08:30PM, Friday 23 July 2021
Syed Bukhari hit 32 for Slough
Slough skipper Nadeem Syed admits he took a calculated risk in opting to go against the grain by fielding first in Saturday's five-wicket win over Chesham, but his positive approach paid off handsomely.
Having been held to a draw by Wargrave a few weeks previously, when the home side 'went on the defensive' from ball one chasing Slough's 287-6 declared, Syed was wary of another side battening down the hatches to thwart their progress.
Unlike most other clubs, who sought to bat first and lay down a strong foundation in favourable conditions, he chose to field, and had Kamran Younas' all-round performance to thank in some measure for victory. Younas took 6-62 to help dismiss Chesham to 216, before also dazzling with the bat, scoring 70 from 66 deliveries to drive the visitors towards their target, something they managed in just 28 overs.
After the game Syed said he'd always back his side to positively go after a target, be it 216 or 400, however, whether they make it or not is 'a different story'.
“I think it was our best batting display of the season,” he said. “To chase nearly 220 in 28 overs, off the back of bowling 56 overs with the heat on our back, it was great and I couldn't be more pleased.
“We wanted to play a bit more positive cricket, because against Wargrave a few weeks ago we lost the toss and batted first. We put on one of our biggest scores, but they went into defensive mode from ball one and we couldn't get the result.
“Sometimes you have to take a slight risk to help you win the game. The track was flat, and it was a hot day, but had we batted first it might have been even more difficult to get them out.
“So, we went for a more positive approach. I would back us to go for a target and not settle for a draw. Whether we get there or not is a different thing, but one thing is for sure, Slough will always go for a target, even if it's 400.
“Kamran is a batting all-rounder but has also been brilliant with the ball all season. He's getting into form and plays the spinners so brilliantly.”
Slough's positive style of cricket has seen them move 14 points clear of closest rivals Amersham, despite seeing two of their games abandoned due to poor weather earlier in the summer. Syed's hoping the weather will be kind to his side in the coming weeks to ensure that their promotion and title hopes remain in their own hands. They host Horspath this Saturday looking for their fourth consecutive league win against a team who've lost four of their past five matches.
“We have been playing good cricket, but on the other hand we've been hard done by the weather,” said Syed. “We lost two games to the weather when other sides didn't. All I'm hoping is that the weather doesn't impact us, and if it doesn't our destiny is in our own hands. We just need to continue playing well and we should be able to do well.
“The weather can be unpredictable.
“Some rain is forecast for Saturday so we'll have to look at the wicket, but my preference would be for everything to be the same as last week.”
His side will also contest the Home Counties T20 finals this weekend, with a semi-final match against Division 1 side Banbury. Should they win they'd play either Datchet or High Wycombe in the final, however, despite being in a lower division Syed says there's no reason for his side to have an inferiority complex.
He added: “We’ve got the T20 finals on Sunday as well. Our game is with Banbury, and if we make it to the final, we’d either play Datchet or High Wycombe. It’s a big weekend ahead.
“Definitely, we fancy our chances. I would say with all due respect, I don’t think we’re any weaker than them.
“We’re Division 2 and they’re Division 1 I understand that, but the quality we have at our disposal and the way we played in the opening round, I’m optimistic we can compete against these teams.
“We just have to play to our potential and not be complacent. I think if we were to win (the T20 finals) other teams would be wary of us as well.”