedings, but Shanghai battled their way to a respectable total, and bowled aggressively to defeat Beijing.