Catus versus Toulouse Bears and Wolves, 26th June 2022
A round robin of three games were scheduled to take place on the Sunday in Toulouse. However, Bears had had beaten Wolves the previous day by chasing down 144 runs in only 14 overs. Catus now had the task of playing two consecutive games on the same day, the first, versus Bears, being scheduled to start at 10am.
Needless to say, things didn’t get underway until nearer 10.30 and yours truly was asked to umpire both ends. In ridiculously cold conditions for the time of year, captain Atik won the toss and chose to bat. With 10 runs being taken off the first over it was obvious from the start what the instructions were. Short boundaries encourage risky shots and even untimed shots reach the boundary and the score went past 50 in the 8th over, 100 in the 12th with the Catus total finishing on 169 for 9. All of the batsman contributed, Sami and Zuber both scoring 22 and the highest scorer was Badsha with 33.
170 is normally a difficult score to chase in 20 overs but on this ground, Catus knew they would need to bowl well to restrict Bears to this total. Bobby and Atik opened and restricted Bears to 20 runs off the first four overs, Atik conceded 9 runs off three overs, Bobby ended with two more wickets to add to this year’s haul and Rahim bowled beautifully without any success but only conceded 8 runs from his four. So it became slowly obvious that the target was not going to be reached. When Rayhan (32runs) was run out after some brilliant fielding by Atik, the Bears knew the game was up and they fell well short, scoring 130 runs from their twenty.
In the next game, Wolves won the toss and elected to bat and they also made it obvious what the intention was. After a steady start the boundaries began to flow. 100 runs were on the board in the 13th over, however Catus fielded well and Sami took the catch of the day by diving forward in the deep to grasp the ball inches from the turf to dismiss Rajat who had scored a rapid 61. All of the bowlers stuck to their task really well, not being phased by some aggressive hitting, and the Wolves score finished on 168 for 7. Bobby was once again the star wicket taker with three for 26.
Catus could still go through to the final even if they lost this game provided they scored at a quicker rate than Bears had achieved on the previous day. So it was a little worrying when Catus lost their opening bat before any runs had been scored and his replacement Ali was struggling to find his timing. However, Sami slowly started to connect and when he was joined by Atik the hitting was spectacular. Sami was bowled when he reached 38 and Zuber carried on in his place scoring 23 undefeated runs with three sixes and five singles. However the undoubted man of the two matches was Atik who scored a magnificent 80 not out off only 23 balls (according to the score book!) with four sixes and 13 fours and a few singles. Catus went past the Bears score in just under 15 overs and comfortably qualified for the final.
The day finally came to an end at almost 6pm, mainly because so much time was spent hunting for lost balls, fortunately Toulouse had just enough of a supply to get to the end of the match.