Seldom, if ever, in the last quarter century has the OVCC representative team made a tour to the big smoke and come away with two such emphatic victories as occurred last weekend ? defeating North Toronto Cricket Association by 182 runs on Saturday and pummelling Hamilton & District Cricket League by 249 runs on Sunday.
As the OCA RBC 50 Over Elite Tournament opening ceremonies were somewhat lengthy, the Saturday match at the rural Villa Lobo ground in Halton Hills was reduced to 35 overs per side. Having won the toss and elected to bat, OVCC ran up a total of 248 all out at just above seven runs per over. The first six batsmen all made double figures as 200 was reached before the fall of the fifth wicket. Opener Ayoub Ahmadzai led the way with a masterful 82 off 68 balls including 8 fours and 2 sixes. Canadian junior player Zain Mahmood added 38 runs off 31 balls (3 fours, 2 sixes) whilst skipper Rajiv Bhatia had a knock of 26 off 28 (1 four, 2 sixes) and Salman Arshad contributed a whirlwind 48 off 34 balls (3 fours, 4 sixes) ? including 19 off the last over before being run out off the last ball of the innings ? one of three run outs suffered in the late stages. Cameos were provided by Ahmad Shah with 14 off 22 (1 four) and Karandeep Singh with 16 off 17 (1 four). The most successful of the NTCA bowlers were Khurram Abbass and Furqan Ahmed with two wickets apiece for 30 and 31 runs respectively off six overs each.
Faced with such a daunting total, the NTCA innings never really got going as a wicket fell before ten had been reached, another before twenty, two in the twenties, four more in the thirties and the ninth at 44. Only a 22 run tenth wicket stand by Shiraz Hussain with 9 runs off 48 balls and Khurram Abbass with 10* off 12 balls (2 fours) brought about a modicum of respectability in surpassing the fifty run mark and reaching 66 all out in 20.5 overs. The chief destroyer for OVCC was Zain Mahmood with 6 wickets for 21 runs off his quota of 7 overs. Mustafa Popalzai contributed 2 for 7 off 3 as well as a brace of catches.
Although OVCC?s margin of victory was even greater in the Sunday match at the same ground, the manner of reaching a total of 313 for 9 off 50 overs was radically different. H&DCL?s ageless opening bowler Mujtaba Malik belied his 62 years in taking four wickets for 16 runs off the 10 overs he bowled unchanged. By the time he had finished his spell, OVCC were in trouble at 56 for 5 but Karandeep Singh ? who can change the course of a game off his own bat ? was striding to the crease to join Zain Mahmood. Together, the pair added 170 runs for the sixth wicket and set OVCC on the path toward a big total. Zain scored a patient 54 off 88 balls (6 fours) in almost two and one half hours at the wicket whilst Karan slammed 146 runs off 106 balls (10 fours, 10 sixes) in just under two hours in the middle. Cameos were turned in by Ayoub Ahmadzai with 17 off 24 balls (2 fours), Delawar Ahmadzai with 15* off 16 (1 six), Rochak Mehta with 13 off 11 (1 six) and Mustafa Popalzai with 14* off only 4 balls (2 sixes). In addition to Mujtaba?s heroics, Successful Hamilton bowlers were Nauman Chughtai with 2 for 61 off 9 overs and Usman Ali with 3 for 36 off 5. Partik Pannu and Ali Khan held a pair of catches each.
Again the Ottawans? opponents were unable to mount a challenge in chasing a large total as H&DCL?s innings subsided with depressing speed as the first wicket fell at nought and the ninth (and last) went down at 64 off only 16.3 overs. Three Hamilton batsmen reached double figures with Ali Akbar scoring 13 off 10 (2 fours), Ali Khan making 12 off 22 (1 four) and Partik Pannu getting 11 off 22 (1 four). Zain Mahmood took 3 wickets for 23 runs off 5 overs and Anshul Singh snared 2 for 9 off 2 whilst Rochak Mehta contributed 3 for 7 off 3.3 overs of left arm spin.
OVCC now face Toronto Cricket Alliance in one semi-final matchup on Sunday, July 10 and if successful, will play in the OCA RCB 50 Over Elite Final the following Saturday.