Ajmal bowls Victoria to crucial win

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Victoria travelled the short distance to Banford Green to take on Millpark in a crucial Section 2 clash, to be held over last Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Victoria won the toss and elected to bat but they didn’t get off to a promising start at 7-2. Adam McClelland and Jonathon Bunting began to build a partnership, with McClelland scoring fluently and Bunting looking solid in defence and had pushed the score up to 43 when McClelland departed for 22.

Bunting (9) departed shortly after and Glover picked up his third wicket in his final two overs when he had McClune caught at short cover as he finished with figures of 4-31 and had Victoria struggling on 48 with five wickets already down.

Andrew Gray and Babar Khan were tasked with rebuilding the innings and began to push Victoria’s score along as both batsmen looked comfortable, before Gray (11) departed after a partnership of 28.

Victoria captain, Matthew Parks, joined Babar Khan at the crease and he set about supporting Khan, who batted responsibly, choosing which balls to attack well. Khan began to find the boundary regularly and the pair took the score past 100 in the 33rd over.

Unfortunately, Parks (6) failed to support Khan for long enough and was the victim to another ball which held up in the pitch, ending a partnership of 42. The rest of the Victoria wickets fell in quick succession as Victoria only added three more runs, finishing on 121, as Khan (46) fell four short of his half century.

Victoria returned the following night and made a great start as Mohammad Ajmal picked up a wicket with his first ball in the second over, and Khan had Millpark’s centurion at the weekend caught at cover by Parks. Millpark managed to steady the ship as they scored at a healthy rate. The Millpark opener and captain was caught behind by John Haddock, off the bowling of Babar Khan, with the score on 38, but another healthy partnership kept Millpark in the driving seat.

Ajmal had an immediate impact when he was reintroduced as he had Glover stumped, thanks to some lightning reactions from Haddock behind the stumps (71-4). This was the catalyst for a Millpark collapse as Ajmal had another wicket two balls later, as well as one in each of his next two overs and Millppark were suddenly struggling on 83-7, still requiring another 29 runs.

Talbot had been batting beautifully for Millpark, looking relatively untroubled, and now held the key for Millpark. When Jonny Bunting hit his pads in the 20th over, the umpire’s finger was raised, Talbot departed for 49 and Victoria had become favourites to claim the unlikeliest of wins. A suicidal run out followed in the next over, leaving Victoria one wicket away. Cheetah rallied though, striking consecutive fours, before keeping the strike with a clever single. However, he struggled to score off the excellent Ajmal who picked up the tenth and his sixth wicket, bowling Cheetah around his legs to seal a remarkable win.