Old Albanian enjoy winning weekend

Alf Rehman hit 81 against Harpenden Sunday 2s.

Alf Rehman hit 81 against Harpenden Sunday 2s. - Credit: Archant

OLD ALBANIAN enjoyed the perfect weekend, winning their SHL Division Three game against Southgate Adelaide and their Chess Valley Sunday League fixtures.

On Saturday OA showcased a disciplined bowling attack to hold Southgate Adelaide to just 141 runs in 53 overs before knocking off the target with wickets to spare. Sunday was a different story, though, as OA smashed the ball all over the ground to set a total of 281, a score that was 47-runs too many for Harpenden Sunday 2s.

On Saturday, with clouds looming overhead, skipper Zahid Karim chose to bowl first despite seamer Khalil Rehman missing the start due to the birth of his child.

Jimmy Hayat, returning to the attack after his leg injury, stepped up to the mark and his unbroken spell of 2-27 off 14 overs prevented Southgate Adelaide from gaining momentum.

As has been the case so often this season for OA, it was the entry of Ahsan Ali into the attack that prevented the run rate from accelerating as he returned match-winning figures of 3-39.

For the visitors, skipper James Peacock compiled a patient 50 but he was bowled by Ali immediately after drinks, and the middle order crumpled as Rehman finally entered the attack to take three wickets.

Only Martin Flack’s aggressive 27 took the play away from the bowlers and enabled Adelaide to reach the batting points mark of 140.

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Chasing a below-par 141, OA were put immediately under pressure when Southgate’s left-arm seamer Jubel Ahmed, retaining the old ball, reduced the hosts to 8-2 in the fourth over as Chris Dobson and Zahid Khan were caught from injudicious drives off consecutive balls.

This very nearly became 9-3 but Karim’s skied drive to extra cover was spilled, and with Ghulam Rasool mixing powerful drives with watchful defence, the crisis was steadily averted and the score reached 42 before Karim was bowled by seamer Joe Collard as the new ball was taken.

This was the cue for Alf Rehman to play a typically careful innings based on sound defence and form the glue around which the stroke-players could mount an assault. When Rasool (56) scored his first century for the first team and then departed, Usman Malik struck a quick 23 to put OA in charge.

With Rehman still playing solidly and ending on 26 not out, Tom Lincoln was able to apply the finishing touches with 21 off 19 balls including a huge six into the Woollams car park.

Sunday was a completing different game for OA as they relied on their batting line-up for the win.

Rehman (87) and Karim (76) pushed the score over 200 for the second wicket after Khan fell for 26. Tom Lincoln (30) and Chris Dobson (16) added big-hitting contributions to set a target of 276.

Despite good contributions from Graeme Sprowson (37), Michael Lacey (50), Amit Mathur (49), Jonathan Lacey (27) and Dean Hall (26), Harpenden fell 47 runs short.