Karan Anand played one of the greatest innings in FPs history making 99 not out as he channeled his inner Brathwaite to snatch victory from seemingly certain defeat as FPs bandwagon somehow rolled on. All looked lost at 83 for 6 and 127 for 8 chasing 193, but Karan Anand had others ideas with an extraordinary late onslaught as FPs won with 3 balls remaining. Having expertly farmed the bowling in adding 33 for the 9th wicket with Roland Knudson, he then combined with John Thomson to add 35 for the last wicket, Thomson facing 1 ball for 0 not out. It was a masterful innings and incredibly timed but with 25 needed off the last 2 overs, the game appeared to be slipping away. It mattered not as Anand , smashed a tile off the pavilion roof with an enormous 6, hammered a one bounce four over mid wicket and pushed a single off the last ball to get back on strike for the final over.
14 were needed from the last over but that was destroyed in just 3 balls, a huge maximum over mid wicket, a pull over square leg for 4, before the coup-de-grace, an monstrous six straight back over the bowlers head to seal an incredible win. Earlier he had claimed 4 for 23 in a true man of the match effort.
It is hard to concentrate on anything else having taken place in the match, but some 7 hours before the Anand fireworks, Swiergon again won the toss and chose to bowl. FPs made 3 changes with Steinson, Poosappadi and Gubbala stepping in, Gubbala making a 1st XI debut after some good 2nd XI form. FPs line-up in full was Morrison who took the gloves, Keith, Steinson, Swiergon, Gubbala, Anand, Mapplebeck, McKinney, Poosappadi, Knudson and Thomson.
Mapplebeck and McKinney opened the bowling and performed well with limited luck. The breakthrough came at 38 when Anand took a fine catch at slip off the bowling off Poosappadi, Palaniappan out for 23. Mohan also went for 23 as McKinney had him caught by Steinson at point. Anand did himself an injury at slip hurting his ribs nearly catching a stunner. 23 was the score to make as McKinney caught a brilliant one handed catch at short cover to remove Amirtaaraj as Knightriders slipped to 88 for 3, Anand’s 1st wicket.
Anand then landed 3 more major body blows as he bowled Puma for 6, had McKinney hold a high catch to remove Majeed 22 and then watched as Gubbala judged a steepling catch magnificently to remove Ramaswanay for 19. Palanayandi went for a duck hitting across the line against Thomson. When the returning Mapplebeck had Mallireddy caught by a diving Steinson, FPs were well in charge with Knightriders 150 for 8. However, missed chances proved costly as Knightriders were able to add 42 unbeaten in the last 5 overs to lift themselves to 192 for 8, Somu making 33 not out and Vijayaraj 13 not out.
With a quick outfield FPs were confident that 193 to win was very gettable but certainly regretted the 5 or 6 catches that went down of varying difficulty. They also had some bad fortune as a number of close LBWs were rejected and a stunning caught an bowled by McKinney was adjudged to have been a bump ball. For FPs bowling figures were Mapplebeck 8-0-37-1, McKinney 10-046-1, Poosappadi 5-0-23-1, Anand 10-0-23-4, Knudson 5-0-22-0 and Thomson 7-1-30-1.
Needing just over 4 an over, FPs made a bad start as Keith drove the 2nd ball straight to Mallireddy to fall for a duck.
Morrison and Steinson rebuilt adding 45, before Morrison fell to a high full toss to depart for 18. When Swiergon was bowled for 7 and Steinson edged behind for 29, things did not look good at 59 for 4. Gubbala looked good but was run out unfortunately for 3 and it was 83 for 6 when Seva took a good one handed catch to remove Mapplebeck for 5.
Anand was batting cautiously and desperately needed support and found some from McKinney who batted well to reach 13 but was bowled aiming something big at Punia as FPs slid towards defeat at 121 for 7. Poosappadi made just 3 as FPs slipped further to 137 for 8 and soon FPs needed 55 from 7 overs. Anand found help from veteran Knudson but was not willing to take any real risks and tried to push along at 5 an over to take the game to the death overs. Anand did amusing damage his own car with a strike straight out of Rubislaw but his ability to keep on strike was key to his success. His efforts to smash an Amritaraj over were a disaster as after turning down some singles in hope of boundaries he gleamed just one from the over.
The task was looking beyond even Anand but he breathed new live into the chase in the penultimate over with some great hitting, Thomson supporting after Knudson had finally been bowled for 5. Needing big runs in the last over, smashing the 1st ball for 6 and then pulling a four, made it almost certain FPs were going to win, but he did it in style with an enormous blow straight down the ground to finish unbeaten on 99. In all he hit 6 sixes and 7 fours in his truly remarkable knock.
It was a fantastic game of cricket and Knightriders must be praised for their humble congratulations offered to Karan Anand, clapping him from the field for his heroic innings. It was an innings that he looked in total control and the tail did well to hang on long enough so he had a partner to be there at the end. There may be better innings played at Rubislaw at some point, but you will have to go a long way to find such high drama. For FPs on Sunday, they face a CS Trophy match against St Michaels before a tough encounter with Stoneywood Dyce next Saturday. Karan Anand is off for a well deserved break in Malta and FPs call on Sam Knudson for Sunday who made 98 for the 2nd team. Arul Senthil replaces Elia Gubbala and Mike Nattrass comes in for Mapplebeck.
Blue Elephant Man of the Match
A quite brilliant performance – Karan Anand.
The winning 6, a glorious shot to seal an unforgettable win.Scorecard AGSFPs v Knight Riders