A BATTLING effort from Fizz Abdullah narrowly failed to secure Bedworth a Warwickshire Premier League losing draw at Attock, writes Paul Smith.
Abdullah made 40 from 57 balls and while he was adding 51 in a stubborn defensive rearguard with wicket-keeper Harry Edgar the visitors retained hopes of sharing the draw points.
But once Abdullah was trapped lbw by Hasan Mahmood the end was in sight for a visiting team who were eventually bowled out for 168 to suffer a 149-run reverse with 33 deliveries remaining.
Attock had earlier racked up an imposing 317 for five on the back of an astonishing display of hitting from former IPL star Anureet Singh who smashed 11 sixes in a whirlwind unbeaten 135.
After Mahmood made a useful 51, Anureet’s onslaught enabled the Moseley-based hosts to blast 98 from the closing ten overs and in the process put themselves in a dominant position.
The four points secured from this round 11 contest see Bedworth reach the seasonal midpoint in ninth position in the table where they lie 40 points above Moseley Ashfield who currently occupy the second relegation berth.
Equally, Abdul Hafeez’s team are only 14 points behind fourth-placed Walmley in what their skipper describes as an exceptionally competitive league.
“Every week is a challenge,” Hafeez said. “It’s really very tight and is all about which team turns up on the day and performs. We only need to put two or three wins together to be up there in the top six.
“Fizz and Harry showed some good resistance and with ten overs or so remaining I thought we might just hang on but in the end it wasn’t to be.
“Anureet changed the game incredibly quickly. At drinks, after Waqar and Fizz bowled well at the start, Attock were around 100 for three on a good pitch and fast outfield and we hoped to keep them to around 200 by picking up a couple more wickets.
“I looked at the scoreboard 13 overs later and they already had 200. He struck the ball very well, didn’t give a chance and hit anything that was marginally off line.”
After asking Attock to bat, a wicket apiece for Abdullah and Waqar Dad reduced the hosts to 57 for two.
However, useful contributions from skipper Mo Ishtiaq (37) and Mahmood, whose 54-ball 51 contained three sixes and five fours, enabled the hosts to build a solid base from which Anureet was then able to explode.
The 34-year-old former Rajasthan Royal added 73 with fourth-wicket partner Mahmood and a further 79 with Imaad Mahmood (28) before dominating a sixth-wicket alliance of 65 with Qasim Tanvir.
Anureet, who faced only 85 balls, found the boundary rope 11 times in addition to clearing it on a further 11 occasions, in his blistering unbeaten 135.
Dad emerged with the most credit in the six-man visiting attack after claiming 1-40 from 12 accurate overs.
After the early loss of Hafeez, Max Page (17) and Finn Haynes, who made a 69-ball 35, took the visitors’ response to 45.
However, a fine spell from Sarfraz Ali, who claimed 4-31 from seven penetrative overs, then tore through the Bedworth middle-order to such good effect that six wickets fell for the addition of only 53 runs.
At this point Abdullah was joined by Edgar and from the unpromising starting point of 98 for seven the pair produced a defiant partnership worth 51.
This forced Ishtiaq to rotate his attack – with seven bowlers eventually used – in an effort to secure the all-important breakthrough, and it was Hasan Mahmood who eventually pinned Abdullah lbw before he also went on to dismiss Dad and Ash Cutts.
Mahmood finished with 3-5 while Fahim Jan also claimed two wickets while Bedworth keeper Edgar finished with a defiant unbeaten 26 made from 60 balls.