FPs produced a fine all round performance to deservedly defeat league leaders Kinightriders by 30 runs in dramatic circumstances with only 12 balls left. Vijay Vijapur was the bowling hero claiming the last 2 wickets in his 4 for 59, while Roland Knudson blew away the middle order with 3 for 14. With the bat Pehlaj Tenneti made 64, after openers Alex Keith (35) and Geoff Morrison (37) had put on 72 for the 1st wicket. John Waldron also made 35 as FPs compiled 199 for 7 in their 45 overs. It represented something of an improvement on the 33 All Out that FPs recorded the last time the 2 sides met.
FPs made 3 changes to the top order with skipper Morrison and Rob Swiergon returning and John Waldron promoted from the 2nd team as Booth, Davey and Senthil were unavailable. FPs lined up Keith, Morrison, Tenneti, Waldron, McDonald, Swiergon, Hameed, Vijapur, Mapplebeck, Sam Knudson and Roland Knudson. For the 10th time out of ten, FPs lost the toss and were asked to bat. Keith and Morrison opened and made good progress early, defending the good balls and dispatching anything loose the boundary, Keith in particular playing some fine cut shots. Both players moved along to post a 50 stand with minimal alarm, Morrison surviving a catch that nearly carried to deep gully and Keith spilled a simple chance at gully. Morrison was particularly severe when the bowling was short, twice pulling forcibley for four in front of square.
FPs had reached 72 when the offspin of Sundararaj got the breakthrough, Morrison missing a sweep to fall LBW for 37 (7×4). His partner Keith 35, (4×4) was bowled soon after by the same bowler as FPs slipped to 91 for 2. This brought Tenneti and Waldron together and they combined in an entertaining stand of 70, combining good running and fine strokeplay, both playing some glorious shots to find the boundary, Tenneti launching one huge maximum. In fact it was something of a surprise when Waldron top edged a pull and departed caught at the wicket for 35 (5×4). Tenneti raised his 50 with that six and had reached 64 when he miscued and was well caught for 64 (6×4 1×6), FPs now 180 for 4. McDonald tried to hit some big blows but was caught for 2 as FPs slipped to 181 for 5.
Hameed was promoted in the search of quick runs and made 6 before being caught behind off Mallireddy. Vijapur was then selflessly run out for 1 off the last ball as FPs closed on 199 for 7, Swiergon not out 10 (1×4). Overall this represented a good total as Knightriders bowled very accurately and in the most part fielded well. FPs knew they needed some early wickets to put the pressure on and they took 3, early in the chase.
Vijapur took just 6 balls to remove Ramasamy, out LBW for 2. It was soon 9 for 2 as Kumarasamy aimed an ambitious drive at Hameed and Mapplebeck made good ground backpeddling to claim the catch. When Vaduganathan was superbly caught in the gully by Swiergon for 4, Knightriders were in deep trouble at 24 for 3. There was let off for the visitors soon after when Tenneti dropped a lofted chance at mid on.
Patheizkadavil and Rangiauzain then combined in a 58 run stand which was not withot controversy. Knudson twice had wickets denied as 1st Morrison superbly made a stumping with the batsman standing on 1 foot out of his crease. It was perhaps acceptable to miss this as at least it was just lifting a foot, but a while later a 2nd stumping was easily completed as the batsman charged down the pitch and Morrison completed the simplest of stumpings. As FPs celebrated the wicket, they were astonished to see that in fact it had not been given by the square leg umpire. Despite being at least 2 yards out of his crease and giving up getting back, the wicket did not stand, despite no obvious explanation at why the decision was not out.
Clearly incensed, FPs gathered themselves and Knudson produced an unplayable arm ball to comprehensively bowl Patheizkadavil for 34 and another superb ball had Rangiauzain LBW for 34 as Knightriders slipped to 91 for 5 at drinks. Sam Knudson joined the Knudson crusade having Mallireddy well caght in the gully by Swiergon for 13 and it was 105 for 7 as Majeed top edged Roland Knudson to Morrison behind the stumps who made good ground to claim the catch. When Sam Knudson claimed his 2nd wicket, Harry Mapplebeck claiming another good catch at mid off, the game seemed up at 109 for 8 with 13 overs still remaining.
However, FPs had not expected the fantastic innings from Palaniyandi at number 10, who plundered a superb 40 not out as he regularly found the boundary as Knightriders attempt to force an incredible victory. Morrison shuffled his pack, calling Swiergon up for an over of legspin to try to buy a wicket, before reverting to Hameed and Vijapur. Vijapur eventually got the breakthrough with 6 overs left, superbly knocking out the off stump of Sundarad for 13. With 1 wicket now left, Knightriders could only try to hang on and they were getting close as the overs counted down. Swiergon could not claim a tough chance at slip, however, Vijapur’s final ball and with only 12 balls left in the game, another superb way swinger was too good for Gunasekaran and FPs had won, Vijapur finishing with 4 for 59.
It had been a fantastic game which in the main was played in a good spirit apart from the stumping affair. Knightriders battled very hard, always chasing the runs and never just playing for a draw, but the good batting platform and some excellent bowling ensured an important win. For FPs the bowling figures were Vijapur 12-2-59-4, Hameed 9-0-29-1, Mapplebeck 6-0-23-0, Roland Knudson 9-0-14-3, Sam Knudson 6-0-25-2 and Swiergon 1-0-10-0. Vijapur produced the good when it was needed, but Roland Knudson’s 3 for 14 was critical in opening the door for FPs.
Next week, FPs face Inverurie, a side they always struggle to overcome and it would be a good idea for the captain to win the toss for a change.