WESTERN WARRIORS WIN GRAND FINAL BY 4 RUNS IN A THRILLER
Date : 04-03-2014
3rd March, 2014
The Grand Final of the 4th Annual Infinity T20 Summer Tournament involved the tournament’s two most deserving teams – The Western Warriors & the GCC Rebels.
The Western Warriors had won the tournament in 2011 and 2012, whilst the GCC Rebels won in 2013. This was a clash between the two-time champions taking on the defending champions.
The GCC Rebels needed twenty five runs off the final six balls to win. Michael Jephcott was at the non-strikers end batting on 56 not out. Mubasher Hassan, the 22 year old fast bowler hailing from UK and having represented the Marylebone Cricket Club Young Cricketers was given the ball for the last over.
A single was scrambled off the first ball to bring Jephcott back on strike. A couple of twos were hit off the second and third ball of the over as Jephcott picked the gaps and ran hard.
Ball four - Hassan bowled a length ball and Jephcott smashed it high and straight over long off for six. Game on. Ball five, Jephott connected a length ball again and timed it perfectly straight back over the bowler’s head for six more. Suddenly, the match had come alive.
In an over that felt like an eternity, Jephcott asked to change his bat somewhere in between. It seemed to be paying off. Adnan Khawaja, the captain of the Western Warriors deliberated with his senior players even as others gave their own suggestions from the side-lines. The crowd was engrossed in the theatre and waited in anticipation of what might happen next.
It all came down to the last ball. Amidst pin-drop silence, Mubasher Hassan walked back to his run-up. Michael Jephcott stood perfectly still at the crease. The Rebels needed a four to bring the game to a super over or a six to win. Hassan ran in for one last time in the match. He had to get it right and not allow Jephcott any room to free his arms. In the context of the match and the enormity of the moment, Hassan delivered. He bowled an angling delivery at Jephcott’s body where the batsman could only work it away for two runs.
The match was over. The Western Warriors had won by four runs. Their squad members and supporters rushed onto the field. Michael Jephcott had played a sensational innings to almost take the Rebels across the line. He finished up with 74 not out off 57 balls with five fours and three sixes.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Western Warriors won the toss and batted first. However, they were met with some determined bowling by the Rebels. After 9.5 overs, the Warriors were 4/63 as Matt Crawford and John Meekins bowled in the right channels. Harpeet Singh continued his fine form for the Warriors and looked good for another half-century but perished seven runs short. Lucky Khan came into the crease leading the run-charts in the tournament and straight away put pressure on the Rebel bowlers with two mighty strikes over the boundary. However, on this occasion his stay at the crease was short. He was dismissed by a ball that didn’t bounce much and The Warriors ultimately finished up with a competitive score of 8/144.
The GCC Rebels began the chase positively and after the 10 over mark were actually nine runs ahead of the Warriors at the same stage. By the 15th over, there was still very little to separate the two sides – this time with the Warriors leading by two runs. It came down to the last five overs and then the last six balls that would ultimately decide the match.
However, a pivotal moment of the game was the 18th over bowled by veteran Warriors bowler Lucky Khan. He had mainly focused on batting in this tournament preferring to only bowl occasionally due to back spasms. However, such was the occasion - Lucky ran in hard and gave it his all. After the 5th ball of the over, he pulled up and clutched his groin. As he fell to the ground in pain, Adnan Khawaja signaled for his substitutes to be ready. His 15 year old son – Shehriyar Khan who was watching the match from the sidelines was asked to change into the Warriors gear. In a blink of an eye, Khan junior was ready but wasn’t required in the end. Lucky got up and off a few steps delivered the final ball of the over. Only four runs were conceded. His four overs only went for 14 runs. In the final analysis, it was a big moment and one that contributed to the Warriors winning.
The Western Warriors wom the Infinity T20 Cricket Summer Tournament for the 3rd time, and still – after four years – maintain their unbeaten record. The team received a cheque for $2650, whilst the runners-up received $1250.
The Man of the Match was Michael Jephcott, who ended the tournament with 300 runs at an average of 60 with two fifties and a century. The Player of the Series went to Lucky Khan for scoring 412 runs and picking up five wickets.
All in all, it was a fantastic match played in great spirits. Both teams can hold their heads high after the sort of performance they put on.
Infinity Cricket was launched in 2010 with a vision of ‘Connecting People Through Cricket.’
Infinity Cricket organizes the largest ‘open’ T20 cricket events in Melbourne: the Summer Infinity T20 Cricket Tournament & Winter T20 Challenge.