Ton-up Tanweer repays club’s faith

An autumnal day in the middle of August was heated up by an epic battle at Ditchmore Lane as Stevenage took on Welwyn Garden City. The visitors won the toss and decided to bowl first hoping to utilise a green wicket. Their former Somerset and Middlesex bo

An autumnal day in the middle of August was heated up by an epic battle at Ditchmore Lane as Stevenage took on Welwyn Garden City.

The visitors won the toss and decided to bowl first hoping to utilise a green wicket.

Their former Somerset and Middlesex bowler Aaron Laraman got Welwyn GC off to a great start by trapping both the in-form Gary Brown and then Syed Ali Kazmi leg before.

Stevenage were 17-2 before a steadying partnership of 37 between Tanweer Sikandar and Nas Ahmed either side of a short rain break.

Ahmed and Gareth Berg then departed to leave Stevenage 67-4.

Ashley Bayes and Sikandar shared an important partnership of 43 to take the score past 100.

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Sikandar took the lead role and greeted the introduction of former Stevenage all-rounder Murtaza Hussain with a huge straight six to bring up his first fifty for the club.

Hussain claimed the scalp of Bayes and two more in quick time to leave Stevenage in some difficulty at 127-7 with 17 of the rain reduced 57 overs left at their disposal.

Captain David Carr stood up to be counted and the pair shared a stand of 81, Stevenage's record eighth wicket partnership.

Sikandar played an array of gorgeous and powerful drives, while Carr worked the ball into gaps in the field with a selection of unorthodox shots.

After he raced past a well-deserved century, the partnership was finally broken in the last over of the game when Sikandar (119) sacrificed his wicket going for a suicidal second run.

Carr eventually finished unbeaten on 30 and was more than satisfied with his team's total of 211-9.

With their main spinner Azhar Ali missing the match, Stevenage opted to take the new ball from the start.

Sikandar clean bowled Welwyn GC captain Martin James through the gate for one.

Berg - with probably his fastest ball of the year - accounted for other opener Ben Frazer who was beaten for pace by a toe-crushing inswinging yorker.

Ed Tucker got stuck into the Stevenage bowling along with Nick Lamb, both taking advantage of the attacking fields set by Carr.

Tucker played some fine shots in between top edging hook shots off Berg for a six and two fours.

He was eventually removed just before tea but it took another rapid bouncer from Berg and the best catch seen all season to do so. Tucker top-edged another hook and Zubi Afzal leapt to pluck the ball from the air with his right hand at fine leg.

Welwyn GC were 79-3 and a second substantial partnership seemed to have taken the game well beyond Stevenage's reach as Lamb and Laraman added 86 runs with relative ease to the point where only 60 runs were required from the remaining 13 overs.

Stevenage refused to admit defeat and with pressure being applied to them from all quarters, Welwyn GC had a collapse of extraordinary proportions.

Ali Kazmi made the first breakthrough with the score on 165, having Laraman smartly stumped by Carr.

Then within the space of three runs Berg picked up the wickets of Lamb, Hussain and Simon White to complete a five-wicket haul and Ali Kazmi one more.

Welwyn GC had subsided from 165-3 to 168-8 to be left hanging on desperately for a draw in the dark and the drizzle.

Stevenage took 14 bonus points against Welwyn GC's nine. This further narrowed the gap to second but leaves Stevenage depending on a slip up by league leaders Radlett if they are going to finish any higher than runners-up.

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