Kotak breathes life into survival fight with all-round contribution

Sitanshu Kotak shone with the bat and ball as Kenilworth Wardens lifted themselves off the foot of the Premier Division table.
Sitanshu Kotak shone with the bat and ball as Kenilworth Wardens lifted themselves off the foot of the Premier Division table.

Sitanshu Kotak’s brilliant all-round contribution clinched a much-needed home win for relegation strugglers Kenilworth Wardens, who overcame Barnt Green by five wickets, writes Paul Smith.

The Indian ace claimed four for 75 as the visitors were dismissed in the 54th over for 274, after which he continued his brilliant form with the bat to post an unbeaten 80 as Wardens cruised home with 17 balls remaining.

With Wolverhampton, Dorridge and Brockhampton all losing, the maximum 24-point haul has lifted Martin Donald’s team from the Premier League’s basement position and breathed life into their survival hopes.

The loss of both openers in quick succession pegged back Barnt Green’s flying start and set the stage for a majestic contribution from Ed Pollock. He hit six boundaries and four maximums in a brilliant 135-ball 122, which featured shots all around the wicket.

Matt Lamb (31) helped Pollock add 66 for the third wicket before the arrival of skipper Andy Sutton triggered an onslaught. The fifth-wicket duo added 124, during which Sutton played an excellent second-fiddle with a 69-ball 37.

At 253 for four, the visitors looked certain to top 300.

However, Pollock’s dismissal triggered a collapse against Kotak and off-spinner Udit Talati, who claimed four for 66.

Wardens’ keeper Nick Sale was the chief beneficiary of some headstrong batting, claiming four stumpings as the final six wickets fell for 21 runs to leave the 55th over unused.

After the early loss of Ryan Parnell, second-wicket pair Nick Seager and Arjun Bath laid the foundations for the hosts’ run chase with an excellent 112-run alliance.

Teenager Bath contributed a steady 33, while Seager batted with characteristic power to blast his way to 77 from only 69 balls, with 12 boundaries and two maximums.

After both fell in quick succession, Nathan Edwards (33) added 61 with Kotak, before skipper Donald (30) joined the former India A star in a 65-run fifth-wicket partnership.

This left Andy Whitehall to hit the two big sixes which clinched a maximum-point return, while his senior partner’s typically clinical 101-ball knock included ten boundaries.

A fine all-round display from FISSC’s Pankaj Kane sentenced Wardens 3rds to a 42-run defeat in Cotswold Hills Division One.

Kane made an even-time 47 in his team’s 192 for eight before his two for 19 strangled the life from the visitors’ response, which closed at 150 for seven.

Fin Hatch (39) and Chris French (30) added 69 for FISSC’s second wicket before Kane dominated partnerships with French and Chris Moore (42).

Chris Baynes’ excellent second spell saw him finish with two for 29.

The visitors’ response never really recovered from the loss of Robin de Regt in the first over.

Craig McKee’s tight opening spell set a tone which Kane continued, while their three-pronged spin attack took the pace off the ball to good effect.

James Madley finished with an unbeaten 77-ball 54 and Keith Berry’s 24 provided late impetus, but despite their efforts, the visitors never threatened FISSC’s grip on the match.