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2008 ANNUAL CHAMPS

Salim’s Version

 

At 3:30PM Sunday evening, FCC skipper Charl’s lofted drive pinged the long off fence of Kaohsiung Yang Ming base ball stadium. It was a fitting end to a tournament which the FCC skipper had totally bossed over. FCC had completed one of its finest wins, comprehensively outplaying PCCT in the finals of the 9th Taiwan annual Cricket Tournament. For the second consecutive year, and the third time in all, Formosa has put its name on Taiwan cricket’s longest running tourney.

 

Some wins are more than what the score sheets show. A declaration of intent, a stamp of authority, or a statement of defiance. Four years before, FCC battled it out in the same venue to shake off its undeserved tag as a spent force, emerging victorious. Sunday’s win should evoke memories of that famous win for the old timers, for FCC held its fort when questions about its pre eminence were beginning to be raised.

 

The intent was quite obvious from the start. Charl managed to make it to the same train as the rest. Vinit actually turned up. Subh found himself at the right gate, on the right floor and at the right time. Maidul flew in from Korea. Rob slept for a whole hour the previous night.

 

Match: 1

FCC Vs PCCT (18 overs game)

Toss: won

FCC –  83/6

Faffa 10

Charl 23

PCCT – 84/8

Charl 4 overs 2/11

Mark 4 overs 2/26

Salim 3.2 overs 1/20

Daniel 2 overs  1/12

Neil 2 overs 1/4

Result: FCC LOSES

 

The 2 day event got off to a spectacular start with two Taipei heavy weights continuing their discussion of dominance at the Pingtung base ball stadium. True to the script, the teams played out an intense game that went right down to the wire. After 32.4 overs of scrapping, there was little to separate the two teams.

 

In the pre tournament press conference the FCC skipper would have stated his preference to bowl first. There was no press conference, but he stated it all the same to those who would listen. But FCC was put to bat first in the first game. PCCT’s opening bowler Shehzad started off with a Steve-Harmisonizque first over as his radar went totally awry. After a nightmarish first over, PCCT though pulled back in strongly through some disciplined bowling. Runs from the bat were hard to come by, as the batsman after batsman played and missed or found the fielders. Of the first 30 runs, 22 came from extras. The pressure paid off for the Pakistanis, FCC started to lose wickets regularly. Charl played a lone hand in making a boundary laden 23, that was to become the blue print for FCC batting in the tourney. FCC ended up with a below par score of 83.

At the end of FCC innings, if anyone thought the match was going to be lopsided, they couldn’t be blamed. But the resolve was unmistakable when FCC took the field. Mark and Charl bowled a splendid opening spell that laid the marker. Charl’s over to the left handed Shehzad was thrilling stuff.  Beaten for pace twice and clanged on the head, the shaken batsman’s weak attempt to hit his way out of trouble could only result in a skier which was gobbled up. New boy Niel bowled a miserly spell of spin and when Salim bowled the top scorer Asif for 23, the match was thrown wide open. FCC skipper, being the shark he is, smelled the blood and moved in for the kill, summoning his main bowlers. The gamble almost paid off, with four overs left, FCC needed 2 wickets and Pakistanis needed 9 runs. First ball of 15th over, a skier was dropped at deep square leg and with it went down FCC’s chances. PCCT scampered home with 3 overs to spare.

 

Meanwhile TSCC was tackling another group of Pakistanis at another ground and they did it rather well. It was FCC’s turn to face the new boys. Pakistan Badshas from Taichung.

 

 

Match: 2

FCC Vs Pakistan Badshaws (18 overs game)

Toss:lost

FCC –  114/1

Maidul 14

Charl 45*

Mark 25*

Badshaws – 110 all out

Mark 4 overs 3/21

Salim 4 overs 5/13

FCC WINS

 

The FCC athletes walked for 30 minutes to the scene of their next battle. After 28minutes of walking, Vinit and Maidul got tired and took a taxi to the ground.

 

It was FCC’s turn to bowl first. After a hesitant start, the Badshaws opened up with a flurry of boundaries on either side of the wicket. Change of bowling worked for FCC. Niel once again proved as hard to get away as the mosquitoes in the pavilion with his accurate offspin. Salim turned in a 5-wicket haul. Mark came back strongly and finished with 3 wickets. All was well again. You couldn’t keep Vinit out of news though, developing a cramp after he was told to warm up. But there still was a small mountain to climb. The Badshaws had scored 110 runs in their allotted overs, thanks to their rollicking start.

 

FCC opened with Charl and Maidul. The Badshaws started well, their opening bowlers bowling with pace and aggression, but FCC openers held fort, and the slightest error was pounced upon. The aggression wavered, and what followed was pure mayhem, Charl showcased a sterling display of power hitting, while the rest of the team batted around him. When the dust settled, and the balls fetched from the streets, Badshaws were badly beaten and bruised.

 

That set up the virtual semi final on Sunday morning with TSCC.

 

Match: 3

FCC Vs TSCC (18 overs game)

Toss:lost

FCC –  118/3

Paul T 38

Charl 56

TSCC – 117/5

Neil 4 overs 3/11

Result: FCC WINS

 

Saurav Ganguly famously got under the skin of Steve Waugh when he repeatedly kept Waugh waiting for the toss. In a brilliant reprisal of that tactic, FCC vice captain Salim turned up late for the game on Sunday morning. But his tactically challenged team mates were less appreciative of that master stroke.

 

 TSCC took the first strike and wasted no time in such niceties as getting their eye in or gauging the pace of the pitch. Boundaries rained, catches went down like seafood pizzas. FCC looked short of ideas and was in the danger of conceding a mammoth total. And then, Neil decided to have a say on the proceedings, the off spinner arrested the tide, getting the left hander caught behind. Salim removed Craig first ball and Mark struck to get rid of Andy. FCC had roared back into the game. But nobody told that to TSCC opener and Captain Dwayne, moving on like a runaway train. Unconcerned of the wickets falling at the other end, he managed to keep the good balls out and severely punished the loose deliveries without fail, scoring a magnificent 74 not out. His team mates and extras contributed 43.

 

FCC had the services of Paul Turner this day, and sure enough he opened with Charl. TSCC couldn’t follow up their batting performance with the ball, as Paul and Charl got stuck into the bowling. Paul was all placement and deflection, while Charl continued to muscle the ball. Chalk and cheese, it combined well for FCC. Charl duly scored his fifty. Both openers got out with victory in sight, but Faffa and Maidul saw FCC over the line with plenty to spare. A big win.

 

Match: 4 Finals

FCC Vs PCCT (16 overs game)

Toss: won

FCC 73/2

Charl 42*

PCCT – 72/7

Charl 4 overs 3/12

Mark 4 overs 2/13

Neil 4 overs 2/20

Result: FCC WINS FINAL

 

The formalities completed, contenders and challengers taken care of, the stage was set for the marquee clash. PCCT took on FCC in the finals for the umpteenth time in three years. PCCT had lost only a single game in the year, and FCC two, including the one previous evening. The two teams had stayed quite ahead of the chasing pack for most part of the last two years.

 

 

 

Defending champions FCC won the toss and elected to bowl. An overworked Lex turned up in dark shades, but he didn’t fool anyone and was summarily dispatched to patrol the busy fine leg boundary. The PCCT openers walked out to rapturous applause from the two Pakistani teams. But they might not have expected what followed. Opener Asif hit Charl hard and straight to Andy who made no mistake, starting a collapse that saw FCC climbing all over the Pakistanis. A visibly nervous Shehzad survived a dropped catch but couldn’t come into terms with the bowling, his misery ended when keeper Maidul, who has been stellar with the big gloves all tournament, caught him down leg. Pakistani captain once again went missing against FCC, trapped in front for a duck. Amjad chipped Mark to deep squareleg where Faffa made a brilliant running catch. When another wicket fell to the same combination, Pakistanis were staring down the barrel at 9/5, a stunned silence had descended on the Pakistani benches. It could have been worse at 10/6 had the umpire not failed to detect a thick edge of the eventual top scorer Shoaib.

Thereafter FCC was content to bowl tight lines and waiting for the batsmen to make mistakes. Shoaib and Moin, decided the need of the hour was survival, and pottered around. Niel struck in the penultimate over twice, and Pakistan ended with 72/7 in 16 overs, Shoaib not out on 33. It was as good a bowling performance as one could have asked for.

Paul and Charl walked out to face the Pakistanis, who was sure to throw everything and kitchen sink at them. Shehzad decided to blast out the openers and ran in from an extended run up, and …made a complete mess of it. The first ball was fast and way down leg, beat everyone for 4 byes. The next was faster, straighter, but too short, the bouncer sailed over the heads of batsman and keeper for five more. The target was suddenly 10 runs lesser without a ball being bowled. 16 came off the over, FCC was up and away. But Pakistan struck soon, Shehzad got Paul caught at mid-on off a slow ball, in an action replay of his dismissal 3 months back. Maidul walked in, but was criminally slow in attempting to steal a single to mid on, and was caught short by a direct hit. A few cigarettes went up in smoke in the FCC benches, a few nails chewed. But Charl had booked in for bed and breakfast, and with Mark playing sensibly, there was never any doubt of the final result. FCC retained the cup with 8 wickets and plenty of overs to spare.

 

Footnote

 

Charl bagged the MVP award for his 166 runs and 6 wickets.

Mark ended up as the highest wicket taker with 8 wickets.

Neil and Salim took 7 wickets each.

Like the umpires, if the wicket keeper is not the talking point, he did a wonderful job.

 

                                                                                                 Sub’s Version

Again we have come out standing proudly with our heads held high and got a chance to celebrate/relish; for sure now we have something extra to talk during Christmas and New Year J 

 

It was a wonderful weekend with happy ending; weather was perfect for cricket, not cold and not hot. We had to meet at Taipei main station at 6-30 AM on Saturday morning that’s why some of our guy didn’t get chance to sleep or change the cloths but they were on time (Rob; he has hell lots of energy even alcohol/girl can’t stop him to come). We took HSR to reach Zyoing and then cab to reach the baseball stadium.

 

We played our first league match against PCCT. It was a closed match. Score was low but everybody was charged up and not ready to give any space from the beginning. At one point of time it was almost sure that FCC is going to win coz PCCT lost all major batsman except 1 and 22 runs were required to win. We didn’t see earlier how Neil bowls that’s why our captain didn’t take risk otherwise we had a fair chance to win. This is the only match we lost marginally in whole tournament.

 

FCC VS PCCT

83/5 in 18 overs. Highest score was from Charl (23). Our overall bowling performance was good except one over from Daniel; actually we were just shortage of around 20 to 25 runs. When Daniel’s second over went wrong we tried Neil as a bowler and he surprised everybody by his intelligent spin bowling throughout the tournament (there is no chance that Neil can go for NO Ball due to overstep coz he doesn’t have any run up J).

 

 

Different moments of this match:

Charl hit one six to Meer which crossed 8th row of pavilion and it was the biggest hit in whole tournament. I think this is the biggest ground in Taiwan until now where I have played.

Vinit has dropped one tough catch due to his oversize belly which stopped him to bend quickly J

Daniel has missed one though he is a good fielder; probably he was little bit nervous.

Faffa took a nice catch and I think he was the best fielder after Charl in this match.

 

FCC VS Pakistan Badshaw

 

Second game was near sugar factory. Somebody told us it is only 5 minutes walk or we heard wrongly I don’t know (walk or taxi) it took us more than 15 minutes to reach there. We played against Pakistan Badshaw from Taichung. Hardly there is any difference between PCCT and Pakistan Badshaw including their jersey (colour/design) and mentality. This time we didn’t have any choice apart from winning and we made it.

 

Fielding at first and we restricted them to 110 though ground is much smaller than earlier ground. Our captain took the load from front as an opening bowler as well as opening batsman and he proved again why he is our beloved captain.

Everybody bowls very well in this match specially Salim who took 5 wicket in this match. Neil and Mark shared 2 wicket each and Neil was the most economical bowler in almost every match.

In this match there was some banter between two teams; as usual they like to cheat and force umpire to change his decision whatever goes against them. Pakistani team was passing lots of comments to create pressure and some of our guys giving reply using the same language as well as by taking their wicket at regular intervals. We got the bonus point also by taking all wickets.

 

I don’t have the score card with me but I think we made it in 11 overs and again Charl was the highest scorer (45). Mark and Maidul (who came from Korea to play this tournament) played well as a batsman.

 

Moments:

Lex saved one four before touching the fence and released the ball but it was overruled by Pakistani Leg umpire.

Mark and Salim was in a situation to take hat trick.

Neil said bahen chod (sister fucker) to one Pakistani/team.

Lex got a chance to take revenge becoming leg umpire.

 

First day game is over.

 

Hotel was nice in compare to Taichung. We all were waiting at least 15 minutes for Salim to come down as we were getting late to go for BBQ. Finally Salim came down but he was having secret romantic dinner plan and didn’t join with us. By the way I lost 100 NTD coz somebody told me even earlier with same wordings what Salim is going to tell and he will not join with us J  

 

It was not actually BBQ but food and place (pig and whistle) was nice. We got free Heineken or vodka for two hours; some of us utilized it properly. Somehow this time FCC didn’t keep his own standard (drinking club at night) coz maximum guys left little early. Vinit/Maidul/Andy went to rub their body by male to a nearest massage parlour. We didn’t know since when Vinit has started to like Men; we all know that Andy loves Charl’s body. Some of us (Salim joined with us) went to up stair to continue partying. Salim and Sophie tried all sorts of dance from salsa to Michael Jackson. Okay enough discussion of partying. Let’s go back to the game.

 

Now we are in a situation when we need to win the next match against TSCC otherwise we will not reach into Final.

 

FCC VS TSCC

 

Salim was late (match was started) due to pub induced glaucoma (inability to see the clock) or girlfriend trapping him in bed (better excuse than the first one!).

It was 16 over match. We started nicely but our bowler was not in the same rhythm like earlier matches and they were leaking runs. I should accept Captain from TSCC (Duane) was batting very nicely. I think he made 74 out of 117 (total score). In this match Neil was bowling very well; he had one maiden over with two wicket which restricted them to 117 only.

 

Charl and Paul T went for opening. Paul started brilliantly with nice cover drive. Charl didn’t wait to settle down rather started to hit really hard. They dropped Charl’s catch in the beginning which became very costly for them coz Charl made 56. Paul batted nicely; I have forgot the exact score. Our opener made the game; only few runs and several over were left. Mark got out immediately. Maidul and Fafa had a nice batting practice without taking winning run.  

 

Moments:

Rob dived to catch and he was just one inch short to hold it. Great effort.

Vinit did one over after having special treatment from male masseur.

  

 

We are in final now. FCC VS PCCT

 

It is the time to get revenge of first match and to retain Taiwan annual cup. We played final in Kaohsiung.

 

Fielding at first; it was Charl’s first over’s fifth ball when Andy took a stunning catch of Asif which was just beginning later we carried the same spirit. As I mentioned earlier at one point of time Pakistan team was fucked up by our great bowling and fielding. They scored 9 runs by loosing 5 wicket. Somehow they managed to score 72/7 after 16 over.

 

First over from Shajad (their best bowler) was costly one for Pakistan and he gave total 16 runs with few wide and bye 4. Paul started again nicely but got out cheaply. Maidul was run out without opening his account; it was a real good cricket from Pakistani team. Direct throw came from long off when Maidul was way behind crease. We were never in a situation from where we can loose this match coz Charl was in good form. He went for few eye catching off drive. Again Charl was the highest scorer (42). Pakistani team was confused where to put fielder for Charl. Mark played nicely with Charl without showing any hurriedness. One run require to win; fielder were closed to stop single but our captain had a different thinking by putting last nail in their coffin and he hit four.

 

Moments:

Andy took one stunning catch by which he has put his name in Taipei times; even reporter from Taipei times was clapping though he was neutral throughout the game.

Shajad was given out by umpire but still he was not ready to leave the ground.

Vinit had a chance to go for drink and come back to catch the ball. He didn’t go anywhere just waiting for the ball at same place but still managed to drop it. This time I can’t blame his belly.

 

 

 

Summary:

Charl: 166 runs and 7 wicket.

Mark: I think 36 runs and 8 wicket.

Salim: 2 runs and 7 wicket.

Neil: didn’t get chance to bat and 7 wicket.

Paul T: played only two match. Didn’t get chance to bowl. I think he scored around 44.

 

 

P.S: This time Salim was late almost in every move from one place to another. We had to play in three different grounds. Whenever we need to move Salim and Sophie was missing or they are late. Everything has been finished we were ready to head back to Taipei; taxi was waiting. Again Salim and Sophie was missing but their bags were still near the ground. Somebody told us they are in toilet J