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Superb All-Round Display from Sarmad Bhatti

A superb all-round display from Sarmad Bhatti fired Walmley to an emphatic 86-run round one Warwickshire Premier League win over defending champions Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Pakistani pro made a brilliant 111-ball unbeaten 100 laced with nine boundaries and four sixes as the home side closed their 50 over allocation on 250 for seven.

And he then went on to share six wickets with acting captain Jamie Hall as the visitors were bowled out in the 42nd over for 164.

In addition to providing 20 welcome league points, according to Hall this dominant display against opponents who last year narrowly pipped Walmley to the title on a heart-stopping final day provided a perfect start to the new campaign.

“It was doubly sweet to start with a win against Stratford after the way last season ended,” he said.

“We were without our skipper Jon Newis due to Covid and we also lost the toss on a wicket that did a bit early on so it was very satisfying to start with a win.

“Callum Herron did well with the bat early on and Sammy was superb in the second half of our innings. He was dropped on 60 and that proved really important as he really accelerated in the closing overs.

“Arman Dubb who was making his league debut played a really vital supporting knock and we were very happy with 250.

“We realised we needed to bowl fuller than they had with the new ball and once we got some early wickets we got on top and made sure we never let them back in the game.”

Bhatti arrived at the crease at 71 for two after Herron provided useful early impetus with a 44-ball 40 which contained two sixes and proceeded to dominate the second half of the home innings.

He added 64 with fifth wicket partner Dubb (15) before the late momentum provided by Hall’s breezy 19 saw the home side to a challenging total. Nathan Myers claimed 2-25 with the new ball for Stratford while Dexter Purser and Josh Colwell also both grabbed a brace of wickets.

The visitors soon then had a mountain to climb as Hall roared in to claim the vital wickets of skipper Purser and Nick Pepper in the opening over of the Avonsiders’ response.

Although Josh Hickman set about rebuilding the visitors’ innings with a workmanlike 39, wickets continued to fall at the other end. Henry Smith (31) struck some defiant blows in the closing stages, but when he fell to Bhatti the end was in sight and Stratford were duly bowled out for 164.

Bhatti finished with 3-20 from 9.3 accurate overs, while his captain dismissed the visitors’ top three at a personal cost of 35 and Ethan Guinivan claimed five dismissals behind the stumps.

Walmley make the short trip to Rectory Park to face local rivals Sutton Coldfield next week.

Words – Paul Smith (Stumped4Words)

Picture – Paul Devine

Video – Neil Guinivan

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