Austrian Open League - Week 2
Lords CC opened their league campaign with an 8 wicket win over Pakistan United CC in Seebarn, in May sunshine. Pakistan United elected to bat, against the young Lords opening bowlers, Sahil Bharti and Nandeep Soggi. Opener Tariq Bhatti, batting for the large part of his innings with a runner scored a patient 45 before he was caught out, his team mates Rashid Butt, who had made a typically quickfire 27, Asad Sial and Qasim Tarrer all having fallen to the Lords opening bowlers. Youngsters Abbas Asad (22) and Ehlak (32) added useful runs together, but after their dismissal some steady bowling from Kulwinder Singh (3-25) and Wasif Mohammed (2-31) saw Pakistan United collapse to 193 all out in the 46th over.
In reply seasoned campaigner Ashwani Khanna survived a loud shout for a caught behind in the first over, but after skipper Sukhvir Hira and Ashwani Sharma had fallen in quick succession, with the Lords chase faultering at 29-2, Khanna and Kulwinder Singh guided Lords home in style, adding an unbroken 166 for the third wicket in 22 overs. Khanna reached his century with a six over midwicket off only 80 balls and finished unbeaten on 112 to steer Lords home to an emphatic victory.
Last year's double winners, Austria CC Wien opened their league campaign against Vienna CC, the 2004 champions in chillier conditions in Seebarn the following day. Since winning the double in 2005, three key players - Raza Aqif, Lakhmal Kasturiarachchige and Satyam Subhash - have left the side and the club choose to give their youth team players a chance to shine in the roles vacated by the three players. Amongst the players was Lukas Dobner, Austria's representative at the European Cricket Camp in La Manga, Spain in April. Tim Simpson was captaining the Vienna CC for the first time since being appointed Team Captain,
Vienna CC handed league débuts to Gerhard Kruger and Marcel Biersteker, both of whom were soon to hold valuable catches. Openers Maninder Bharti and Aman Deep fell with just 9 runs on the board, before Qamar Abbas and Christian Kamin steadied the ship - Kamin contributing 9 in a partnership of 56 for the third wicket. After his dismissal Nitin Sharma came in and was adding runs rapidly with Abbas, both players receiving some lucky reprieves. Swirling winds meant that some steepling high catches were put down, although Kruger held on to Sharma, and then took a great low catch to dismiss Abbas for 55. Phillip Dickinson and Amritpal Singh chipped in with 23 and 19 respectively, before Mark Surridge struck - finishing with 4-38 - although his hattrick ball to Amritpal Singh was despatched for 6. Heinz Prusnik-Dragosits, who had been injured standing up to Surridge returned at the end of the innings and took two caught behinds, with Neil Foster claiming the last 2 wickets in three balls to see Austria CC finish on 206 all out, aided somewhat by 51 extras.
After an early wicket falling in the Vienna CC reply - Simpson was bowled by an inswinger from Amritpal Singh, Andrew Simpson-Parker (89*) and Erwin Grasinger (83*), aided by several dropped catches of varying difficulty, played strokes all around the ground adding an unbeaten 186 for the second wicket to steer the home side to victory by 9 wickets - a large reversal of fortunes from the last match between the two sides which had seen Austria CC Wien win at home at Fortress ACS, scuttling Vienna CC for a pitiful 81 all out before knocking the runs off very quickly and considerable ease.
In Latschach, CC Velden 91 met Graz CC amid strong rain - however, in the spirit of the game both sides reported that despite the conditions an enjoyable match was had. CC Velden 91 elected to bat and after the early dismissal of Eric Holmes, Gagan Deep (56) and Harkamal Paul (21) added 71 for the second wicket. With the Velden innings having waivered with their dismissals as well as that of skipper Harpal Gill, Mark Thomas and Daniel McDonald, both Australians settled in Carinthia added 112 for the 5th wicket, with McDonald falling run out on 49 and Thomas finishing on an unbeaten 60. Bashir Ahmad recorded the best figures for Graz of 2-38, with captain Jan Smith taking 1-33 off his 10 overs as CC Velden 91 finished on 244 for 6 in their allotted 50 overs.
The Graz reply started very badly - only 14 runs were on the board with skipper Smith, Imran Malik and Zaheer Uddin back in the hutch. A partnership of 61 for the 4th wicket between Tim Johnson and Safeeullah Soomro, whose 71 was the highest score to date by a Graz player in the Open League saw Graz through to three figures, but after Soomro fell at 122-7, there was only brief resistance from the tail with Graz finally out for 143 in the 33rd over, McDonald have taken 3-26 and Harpal Gill 2-29 with Jaswant Singh taking 2-6, with Velden recording their first Open League win since rejoining the League.
Highest score: Ashwani Khanna 112*
Best bowling: Mark Surridge 4-38