CRICKET: A THRILLING Glasshouse Park Birmingham Premier League clash between Kenilworth Wardens and Wolverhampton ended in a tense draw despite the best efforts of home skipper Junead Zaman and his brother Basit.
The visitors entered the 55th and final over of their reply to Wardens’ 258 needing eight runs with two wickets remaining, but were only unable to secure three singles as a result of Kamran Anwar’s clever pace variations and immaculate length.
Basit’s typically forceful 128 ball 101, including ten fours and three sixes, snatched the early initiative for Wardens after Harry Johnson (24) and Indian ace Prerak Mankad (17) failed to take advantage of good starts.
When Zaman added 79 for the home side’s fourth wicket with former skipper Scott Stenning (31), it seemed possible that Wolves would be batted out of the game.
However, the return of former Worcestershire paceman Aneesh Kapil to claim three quick wickets checked Wardens’ progress, and when Basit holed out on the fence, the hosts were struggling at 200 for seven on a good track.
However their skipper had other ideas, and in partnership with composed 16-year-old Dan Mousley, who looked every inch a Premier League star in waiting, he built a useful eighth wicket alliance.
Junead finished with an unbeaten 28-ball 39, including two big straight sixes, as Wardens finished with a slightly below-par 259/9.
Wolverhampton’s opening pair Amritpal Singh (36) and Khahelt (30) then raced to 66, with no small amount of help from two missed chances off Mankad’s tidy opening spell.
But the introduction of the Zaman brothers broke the partnership, then checked the scoring rate as a series of visiting batsmen failed to convert good starts into a match-winning innings.
By the time Basit’s leg-spin picked up the key wickets of Kapil (32) and Worcestershire star Tom Fell (26), Wolves had lost six wickets for 89 runs – and seemed to face an uphill battle to secure a draw at 155/6.
However the contest was swung sharply in Wolves’ favour by a breezy 78-run seventh wicket partnership between Will Neild and Ramanjot Jaswel.
Keeper Neild found the fence four times and cleared it twice in his 33-ball 48, and until he was caught in the deep off the returning Junead, Wolves seemed certain winners.
However, the company of the tail checked Jaswel’s progress, and he was eventually left as a frustrated figure by Anwar’s fine closing over, despite finishing with an excellent unbeaten 58-ball 52.