07:30PM, Thursday 24 June 2021
Saif Zaib scored 20 for Slough
On ‘a strange day’, and on a wicket that didn’t play quite the way Nadeem Syed expected, Slough ground out a three-wicket victory over Harefield to move into one of the two promotion spots in Home Counties Division 2.
The Slough skipper opted to field on a track he felt ‘might do a bit’ for his seam bowling attack, however, Harefield played the conditions well, if a little conservatively, to reach 219-9 from 58 overs.
At one stage it looked like they may push for 250 plus, but for a spell of cheap wickets which saw their last six batsmen fall for the addition of 33 runs.
In reply, Dan Lincoln spearheaded Slough’s chase, reaching 85 not out from 65 deliveries, throwing caution to the wind with seven sixes and three fours. He was supported by several decent contributions from the likes of Yaqoot Rafiq (26), Saif Zaib (20) and Josh Lincoln (22), while Syed (17) and Naveed Akhtar (18) scored well further down the order to help Dan smash the visitors to 222-7 in 36.5 overs, scoring at more than six runs an over.
“It was a strange day, we won the toss and bowled first,” said Syed. “The wicket had something in it for the seam bowlers, but the Harefield boys applied themselves very well, especially their top order batsmen, because I was hoping for quick wickets.
“They didn’t come but having said that we bowled reasonably well and took our catches.
“When we batted, Dan Lincoln was very good and scored at a fair clip and finished the game for us. Others also contributed a lot and our vice-captain Mohammad Avas got injured during the game, he split his finger, so we were one batsman short. We lost quite a few wickets, but we got the result we wanted and did what we needed to do. Considering the wicket, it was a credit to both sides to get those scores because I thought it was more of a 150-170 kind of pitch.”
Syed called Slough’s chase remarkable, considering the wicket, and felt their positive approach was the difference between winning the game and drawing or losing it.
“We took their last few wickets quite cheaply,” he said. “But it was a remarkable chase. It looked like Dan was batting on a flat track and he was absolutely brilliant. That was not a wicket for scoring singles and doubles. I think Harefield took a more conservative approach, but Dan played positively, and we scored at more than six an over. Our openers got us off to a flying start (58-2) and then everyone started chipping in with runs.”
Slough visit one of the season’s success stories, Wargrave, on Saturday, looking to maintain a run of form that’s seen them climb to second in the table, 14 points behind leaders Amersham having played two fewer games.
Syed said: “Wargrave’s doing very well. But as you can see Amersham have played two games more than us, and it’s still quite close.
“What I would say is that there are still five or six strong teams who can out do each other in the second half of the season.
“We need to be on our toes, and I think you will see changes in the table still. It’s wide open the table now.”
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