Captain's innings claims cup for Buckie
BUCKIE retained possession of the Macleod and MacCallum Knock-Out Cup after emerging victorious in a nervy encounter against league champions elect Highland.
On a glorious day at the Cooper Park in Elgin, and on a good artificial wicket, the ball surprisingly held sway over the bat – with a couple of notable exceptions.
Highland batted first after winning the toss.
They would have been targeting 150 as a decent score, lower than normal due to the disappointing state of the outfield, but did well in the event to threaten three figures after their highly talented and big-hitting batting line-up was blown to pieces by some tremendous Buckie bowling.
Barry Newlands made the initial dents for Buckie – the first three batsmen all falling to good catches. Asim Ali offered great support for Newlands and chipped in with a wicket of his own in a tight spell. Tahir Shakeel and Riswan Tahir, too, kept the scoring rate under control.
All this set up Javid Aziz to sweep through the lower order. As the batsmen looked to hit out, Javid had their numbers and helped himself to five wickets in the process.
Highland all out for 96 and Buckie were buoyant at the half way point.
They were not quite so buoyant after the first 11 overs of the second innings, though, as Highland reminded the Buckie batsmen of their own class. Singh produced a devasting opening blast, taking four wickets in his six over spell for only 13 runs and reducing Buckie to 16 runs for five wickets.
Thankfully, Buckie captain Daniel Wells had survived the early carnage and, together with Riswan Tahir, set about getting his side back in the match. Run scoring slowly got easier and then one big over changed the whole feel of the game.
Walls smashed 24 runs off the 14th over to get Buckie fans cheering, and then continued to pick off the runs with Riswan playing his part in developing the match-winning batting partnership. The two had added 71 runs when Riswan fell for 26 runs. Buckie were 84 for six wickets and still needed 13 runs to win. Was there another twist remaining in this game?
Well, thankfully no. Walls finished the game in style with a pair of straight sixes. A fantastic 54 not out, a true captain’s innings, and a reminder of what he is capable of under pressure and against a quality bowling attack. The mixture of power and finesse was wonderful to watch and deserving of the man of the match award.
Next week’s game is again at the Cooper Park against Elgin.