‘Team Manchester’ Become English Last Man Stands Cricket Champions
Having seen off all opposition, becoming Manchester then North West Last Man Stands champions, Team Manchester have gone on to become Last Man Stands English Champions in an exciting Finals Day at Wormsley Cricket Ground. Next stop is the World Championships to be held in Cape Town, South Africa.
This was Team Manchester’s first season in the Manchester Last Man Stands League which was set up 2 years ago.
Last Man Stands
Played in 5 countries and with some 20,000 players registered worldwide, this exciting T20 format sees teams of 8 players compete in short, 2 hour games aimed at getting all players involved; with sides only bowled out when all 8 are dismissed. When the seventh wicket falls the ‘last man stands’ alone!
Wormsley Finals Day Summary
England’s Premier Last Man Stands T20 Cricket Final saw 2 of the 3 top ranked teams in England go head to head. Barclays Capital, from London, who are ranked number 3 in England and number 11 in the world from over 1300 teams, were always going to be strong opposition for an extremely talented Team Manchester outfit. Team Manchester won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening pair of Gulum Abbas and Zeeshan Mirza put together a solid opening stand for the Manchester team but they struggled to get any momentum due to tight bowling and clever field settings from Barclays Capital. In the first 5 overs Team Manchester had been restricted to 30 runs. A run rate of 6 an over in LMS cricket is considered slow despite the fact overs only consist of 5 balls. Something had to give and a the first wicket fell in the 6th over.
All eyes now turned to the Team Manchester Skipper, Imran Mirza, who has a LMS batting average of 83 at a strike rate of 225. With batting stats like these it’s hardly surprising that Mirza is ranked number 6 in the world batting rankings and tipped to take over the number 1 spot during the LMS world championships in Cape Town next April.
Mirza did not let the team or the LMS world batting rankings down! He quickly stamped his authority on the game with a wide range of attacking strokes. A classy drive on the up saw Mirza reach his 50 in just 23 balls. Mirza’s retirement meant that the middle order and tail had full license to “Tee Off” knowing their star batsman was back in the hut should they succumb to a mini collapse. The tactic worked and Team Manchester cashed in during the last five overs and posted a total of 165 thanks to some lusty blows from Sajjad Ahmed and Anwar Haq.
For Barclays Capital the pick of the bowlers was Kanishk Singh who returned brilliant figures of 2 for 21 in his four overs. Singh’s effort with the ball saw him shoot up 115 places in the England bowling rankings and Kanishk will start next season as the 15th best LMS bowler in England.
In reply to a slightly above par score Barclays needed a solid start! But they did not get one as specialist batsman Rezwan Alauddin was bowled first ball. We hope Rezwan took some comfort in the fact he had a scenic walk back to the Wormsley pavilion to look forward to. Joe Lukens joined Peter Gawith at the crease and this spelt danger for Team Manchester. Lukens and Gawith are Barclays Capital’s most experienced batsmen and both average above 50 at a strike rate of 150. The partnership started slowly and at the 10 over halfway stage they only had 68. They needed to crack on in the second 10 and crack on they did. The next 3 overs brought about 35 runs and at 103 for 1 after the 13 overs the game was in the balance. Both players reached the 50 run retirement stage around the same time. The new batsman were not able to keep the same run rate going and the run rate required got above 11. The Barclays Capital’s middle and latter order collapsed and Lukens and Gawith returned. With 20 runs required from the last 3 balls of the innings it was not all over. Two fours and a six off the last ball would be enough (in LMS if a player hits the last ball of innings for 6 it’s worth 12). The fairytale finish did not happen and Barclays Capital finished up on 150, just 15 runs short. Asif Saleem was the pick of the bowlers for Team Manchester. His four overs just going for 18 runs proved to be the difference in the end.
It was a fabulous final played in a great spirit. Best of luck to Team Manchester at the World Championship in Cape Town. We hope you do Manchester and England proud!
For more information on Last Man Stands visit: www.lastmanstands.com.