ANOTHER inspired performance by Ali Zaryab made it two wins from two for Kenilworth Wardens in Birmingham & District Premier Division Two, inching themselves over the line to beat Himley by six wickets.
The Wardens were set a target of 254 by the visitors at Glasshouse Park, beating that total with just ten balls remaining as unbeaten centurion Zaryab (122 n.o) guided his side home with Andrew Leering (20 n.o) in tow.
Himley opened with a stand of 73 between captain Oliver Westbury (66) and Bilaal Hussain (24) to signal their threat, recovering from a lull that led to the second wicket falling at 108-2 to kick on once more.
Oliver Walker (39) and Westbury added 59 runs before the latter’s departure, on what proved a tough afternoon for Kenilworth’s bowlers – despite Harry Johnson’s four-wicket haul for 33 runs conceded towards the end of the innings.
Zaryab also proved effective with the ball in hand, taking one wicket and recording the best economy rate of 2.70 from his ten overs bowled.
The hosts looked to be buckling under the pressure when Nick Seager (0) was dismissed by Jamie Turner (2-48) from the ninth delivery at 6-1.
It was a blessing in disguise however, as Zaryab’s introduction at number three instigated a Wardens fightback, laying on 129 for the second wicket alongside opener Keith Bell (67).
Despite the loss of his teammate, the former Pakistan under-19 star battled on, combining well with Henry Cullen (23) and skipper Harry Johnson (11) for stands of 47 and 30 respectively.
Edging ever closer to a victory, Zaryab and Leering saw out their first home league win of the season with just under two overs remaining.
Wardens aim to continue their perfect start at winless Pelsall on Saturday, before kicking off their Twenty20 Challenge Cup campaign at home to Dorridge two days later.
LEAMINGTON slipped to their first league defeat of the season in Division One, going down by 96 runs to Knowle & Dorridge.
Despite electing to field and ultimately bowling out the visitors three balls before the conclusion of the innings, Spa were set a sizeable task in the form of a 294 target.
Talisman James Middleton (87) remained a constant threat to the Arlington Avenue hosts until his dismissal for the eighth wicket by Spa’s imperious captain Jonathan Wigley (5-51), combining time and again with his teammates lower down the batting order.
His partnership with Sam Reddish (31) was particularly notable considering the stand of 82 that the pair managed, providing Leamington with no end of problems despite another fine effort from Oliver Currill (3-49).
Having impressed in the first innings, Currill starred again in the second, firing 85 runs to represent Leamington’s best batting score.
Despite this, it is fair to say that the hosts never really got going, mainly in part to a number of short-lived batting partners to Spa’s main hitman at the crease.
Leamington will attempt to right their wrongs away to Moseley on Saturday.