(Twenty20) Challenge Cup Review Round Three

Written by: Nick Archer
Date: 14/06/2021

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After losing their first two wickets to successive balls with the total on 14, a third wicket stand of 123 between Rawait Khan and Gurinder Singh helped Smethwick to reach 172 for three in 20 overs against Pelsall. Khan, who batted throughout the innings for an unbeaten 58, struck four boundaries and two sixes from 38 balls but it was Singh, who manipulated the strike superbly, who played the dominant role, striking 92 from 60 balls including 12 boundaries and two sixes. Sadrian Ward took 2 for 24 for Pelsall and he began their reply with a flurry of boundaries before he was dismissed for 18. His opening partner Jujhar Johal matched the feat of Khan by carrying his bat for 64 but the remaining Pelsall batters were unable to match the efforts of Singh as Pelsall finished on 128 for five and fell to a 44 run defeat. Most successful bowler for Smethwick was Ibbadat Thaman with 2 for 19 from four overs but it was Singh who was the major difference between the two sides.   

A blistering knock from Umar Siddique Khan took Leamington Spa to their first ever semi-final of the competition where they will meet Barnt Green in a repeat of the Group semi-final of the National Club Championship. Harborne made a valiant attempt to chase down the home side’s target of 234 for four from 20 overs but were dismissed for 156 in 17.5 overs. Coming in early, after Chris Calcott was dismissed by the first ball of the innings from Tom Arnold, Leamington’s overseas player struck 19 fours and seven sixes from the 65 balls he received and added 199 for the second wicket with Harrison Smith (79) before he was leg before wicket to Oliver Davidson for 135. Smith, who faced 49 balls, hit five fours and four sixes before he was out to the last ball of the innings, leaving Oliver Currill unbeaten on 14. In reply, Swapnil Gugale soon went through the gears, hitting 65 from 34 balls, but the target became too steep for the visitors when he was dismissed at 103 for three, despite a brisk 32 from Tom Payne. There were three wickets apiece for James Gethins (3 for 7), Tom Bate (3 for 23) and regular wicket-keeper Calcott (3 for 39).   

The tie between Barnards Green and Barnt Green was a much closer contest with the home side clinging on for a one run victory as Barnards Green, with one wicket standing, failed to score the two runs required to win from the last ball of the game. Opener Dominic Harding hit 43 from 32 balls but, apart from Daniel Meredith (25 not out), he was the only home batter to make anything of a tight visiting attack led by Josh Blunt (4 for 16) and Jonathan Dovey (2 for 24). At 50 for one, Barnards Green were favourites to progress to the next round but the loss of Phil Harris for 30 proved to be a turning point. Zahid Kafiat (33) also played well but his dismissal at 108 for six was crucial and the loss of three more wickets for the addition of five runs swung the game towards the home side. Ben Sutton (13 not out) and Will Dovey continued the fight and took the score to 130 for nine with one ball remaining before Dovey was stumped trying to hit the winning runs off Henry Marshall (4 for 19).