Bhatti blast fails to take spotlight off Spa T20 match-winner Alam

Leamington claimed the Carrick Travel Floodlit Cup after a a nervy last over against Kenilworth Wardens. Picture submitted
Leamington claimed the Carrick Travel Floodlit Cup after a a nervy last over against Kenilworth Wardens. Picture submitted

Leamington clinched the Carrick Travel Floodlit Cup with a two-run win over hosts Kenilworth Wardens, but only after surviving a huge last-over scare, writes Paul Smith.

When man-of-the-match Shabaz Alam topped a brilliant all-round display by bowling Wardens’ skipper Martin Donald for a classy 74, Leamington had a firm grip on the trophy.

However, they reckoned without the hosts’ last pair Matt Hancock and Rajan Bhatti.

When the latter swung the fourth and fifth ball of the 20th over for sixes, Wardens had reduced their last-over target of 25 to four from the final ball. But much to the Spa club’s relief, paceman Grant Thornton held his nerve when it mattered.

Leamington’s repeat of their 2012 triumph was built around Alam’s outstanding contribution with both bat and ball.

After losing Tom Lewis early on, Alam blasted nine fours and seven sixes in a 39-ball 88, which along with useful efforts from Jamie Marsh (25) and Lee Hopkins (27) saw David Bailey’s team to a useful-but-not-imposing total of 219 for eight.

Wardens slow left-armers Mark Pidgeon (2-34) and Sitanshu Kotak (4-28) fared best of the home attack, but Wardens hopes suffered an immediate setback when the Indian ace fell to the first ball of their reply.

Despite 34 from Nick Seager, Leamington seamers Thornton, Matt Davison (2-24) and Alam (3-18) then held Wardens’ middle-order in check until skipper Donald went for broke.

He launched nine of his 28 balls over the ropes before falling to Alam in the 15th over.

When Tom Brammer and Udit Talati followed their captain in quick succession, Leamington looked home and hosed before Bhatti’s late intervention created a dramatic finale.