MARLOW Park shared a sensational draw with Old Merchant Taylors in Division 3B of the Thames Valley League on Saturday, which included a final ball run out and a collapse of staggering proportions.
Batting first in a rain-reduced match, Park set their sights on 200 runs and the maximum batting points from their 38 overs.
Openers Imran Nawaz (19) and Mushtaz Khan (14) fell fairly cheaply, but Shaz Aslam (30), Sohail Janed (46) and Nabeel Janed (46) gave the innings impetus and they finally reached their target with the final ball of the innings.
But the drama hadn’t even begun to unfold.
Park captain Mo Munsha said: “I know them reasonably well and for me they’re a one-man team.
“Even before the match I was saying that if we could get their captain, who I have a lot of respect for, we’d have a big, big chance.”
However, Sohan Madi dominated an opening stand that, to all intents and purposes, had won the game for OMT’s.
His 92 eased his team past 170 before Munsha finally snared him, but with nine wicket left, and the home side only needing 31 runs, surely it was too late?
Three more wickets fell relatively quickly, but OMT still reached 197-4 and the back-slapping and handshakes were just about to start.
Park though, weren’t finished.
Munsha said: “One of the things I’ve been trying to over to the players as we’ve come up through the leagues is never to give up. Our motto is we fight to the end.
“You can tell when a guy comes out to bat and plays his first shot if he is any good, and the guys that came in after the openers didn’t look capable.
“We still wanted wickets because every wicket is worth points and even one point here and there adds up at the end of the season.”
But not even he predicted the carnage that followed, as four OMT wickets fell with the score stuck on 197 and even after they got to 200 they couldn’t finish it off.
Munsha struck again to get them eight down and a run out with the final ball of the match – the fourth run out of the innings – completed one of the most incredible finishes of the season.
Munsha said: “As soon as we took the first wicket it was like a pack of cards.
“They outfield was lightning quick and they could have just nudged it, but they went for big shots all the time. They were reasonably suicidal.
“It was absolutely the craziest match I’ve been involved in and one of the best games of cricket.
“But their skipper was quite cheesed off afterwards. I don’t blame him. If I was him I’d have been very disappointed too.”
Meanwhile, Marlow Park also enjoyed a 37-run cup victory over Farnham Royal.
Babar Iqlaq (34), Mushtaq Khan (38), Sohail Janed (26 not out), Shaz Aslam (25) and Nabeel Janed (24 not out) helped them to 168-3, before Munsha’s 3-9 helped restrict Common to 131-7 in reply.