Stevenage’s Ice Man shows fiery side
THE Ice Man sunk Knebworth Park in a titanic local derby. Paceman Gareth Berg took a magnificent seven wickets in a game which kept the crowd guessing as to which side would come out on top right to the end. Stevenage won the toss and considering how a ne
THE Ice Man sunk Knebworth Park in a titanic local derby.
Paceman Gareth Berg took a magnificent seven wickets in a game which kept the crowd guessing as to which side would come out on top right to the end.
Stevenage won the toss and considering how a neighbouring strip had dried, crumbled and got progressively more difficult to bat on during Stevenage's narrow recent Twenty20 victory, captain David Carr elected to bat first.
The innings got off to a fast start but with Carr dismissed and both Syed Ali Kazmi and Berg removed for nought, it was only Gary Brown who was untroubled against the bowling of Chris Brook (5-58) and Adam Sergeant.
Brown was trapped leg before for a fluent 29 and Ashley Bayes and Tanweer Sikandar followed to become Brook's third and fourth victims to leave the innings in the precarious position of 74-6.
Nas Ahmed was joined by Graeme Duff and the two set about establishing what proved to be the matchwinning partnership for Stevenage.
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After a 64-run stand, Duff was the first to fall for 35, and, shortly after making his fifty, Ahmed was bowled off an inside edge to present Brook with a well-deserved fifth wicket.
Anthony Pratt polished off the tail to leave Knebworth with the tempting target of 154 for victory.
Knebworth's chase was initially dominated by David Lowe but having got to 23 with a mixture of high quality shots and a few slightly more fortunate blows, he eventually perished to one big shot too many.
The bowler was Berg, who was brought on as first change and saw Lowe superbly caught at backward point by Ali Kazmi in his first over.
Berg upped his pace to compensate for the old ball and soon uprooted Tom Jenkins' off-stump.
Azhar Ali (3-55 in 26 overs), creating havoc with turn and bounce, bowled Pratt first ball before Berg roared in from the other end and picked up his third wicket beating Ben Lewis all ends up for pace and flattening his middle stump.
This three-over spell reduced Knebworth from the relative comfort of 34-0 to 35-4.
And when Tony Skeggs chipped Ali to Brown at mid-on, Knebworth were looking down the barrel at 45-5.
Skipper Ryan Skeggs was joined at the crease by Adrian Holmes and their stubborn partnership yielded 46 runs.
Skeggs (29) looked the more comfortable of the two before Ali caused him to present Martin Nevill with a bat pad catch at silly mid-off.
After a couple more overs of spin from both ends, Berg was recalled to the attack initially with the old ball.
Berg was then given the new ball and proceeded to bounce out Holmes (36), who fended off a steepling bouncer for a caught and bowled.
Knebworth now required only 34 runs with three wickets remaining.
Berg ruined the home crowd's day and launched a ferocious attack at the Knebworth tail, combining a barrage of bouncers with good length deliveries.
His final spell was so hostile that it encouraged the umpires to have a quiet word with both the bowler and captain Carr about intimidatory bowling.
Undeterred, but having graciously accepted the umpires' advice, Berg's next deliveries were a bouncer, followed by a slower ball yorker that clean bowled Fisher (21).
Two overs, and several bouncers, later and the game was over with Knebworth 131 all out, courtesy of another two wickets for Berg who finished with the exceptional figures of 7-23 from 16.1 overs.
Stevenage are fourth at the halfway point of the season, with struggling Park second from bottom.