In what turned out to be a historic day for Shanghai Cricket Club, SCC Dragons defended the Bokhara Bell Memorial Trophy in convincing style by defeating Hong Kong Cricket Club by a healthy margin of 102 runs. This is the first time SCC have recorded back-to-back victories over HKCC since 1930-1931.
It was an impressive all-round display from an SCC side with four debutants all keen to make an impression. A customary quickfire 40 from Adrian, a steady 50 from debutant Mark and a swashbuckling man of the match performance from Azeem helped the hosts to a respectable 248. In response the visitors struggled to build partnerships throughout, with Kamal and Govind tormenting the batsmen throughout as they picked up 3 wickets apiece. Only C Bright and M Versfeld provided any kind of resistance before they stuttered to 146 all out in the 40th over.
Having won the toss Waqar chose to bat first, allowing Adrian to get the hosts off to a solid start with a flurry of boundaries, despite an early mix-up which led to both openers stranded at one end, with the unfortunate Suresh having to depart without troubling the scorers in the 2nd over. Biplav steadied the ship and Adrian looked in fine form until he was clean bowled for a run a ball 40. Mark and Biplave kept the scoreboard ticking along slowly, but with boundaries hard to come by, SCC needed to inject a bit of energy into the innings if they were to reach the pre-match target of 250. This much-needed impetus came from Azeem who came to the crease with the hosts 105-4. Boundaries were now flowing with consummate ease and it looked like 280 might be on the cards until Mark – struggling with a hamstring injury – holed out to long on with the score at 183. Azeem kept finding the boundary – to the dismay of the HKCC captain whose constant field tinkering wasn’t having the desired effect – and eventually fell in the final over for a match-winning 79 off 74 balls.
The chase didn’t start well for HKCC as a rampant Kamal (8-0-29-3) dismissed both openers, including a jaffa which sent the skipper D Varlev trudging back for a golden duck. Requiring 5 per the over, the visitors were still confident of chasing down what looked like a par total, especially when A Nash belted a maximum over the long leg side boundary. However, SCC kept building pressure and taking wickets at the crucial moments, epitomised by a superb spell from Govind (10-2-28-3) who was a constant threat, especially to the left-handed set batsman C Bright. When he was dismissed in the 23rd over leaving the visitors struggling on 81-7 it was just a matter of time before victory was wrapped up with a couple of late wickets from leg spinner Adrian, who finished with impressive figures of 2-1-3-2.