Oakville advance to the Semi Finals with a last ball thrilling win over Niagara.
Oakville won the toss and elected to bat first in this elimination game. It was a cold and extremely windy day for cricket. Oakville got off to an ugly start, losing both their openers in the first two overs. Saad Zafar and Aizaz Paracha started rebuilding the innings. They battled hard in the windy conditions and scored runs quickly, adding 64 important runs before losing Saad for a valuable 25 runs. Aizaz was dismissed shortly after, on 44, almost scoring a second 50 in as many games. Mohsin Iqbal came to the crease but lost both partners who followed, and Tabish Khot walked in with the scoreboard reading 95 runs for 6 wickets. They both knew that to stand a chance at winning this game – they would have to bat out of their skins, and so the partnership started building. They played watchfully, trying to get as many singles as possible, and when the death overs approached, these two piled on some big runs, scoring some big boundaries and running hard between the wickets, taking the score up to a respectful 146 before Tabish got out. These two added 51 runs which would be a game saving partnership. Tabish scored 21 runs with 3 fours and Mohsin scored 34 runs with 3 fours as well. Imran Mohammed and Kamran Habib finished with a boundary each, taking the score to 158 in 40 overs. It was not easy to bat in the first half of the match, but Oakville batsmen showed great fight and posted a defendable total on the board. Zia Sarwar was the pick of the bowlers with 3 big wickets.
Oakville were focused and ready to defend this total. They got the dangerous Zia Sarwar out early, and kept taking wickets at regular intervals. Imran Mohammed and Gautam Thakur gave a strong start and Aizaz Paracha and Kamran Habib bowled their spin remarkably. The top and middle order didn’t do much damage except Saqib Rehman, who kept the scoreboard ticking. He got a good partnership going with Neil Ali, but Imran Mohammed came back to bowl, and bowled a remarkable game changing over, dismissing the top scorer Saqib and bowling a maiden over. Aqeel Raja joined Neil Ali and these two dominated for the next few overs, keeping up with the required run rate and scoring boundaries too. After a 41 run partnership, Aizaz took the big wicket of Aqeel Raja, and the game was now in the final overs. It came down to 6 required off the last ball, and Mohsin kept his cool and Niagara couldn’t get that big hit off the last ball. Oakville won by 4 runs. A remarkable display of bowling by all 5 bowlers, Imran and Gautam took 1 wicket each – both really important ones, and Kamran, Mohsin and Aizaz took 2 wickets each.
Oakville now takes on the top place NCA Force One in the Semi Finals.