A BRILLIANT all-round display from Junead Zaman could not stop Kenilworth Wardens slipping to a 28-run defeat at the hands of struggling Walmley in the Birmingham Premier League.
Zaman collected six wickets and conceded 74 runs from 17 overs of bustling swing bowling before smashing an unbeaten 72 at number nine which nearly saw the home side to their 226 target.
However, Walmley’s Tom Burton matched Zaman’s efforts with a powerful 68 and 5 for 75, while tidy supporting spells from Shozair Ali (2 for 44) and Kasir Shah (1 for 28) swung the match the visitors’ way and ensured Wardens were dismissed for 198.
Blake Maher’s best spell since joining the Glasshouse Park club in April reduced the visitors to 24 for two before Burton and Freddie Coleman added 86 for the third wicket.
Burton launched a ferocious counter-attack on Brinder Phagura and Zaman, whose first four overs cost 35 runs, before falling just before drinks for a 73-ball 68 which contained 12 boundaries and a six.
Coleman’s dismissal shortly after the break meant Maher had returned an excellent 4 for 36 from 17 unchanged overs, and when Zaman chipped in with his first two scalps, Walmley were struggling at 129 for six.
Jamie Harrison’s 39 then led the rebuild, before the tail wagged to good effect with Jonathan Newis (19) and Tom Pyke (24) contributing and the 48 added by the final two pairs ensured Walmley closed with an above-par 226 on a slow wicket.
With assistance from a number of poor shots, Burton and Shozair then used the new ball every bit as well as Maher had before tea, to reduce Wardens to 56 for five.
Opener Harry Johnson’s 30 was the only resistance of note until captain Martin Donald and Phagura contributed 23 apiece, but at 92 for seven the home case looked hopeless.
However Zaman had other ideas, and his powerful strokeplay found the rope 13 times in a 59-ball unbeaten 72. He received stoic support from last man Matt Hancock, and their partnership of 47 had the visitors scratching their heads until the introduction of slow left-armer Pyke finally produced the match-clinching tenth wicket.
Martin Donald’s team remain in third place in the table ahead of next week’s trip to runaway leaders Berkswell.