A SUPERB all-round performance from Indy Nandra steered Bedworth to a tense 27-run Warwickshire Premier League win at Aston Manor, writes Paul Smith.
Nandra grafted his way to a best-of-the-day 49 as the visitors recovered from 29 for five to battle their way to 123 all out.
And the all-rounder took full advantage of using the red ball for the first time this season to then convincingly swing the contest in Bedworth’s favour by grabbing 4-18 from nine accurate overs as the hosts subsided to 96 all out.
As a result, Abdul Hafeez’s team climb into fourth place in the table following six rounds of action where they lie 19 points adrift of early leaders Sutton Coldfield.
“It was a very good result for us in a low-scoring thriller,” Bedworth’s captain said. “Getting 24 points was a real bonus and that propels us up to fourth.
“We batted first on a dry pitch as we thought it wouldn’t improve, but at 29 for five I wasn’t sure we had made the right decision.
“The red ball does a lot more than the white one and some of our batters struggled to make the adjustment. Juggy and Indy then batted well to give us some hope – in particular it was good to see Indy get some runs.
“Fizz Abdullah and Waqar Dad then started really well with the ball and gave them absolutely nothing.
“Indy came on after they both bowled 12 overs straight through and he used his variation cleverly while bowling very straight on a wicket which got lower.”
Having elected to bat first the visitors’ youthful top five found life extremely difficult against an experienced home attack which was ably led by former Birmingham League pair Arfan Khan and Hamza Nadeem.
Of the top five, only Finn Haynes (16) made it to double figures and as a result brothers Indy and Juggy Nandra faced a huge rebuilding task when they joined forces with the board showing 29 for five.
They proceeded to add 66 runs which ultimately proved decisive in the outcome of the contest by mixing stout defence with some powerful blows.
Juggy struck three boundaries in his 64-ball 27 before falling to Shozair Ali who eventually finished with 3-17. However, it was Indy’s gritty 84-ball 49 which contained six fours and a six which really caught the eye on an extremely difficult batting pitch.
Once their partnership was broken with the board showing 95, the visitors’ lower order found batting every bit as difficult as their top-order colleagues had previously experienced.
This meant Bedworth lost their final five wickets for 28 to a home attack in which Nadeem finished with 2-22, Ebad Ali took 2-13 and Shakeel Janjua claimed 2-24.
With only 123 to defend, getting off to a good start was essential for Hafeez’s team and their opening attack immediately applied plenty of pressure.
Although Waqar Dad claimed only one wicket his 12 overs conceded only 20 while Fizz Abdullah tore through Manor’s batting line-up. The powerful seamer removed all of the home side’s top four before eventually finishing with the outstanding figures of 4-29 from 12 immaculate overs.
Nadeem had proved Manor’s batting saviour in similar circumstances against Walmley seven days earlier and he again dug in against a tight spell of Hafeez off-spin to top score with a 54-ball 28.
However, there was no way back for the home side, and it was Indy Nandra that drove home Bedworth’s advantage by removing the obdurate Nadeem plus Shahid who dug in for 66 balls while making 16.
Janjua, who struck two sixes, briefly threatened, but Indy soon cleaned up the tail and with the last four wickets producing only nine runs Manor were bowled out for 96 in the 42nd over.