Fairytale season continues for Ottoman

Ottoman Cricket Club’s bowler Abdul-Galeem Rylands in mid-air during an appeal in his side’s match against Pinelands. Supporting his appeal are wicketkeeper Brent Piet and first slip Taariq Behardien, who is also the club’s head coach.

Ottoman Cricket Club played host to Kraaifontein in a Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) First Division A fixture, at the Hassan Howa Oval, at the Diamant Street sports complex, Surrey Estate, at the weekend.

The visitors batted first and scored 195. Ottomans won by six wickets, with Faghri Abrahams (3/19 runs in 10 overs) and Mondli Mahlombe (4/27 runs in 7.4 overs) spearheading the homeside’s bowling attack.

Taahir Samaai (68 not out) and Faheem Adams (35) impressed with the bat in hand.

Ottoman have been in fine form this season, riding on the crest of a seven-match winning streak and leading the WP First Division A one-day competition going into their match against Milnerton, who beat them by seven wickets, a fortnight ago.

Samaai, Faheem Adams and Tohir Abrahams are leading the Ottoman batting charts, the former scoring the club’s first century against United ending on 114, earlier this season. Abrahams averaged over 60 in their T20 campaign, playing a massive role in Ottoman’s march to next month’s final against Tygerberg, at Newlands.

Samaai, in particular, stayed cool under pressure during his side’s clash against Pinelands, earlier this month. Chasing 154, Pinelands could only score 81/9 in 45 overs, Ottoman winning by 73 runs.

After being on the back foot, losing two wickets in the first over of that game, Samaai scored a well-played 33, stabilising the innings. Furthermore, the lower order displayed a good fight with Pinelands needing 153 runs to win.

However, Ottoman spinners dominated the middle period with Faghri Abrahams claiming two wickets in his first over.

It then became the Abdul-Galeem Rylands show with a six-wicket haul in a spell that ended any hopes of victory for the hosts, Pinelands.

All-rounder Rylands, currently in his second season with Ottoman, is the club’s leading wicket taker, followed closely by Zubair Safodien. In the last three weeks he has taken two 5-wicket hauls, 5/11 against Primrose and 6/20 against Pinelands.

Ottoman destroyer-in-chief, Abdul-Galeem Rylands, applauded by his teammates following his six-wicket haul against Pinelands.

No wonder player/coach Taariq Behardien, himself handy with the bat, scoring 68 against Northerns Goodwood in January, has reason to be happy with his side’s all-round performance in this his first season as head coach.

Affiliated to Ottoman since 2003, Behardien, who started playing senior cricket in 2005, says he enjoys his role in helping to create an environment for players to grow and learn.

“We have a fairly young squad so it was always going to be a good challenge in developing our youth players coming from age group categories into senior cricket. Along with our existing senior players, the support and culture we have built thus far bodes well for our future aspirations for the club.

“The players and club are really excited to play the T20 final at the end of March. We will do our final preparations closer to the time. I expect it to be a fierce contest against Tygerberg as it always is. Our ability to do the basics well, stay calm under pressure and be competitive in the big moments will give us a good chance to win on the day.”