FPs recorded their 2nd win of the season in a bad tempered encounter as the Allan Park welcomed cricket back to Cults. After FPs made just 122, Cults looked well set to record a comfortable win, but the combination of some excellent pace bowling, good fielding and a sporting pitch ensured it was FPs who won by 51 runs as they dismantled Cults for just 71. Karan Anand (3-5) grabbed the headlines with a stunning hat trick to seal the win, but he was well supported by Sajid Hammed (3-19) and by openers Rob Rutnam (2-28) and Harry Mapplebeck (1-13). There was little to note with the bat for FPs with only Geoff Morrison (39) and Rob Swiergon (16) making an impression but at least sharing a vital stand of 54.
FPs made 3 changes from the opening day with Roland Knudson, Sam Knudson and Chris Clelland dropping out and being replaced by Rob Rutnam, Sajid Hameed and John Thomson, Geoff Morrison took the gloves. FPs line up in full was Keith, Morrison, Swiergon, Anand, Nattrass, Senthil, Herd, Mapplebeck, Hameed, Rutnam and Thomson. FPs lost a vital toss on a very green looking Allan Park and there was little surprise that they were asked to bat.
The innings started disastrously, as Keith fell 1st ball edging Ali to Geet behind the stumps for a golden duck. Skipper Swiergon joined Morrison and they made good progress in a stand worth 54, defending the good balls and hammering the bad balls to the fence. Morrison took particular liking to one Ayaz over hitting 3 fours and a huge six as FPs raced along. However, when the impressive Nikhil (5-46) had Swiergon caught and bowled for 16, FPs innings was to decline rapidly. Anand hit a huge six and Morrison continued to hit boundaries but an unsavory moment seemed to be the catalyst for a massive collapse.
With Morrison on 39(7×4, 1×6) and the score on 75, the umpire correctly ruled Morrison not out for an appeal at the wicket leading to some distasteful verbals. Next ball Nikhil got one to keep low and Morrison was adjudged LBW, the batsmen rather disappointed with the decision. Moiz then bowled Anand and Nattrass was harshly ruled LBW for 0 as things went from bad to worse for FPs.
Herd was superbly run out by Ajazi for 1, Senthil was bowled for 2 and the Mapplebeck appeared to be out hit wicket, before the umpire reinstated him as due to him taking evasive action, he could not be out when his helmet hit the stumps. Hameed struck 10 and Rutnam a useful 12, but they were both caught as FPs subsided further. When Thomson fell for 1, Mapplebeck was left on 8 not out and FPs were up against it at 122 all out.
For Cults Nikhil bowled well to take 5 for 46 and was well supported by Moiz 3 for 31, but everything was rather over shadowed by the unsavory incidents.
Needing quick wickets, newcomer Rutnam duly obliged with his 3rd ball, Patil edging down the legside, where Morrison took a superb catch, Patil having to be persuaded to leave believing the ball was off his pad, when it had in fact glanced the face of the bat. Cults were soon deep in trouble as Mapplebeck bowled Moshin for 4. Rutnam claimed a 2nd as he clean bowled Kuljeet for 2 and FPs were in dreamland when Nattrass superbly ran out Geet Grover for 3 with a direct hit, following a comedy Anand misfield. Cults now 17 for 4.
Qasim hit a 6 but then hit a spiraling catch which Mapplebeck held well as Hameed picked up his 1st victim made all the more important after Ali had been dropped a powerful chance by Anand. Rutnam was still tearing in and a vicious bouncer was gloved by Ali who sportingly walked only for the umpire to advise he was not out and could continue. It was one of the strangest things that most had seen on a cricket field and had one particular well known Cults supporter outraged that the batsman had not stuck with his original plan to walk. Matters were made worse for FPs as Ali smashed the next 2 balls for 4 and 6, but Hameed had the answer, pinning him on the crease for LBW.
With Cults now 58 for 6, and the pitch getting more and more unpredictable, FPs knew they were in charge and Ali had no chance when Hameed’s ball went straight along the deck to bowl the batsmen for a duck. Skipper Ajazi was looking secure, but when Anand launched a confident appeal for LBW the umpire had no hesitation in raising the finger, once again incensing the Cults skipper who refused to leave the middle, perhaps believing he was outside the line. It took both neutral umpires to confirm to him that the decision was to stand and to persuade him to leave the middle for 4, Ajazi obviously disappointed with what had happened.
Anand then got one to go straight along the deck as FPs claimed a 9th wicket, Oaeet going for a duck. It meant Anand was on a hat trick and ever the show man, he aborted his hat trick ball run up to remind everyone it was a hat trick ball. Regardless of the warning, Nikhil had no hope as another ball went straight along the ground and clean bowled him as Cults were rolled for just 71.
It was an incredible comeback from FPs and a real team effort, but Rob Rutnam’s debut spell of 7-3-28-2 set the tone along with the ever reliable Mapplebeck 5-0-13-1. Hameed was in fine form taking 3 for 19 from 6 and match winner Anand bowled just 2.2 overs but his hat-trick led to figures of 3 for 5.
Overall it was a very important win for FPs, given they were under par with the bat. Despite the unpredictability of the bounce, 122 was poor, especially with the batting available. Morrison’s 39 was vital and then the bowling was superb. Overall it was a real team effort from everyone. Despite the hat trick, Anand is just edged for man of the match by Rob Rutnam
who set the tone with a fiery opening spell that helped wreck the top order.
Next up for FPs is Knightriders who are always a tough game, but FPs will be hopeful to keep the good start going at Rubislaw.