10:30AM, Friday 12 July 2019
North Maidenhead captain Imran Butt believes if his side can replicate performances and results from the first half of the season, he sees no reason why his side cannot be ‘right up there’.
North Maids took full advantage of fellow title chasers Cove and Boyne Hill playing out a draw on Saturday to leapfrog their rivals into first place with a 43-run win over Slough 2nds.
Fahim Qureshi continued his stellar season with a solid knock of 92 before North Maids reined in there hosts with some impressive bowling from the likes of Usman Illyas (3-53), Raheel Zaman (3-32) and Sahaan John (3-26).
Butt was pleased with the win and admitted that at the halfway stage of the season it is still difficult to tell how the rest of the campaign will pan out, but is confident that his side can continue their early season form.
“It’s difficult to say – if someone had said to me at the beginning of the season would you take seven wins a draw and a loss from nine games I would have taken it,” said Butt.
“We know where our strengths are and we are very happy with where we are.
“If we can repeat the first nine games in terms of results we will be right up there. There are a lot of tough teams in the league and this season is different.
“Historically people have said 12 wins from the 18 gets you up there but I think it will have to be more this season – teams will have to win as many games as they can”.
North Maids have been in impressive form throughout the season, with opener Qureshi reaching multiple centuries over the season while the side’s bowling attack have kept sides at bay and that was on show yet again on Saturday.
“It was a tough game – at this stage of the season every game is a tough one,” added Butt.
“Fahim batted well again to continue his good season and we just put runs on the board. “We wanted it to be a bit more comfortable than it was but we know that if we can put 200 plus runs on the board we can defend it with our bowling attack.”
North Maids did exactly that as they won the toss and built a solid total of 227 before stifling an impressive Slough batting line-up with their bowling.
“They had a fast start but we reined them in and took wickets at the right time,” said Butt.
“They had a very good side, probably their strongest side of the season but we put our strongest side out too.
“To be honest, I’ve always known that when you go to Slough you win the toss, you bat first and put runs on the board because the wicket turns when it deteriorates.
“So the key was getting runs on the board and a defendable score.”
North Maids will be hoping to solidify that top spot when they travel to Wargrave tomorrow. The match is scheduled for 1pm.
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