ZEESHAN Bashir, the effervescent new captain of PSL Team Sports Clydesdale’s top cricketers, had led a charmed life by winning his first three competitive matches in charge.
But, in the Scottish Cup match at Arbroath on Saturday, the first away game of the season, he had to rescue his side twice — first as bowler, then as batsman, in a tense and low-scoring affair.
With an array of probing bowlers at his disposal, it was only after he’d given the ball to five others that he finally brought himself on.
Almost immediately, the Arbroath innings collapsed, losing their last seven wickets for just 24 runs.
Bashir claimed three of them, conceding 25 runs in nine overs of tightly-controlled off spin.
Arbroath were all out for 134, with most of ten overs remaining. But the match was far from over, despite a carefully-scrafted opening partnership of 66 from Paddy Barbour and Zulfi Shahid at the start of the Clydesdale reply.
Five wickets then fell, while only 22 runs were added, before Bashir entered the arena at No 7, with his side still needing 47 for victory.
He made 24 of them, and it was fitting that he scored the winning runs — but by then nine wickets had fallen.
The Clydesdale victory was in effect a lucky escape that maintained the Glasgow club’s perfect record of three wins out of three in the new league cup format of the competition.
Elsewhere, the Weirs tie with Watsonians had to be conceded after emergency groundworks at Albert Park had not been completed.
At Shawholm, NVT Poloc fell short of Greenock’s first-innings total of 228 by 86 runs, despite an all-round performance by their South African pro Carl Huyser, who took four wickets and scored 44.
The return matches are not played until late June, halfway through the new league season which starts on Saturday