Ducks double up with defeat of Caledonian Conquerors in Victoria Park Community League Cup final
The Ducks have clinched a remarkable Double in the Victoria Park Cricket League this week after lifting the Community Cup with a win over Caledonian Conquerors
By JONATHAN CLEGG
The Ducks have clinched a remarkable Double in the Victoria Park Cricket League this week after lifting the Community Cup with a comfortable win over Caledonian Conquerors.
The Ilford outfit, who were crowned Division One champions last month, continued their stunning maiden season in the league by securing another trophy following a 57-run win in the cup final this week.
Tanvir Khan struck a half-century and fellow batsmen Sharif Nasem and Aleem Dar made useful contributions as the Ducks set a target of 156, before Conquerors were blown away by devastating spells from Sibet Hussain and Ahmed Farooq.
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The cup final triumph sees the Ducks finish the season with a record of 15 wins from 16 games and captain Zia Hussain praised his team for an outstanding debut campaign.
He said: "To win the league and the cup in our first season is a real achievement - it couldn't have gone much better.
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"We knew that Conquerors had some dangerous players in their line-up - Trevor Semper played in the Stanford Twenty20 tournament last year and Mohammed Fazal seems to score a fifty every week.
"But we made a decent score when put in and then our opening bowlers really put us in charge with two fantastic spells that left Conquerors looking really rattled. It was a great all-round effort."
Despite losing the toss, the Ducks made a positive start as some powerful hitting from Dar (43) and Sharif (35) kept the scoring rate above 10 runs an over.
Conquerors made a double breakthrough when Sharif was bowled by Fazal before Waqar Ali struck to dismiss former first-class cricketer and current ICC international umpire Dar, who stood in the first match of the current Ashes series.
But the Ducks maintained the run-rate courtesy of a fine knock from Khan, whose quickfire 52 helped his side post an impressive total of 156 off 16 overs.
Conquerors have shown themselves capable of some lusty hitting of their own in recent weeks, but made a disastrous start when star batsman Semper was dismissed for just nine in a menacing spell by Ducks seamer Sibet Hussain.
"We roughed him up with a couple of short balls early on and didn't let him settle," Zia Hussain said. "Both our opening pair bowled with real pace and aggression."
Ahmed Farooq added the other prize scalp of Fazal after bowling the Conquerors opener around his legs with a ball that turned prodigiously, while leg-spinner Dar dismissed Mohammed Nadeem to leave Caledonian in real trouble.
"Because we were taking wickets regularly, they were only scoring at four or five an over so as the match wore on, we concentrated on restricting them to singles. I think they only scored four boundaries in the whole innings."
The target duly proved beyond Conquerors, who failed to reach three figures for only the second time this season as they finished on 99.
The result saw the Ducks add the League Cup to their championship trophy and has also earned the Ilford club an invitation to this month's prestigious Last Man Stands Twenty20 tournament at Regents Park.
The Ducks will compete in the England Premier League and bid to reach the Champions League stage of the worldwide competition, which features more than 400 teams across the globe.
And skipper Hussain reckons that the team's double-winning season in the Victoria Park League could help the club make a major impact on the tournament.
"It's another eight-a-side competition and it's Twenty20 so it will be very similar to what we're used to in Victoria Park," he added.
"We know what to expect, what kind of tactics the teams will use and most importantly our squad has really gelled during the season. We'll be tough to beat.