Sunday saw the annual Aberdeenshire Cup final and with official temperatures hitting a cool 22 degrees celsius, the factor 30 was out in play, as were the two captains of Crescent and Bon Accord. Grade’s legend Tauqeer Malik won the toss and elected to bat and Fazal Awan and Shakeel Ahmed headed to the crease. Awan set off stylishly on his way as boundary after boundary flowed, until the dibbly dobbly guile of Arun Singh nicked off Ahmed with a stunner of a catch from Khanna, and as quickly as he walked in he walked out as Haroon Ahmed was  lbw off Singh, the score 22 for 2. The pressure was on Awan and the new man in Varinder Sood. However you either crumble under pressure or you rise up, and rise up the duo did, as sixes and fours flew with ease, Ahmed, Reddy, Thangaraj and Khanna all being departed to different destination points of the famous Mannofield outfield. Fazal Awan, as always imperious in these moments, raised his 100 with a lofted straight drive. The first breakthrough came when Awan departed to the crafty off-spin of Rajeev Sujaya for a magnificent 113, the score now 205-3 and the 300 looking well in play with Sood still in, the Bon’s seemed to be on the iron throne already, however, Sujaya struck again this time removing Sood for 86, the score now 225-4 but still on cruise control…or that was until SUJAYA struck again! The new man in Omerkhail out swiftly for a duck, the score now 225-5, and panic starting to set in allowed for a further two quick wickets to fall, the score now 242-7 and the 300 looked a distant memory. The contrast of the two captains had changed, Captain extraordinaire Thangaraj now grinning with excitement and gaining further hope of a chasable total, but all great field generals e.g Napoleon, Alexander the Great, etc make adjustments, and Tauqeer Malik like his predecessors was no different as he devised a change in the batting line up and craftily gave a Sajeed Raja a promotion and this came to bear fruit as he hit a blistering 44 and helped to take the Bons to a final score of 299 off their 40 overs, Sujaya being the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-37 off his 8 overs, Malik with the moment of the innings with a Tendulkaresque flick for 4.

When chasing such a total, one must motivate his troops, and Thangaraj like Graeme Smith when the South Africans required a world record total of 434 to win, went about doing so, as evident from the thumps and noise decibels from the away changing room causing goosebumps to be given to the onlooking crowd. Motivated and full of enthusiasm the openers went out to bat, the dynamic Rajeev Sujaya opened up with Abrar Pewekar for Crescent with Awan and Malik opening the bowling for Bon Accord. The first over proved to be a great start for Crescent as Sujaya flicked Malik off his legs for a wristy 4, Things looked dandy until Awan struck with a hint of luck removing Sujaya off his gloves and onto the stumps. The score was now 9-1 and new man Alex Periera hit a flurry of boundaries before departing for 16 off the bowling of Malik. In times of need leaders step up, and out went skipper Thangaraj hoping he could be the one to take Crescent all the way, however, things didn’t come out as planned as centurion Awan struck again removing Thangaraj for 5. Boundaries had flowed, but so also did the wickets, despite late hitting from the tail end of Reddy, Toor and Konda the total proved too large. The early departure of Sujaya and the top order had meant Crescent fell short with a respectable total of 252 for 9 off their 40 overs. Malik(4 wickets) and Awan(3 wickets) were the pick of the bowlers.
Another title to add to their ever-growing collection, Tauqeer Malik hoisted the trophy to the sizable crowd. Special mentions to Aberdeenshire CC for hosting and providing teas, groundsman Calum Howard for providing an above-par deck, the umpires Steve Murphy, Ian Marland and Terry Curran, who awarded the man of the match to Fazal Awan for his 113 as well as his 3 wickets, and another award should be handed to Vineet Khanna’s wife for providing the world’s best samosas!