Sarmad Bhatti claimed three wickets while skipper Jono Newis and opener James Bristow made useful contributions with the bat as Walmley slipped to a 28-run Warwickshire Premier League defeat at Aston Manor.
In response to the home side’s 235 for nine, the visitors were bowled out for 207 with 21 balls of their 50-over allocation remaining to suffer a round five defeat which Newis described as being “in hindsight very tough to take since we got a lot closer than it felt at the time.”
After experienced all-rounder Hamza Nadeem made a steady 55, the home side’s progress beyond 200 owed much to Shakeel Janjua who lashed 63 from only 29 balls as Manor added 83 in the closing ten overs.
And after Bristow had made a useful 49 from the top of Walmley’s order, the same pair then shared five wickets to stunt the visitors’ attempts to rally round Newis who struck nine boundaries in a breezy 40.
“It was another very good game of cricket but looking back it was one we had every chance to win,” Newis acknowledged.
“We really weren’t far off at all and just needed a couple of things to go our way with the bat for us to chase their total down.
“We put in another fine effort with the ball in the first half of their innings but it was difficult once Janjua got going in the closing stages on a ground with very short straight boundaries.
“We still thought 235 was very gettable but then we lost three quick wickets in the middle which checked our momentum.”
Kiefer Woods (2-25) plus a wicket apiece for Newis and new-ball partner Jamie Hall meant Aston Manor were soon struggling at 58 for four.
However, Nadeem – whose 91-ball 55 contained four boundaries and a six – then built a useful 80-run alliance with fifth-wicket partner Faisal Shahid (35).
This set the stage for Janjua to launch a powerful late counter-attack in which he found the boundary four times and cleared in another six occasions while adding 80 with Nadeem for the home side’s sixth wicket.
Bhatti, who finished with 3-26, eventually snared both half-centurions as the visitors were left with a 235-run target which seemed well within their compass.
With Bristow’s 86-ball 49 forming the base, Walmley’s chase progressed steadily to 85 for one before his dismissal triggered a slip to 123 for five in the face of a fine spell from Janjua who claimed 3-34.
The pivotal moment then came with the dismissal of Pakistani pro Bhatti who had looked in ominously fluent form in progressing to a 38-ball 31.
This left the visitors’ lower-order requiring a further 88 runs and while Newis raced to a 37-ball 40 an away win still remained a distinct possibility.
However, Munir Tanzil (3-43) had other ideas, and with Nadeem returning to grab two late wickets the chase ended in the 47th over at 207.
Walmley host Olton – who have an identical two wins-three losses record to date – next week when the competition switches to its red ball format in games including a draw.
“The switch suits our bowlers pretty well,” Newis added, “as we have seamers who swing the red ball around.
“We won’t change much with the bat as we all naturally play pretty positively and we’re very much looking forward to it.”
Picture (Sarmad Bhatti) credit – Paul Devine
by Paul Smith (Stumped4Words)