Stevenage's super Sikandar
Stevenage all-rounder Tanweer Sikandar took a magnificent seven wickets as his side beat Harpenden. The day began inauspiciously with captain David Carr picking up a painful leg injury during the pre-match fielding warm-up and stand-in skipper Nas Ahmed l
Stevenage all-rounder Tanweer Sikandar took a magnificent seven wickets as his side beat Harpenden.
The day began inauspiciously with captain David Carr picking up a painful leg injury during the pre-match fielding warm-up and stand-in skipper Nas Ahmed losing the toss while Carr received treatment.
Having been inserted on a green wicket, it was important the Stevenage top order knuckled down and saw off the new ball with the minimum of damage.
Sikandar and Gary Brown (27) achieved this to a fashion taking the total to 23 before Mason was rewarded for a good opening spell with a thin edge from a Sikandar forward defensive.
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Ashley Bayes and Brown shared the biggest stand of the innings to take the total to 57 before Brown became the first of six wickets for Qadir, caught rather unluckily down the leg-side.
More good work was undertaken by Bayes in liaison with Ahmed, but at 81 both men fell in the space of two overs.
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The innings never really picked up any momentum after that double setback, but equally the middle order did not capitulate in the bowler friendly conditions.
Syed Ali Kazmi proved to be the stabilising factor in the efforts of the middle and lower order.
Stevenage were 120-8 before a double figure contribution from Azhar Ali (11) took the total to 143-9.
The injured Carr joined Ali Kazmi with five overs to go, but Ali Kazmi's impatience, getting clean bowled by Mason for 29, meant that Stevenage had three overs unused and only 144 runs on the board.
Although a below par score, 144 still represented a challenge for Harpenden and Sikandar led the way with an exceptional 24-over spell of seam bowling from the Old Town end of the ground, unbroken except for the stoppage for tea.
He found early support from Amit Dattani who made the initial breakthrough.
Sikandar cleaned up Howard before repeating the dose to Fordham who had only managed a painstaking 10 runs in the best part of 15 overs.
However, his key wicket was his next, trapping Qadir leg before for 34 to leave Harpenden on 58 with their top four back in the pavilion.
From this point onwards it was clear that the Harpenden batting line-up were out of their depth against Sikandar who had by then found exceptional support from Ali Kazmi.
Only Bates showed any intent and but for his runs the innings would have ground to a halt much earlier than it actually ended up doing.
Sikandar wasted no time in dismissing the next two players before a modicum of support was provided to Bates by Pankhurst but with 94 on the board, he was stumped by Carr off Ali Kazmi.
The next and final three wickets fell without another run being scored. Sikandar cleaned up Bates and Mahoney to finish with the remarkable figures of 24-13-28-7 and the finishing touch was applied by Ahmed who pulled off a fine catch at slip off Ali Kazmi.
* The seconds won their relegation battle at Dunstable with 15-year-old Jason Chapman (27) and Martin Nevill adding 38 in five overs for an unbroken seventh wicket stand to win with an over to spare.
The thirds demolished Monken Hadley after a Mark Sinclair (70) onslaught.
But the fourth XI were frustrated by Monken Hadley seconds after Craig Whitworth (56) and Dylan Slater (41) impressed.
Fifth team youngsters Alex Thomas (35no), Andy Lorimer (three wickets) and Dev Parmar (two wickets) were much too strong at Datchworth thirds.
* Stevenage won by five wickets in Sunday's friendly against Langleybury.
With 203 the victory target, David Carr (62) and 15-year-old Jason Chapman (38) shared an 89-run opening partnership.
New boy Dave Bates hit 40 off 30 balls and Heiko van Zwieten (22no from 12 balls) hit the winning runs, lifting an on-drive over the mid-on fielder for a boundary four to end the game in style.