Berkswell’s Birmingham League Twenty20 Challenge Cup encounter with local rivals Knowle & Dorridge left an enthusiastic Meeting House Lane crowd reeling from the excitement, as the home side came out on top in a nail-biting fish to a low-scoring contest.
Berkswell – 101 (9 wickets, 20 overs) beat Knowle & Dorridge – 94 (9 wickets, 20 overs), by 7 runs
Berkswell batted first and soon found the going tough, losing two early wickets, openers Phil Neale (2) and Ed Rainsford (4). The following batsmen, Dominic Ostler (16) and Mohammed Akhlaq (20), worked hard to re-establish the innings, against some tight bowling on a slow track, all of which rendered the art of getting the ball away, difficult for the watchful batsmen. In an attempt to get the score moving, Berkswell found themselves 32 for 3, when skipper Ostler saw his off stump uprooted playing a spectacular looking off-drive off Mottram’s bowling, as it cut back through the gate, off the seam.
James Neale (30) joined Mohammed Akhlaq in the middle, to begin what was to become a vital innings, holding the side together just long enough to ensure Berkswell used all their allotted overs. With Akhlaq the fourth man to fall with the score on 60, a steady procession of wickets fell in quick succession, with Stepehne Parker (1), Chris Cheslin (0), Babar Khan (0), Khizar Zaman (run out for 1), before number 10 batsman Jonathan Coleman joined Neale to play a confident looking knock (14 not out), to steady the innings. Neale was the 9th man to fall, close enough for the tai lenders to close the innings with their wickets intact, giving the bowlers just enough runs, they hoped, to make the game a true contest.
Knowle & Dorridge made a solid start to their chase, as Salmon looked good with a mixture of fine shots, as David Smith (4) shored up and end before becoming the first to depart with the score on 28. Sam Reddish joined Salmon and the pair took the score to 60 for 1, before both fell with the score unchanged on 60 to leave the visitors suddenly 3 down. A steady stream of wickets ensued in the face of sustained pressure and effective bowling in the middle of the innings applied by Sultan Khan, Babar Khan and Khizar Zaman. A quick blast from returning opening bowler Rainsford, with two quick wickets, left Knowle & Dorridge reeling on 73 for 8, having lost 7 wickets for the addition of just 13 runs. A late rally from Nick Sale left an increasingly noisy crowd on tenterhooks right until the penultimate ball.
Berkswell will play Dorridge in the 3rd round next Wednesday away at Dorridge.
Berkswell v Knowle & Dorridge – T20 Challenge Cup 2nd round scorecard