CRICKET: DEBUTANT Prerak Mankad starred for Kenilworth Wardens on Saturday as the 1st XI defeated Walsall in their latest Birmingham Premier League fixture.
Despite arriving from India just hours before the game, Mankad took to the field and hit an excellent 53 from just 68 balls to help guide Wardens to a 38 run victory.
Poor weather caused havoc from ground staff as the game was put back until 3pm with each side batting for 34 overs.
Wardens batted first when skipper Zaman won a second consecutive toss.
After the early dismissals of Johnson (5) and Zaman (1) it was left to Seagar to steady the early innings wobble taking the score from 28-2 to 95-3 with a highly effective knock of 62 from 81 balls.
Seagar was finally removed by veteran Wicker (38/1) not before he’d launched three characteristic sixes.
It was then Mankad who took the game to Walsall with a period of remarkable batting.
Playing for the first time outside of India, Mankad employed a vast array of shots including reverse sweeps against seam bowlers to leave many spectators gobsmacked by the level of skill on display. Mankad was eventually adjudged LBW going for yet another reverse sweep.
Mankad was well supported by Stenning (26*) as Wardens finished on an above par 183 from their allotted 34 overs.
With Walsall requiring more than five runs an over on a challenging wicket, a special innings was required.
With skipper Middleton set on 56* from 71, the odds on a Walsall victory were shortening.
It was the introduced of spinner Hancock that turned the innings, removing Middleton in his first over after an excellent caught and bowled.
With Mankad tying up the other end, Hancock turned the screw on the middle order with an excellent spell of five overs – taking four wickets for 18 runs.
After an untimely rain break duckworth lewis ensured an interesting finish with Walsall requiring 41 from 6 remaining overs.
It was Basit Zaman with his unorthodox top spinners who struck three times to bowl the visitors out for 133 in the 29th over.
Next week, Wardens visit Knowle and Dorridge as they look to make it three wins from three.
Wardens’ 2nd XI were left disappointed with the eventual abandonment at Himley after reducing the league’s bottom side to 50/3 from 20 overs.
After a heavy shower, it was one bowler’s run up that caused much debate.
The game was eventually abandoned at 4.05pm, 25 minutes before the final cut-off time.
Kenilworth’s 3rd XI’s disappointing start to their Cotswold Hills Division One campaign continued on Saturday with a three wicket defeat away to Chipping Campden CC.
Put in to bat by their hosts, Wardens’ innings never got going as they struggled to 153 all out in 42.1 overs.
James Lindner (3-19), Dan Moores jnr (3-47), and Jack Groves (2-33) capitalised on a poor batting display after Sam Groves has set the tone, taking 1 for 16 of his miserly 10 overs.
Only James Jordan, with a resilient 46, and Paul Jacob (22) passed 20 for the Wardens on a difficult afternoon for batting.,
In response, early wickets for Amun Bal (2-39) and Lewis Baker (1-24) gave Wardens a glimmer of hope, but a patient 42 from opener Dan Moore jnr against a tight spell of bowling from Tom Clayton (1-19 off 10 overs), and a lower order 42 from David Moore eventually saw Chipping Campden home.
Kenilworth Wardens 4th XI saw their winning start to their Cotswold Hills League Division 5 season frustrated by the weather at Glasshouse Lane.
Their game with Leek Wootton 2nd XI was abandoned without a ball being bowled, with the outfield too wet to ensure the safety of the fielding sides.
Picture: Steve Johnson.