OAs go top after winning Division Two’s only fixture

Old Albanian took advantage of cancellations across SHL Division Two to go top after beating Baldock by eight wickets.

On arrival, OAs found the ground very wet and the square sodden, albeit the match pitch had been covered, but after considerable debate, it was decided to start 75 minutes late, with a deduction of 20 overs.

OAs won the toss and asked Baldock to bat. The home side showed attacking intent from the start, and after nine overs had rattled up 44 runs for the loss of both openers.

Chris Dobson was replaced by Sagir Ahmed for OAs and Gurdeep Jandhu (14) played across his third delivery to fall LBW. Thereafter, the Ahmed twins – Sagir (3-18) and Naseer (6-18) – exerted a stranglehold.

Home skipper Dan Plumb (4) was dropped before scoring, but this was not to prove costly as he flicked a delivery to skipper Zahid Karim to leave Baldock at 54-4.

The sun gave way to a steady drizzle and with it Baldock’s innings came to spectacular innings as they surrender the last six wickets for 15 runs, which included five penalty runs for the ball striking a helmet on the ground behind wicketkeeper Zahid Khan.

The run chase began with OAs having 56 overs to score 70 having dismissed their hosts in 23.4 overs. However, the rain snatched another 17 overs, leaving OAs 234 balls to reach their target.

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Ghulam Rasool (12) and Joe Regan (7) added 25 for the first two wickets in under eight overs, but both players were dropped in the process.

Zahid Khan then took charge, driving and pulling powerfully whenever the bowling erred in length, to notch five boundaries in an unbeaten run-a-ball 40. In the end, OAs won at a canter, in just 16.3 overs, by eight wickets.

The 30 points gained took OAs to the top of the table with 82 points. But with all four of the sides that previously topped the table with 70 points gaining 10 for their abandonments, they are ahead of the field by just two points.