East Kilbride 139 all out after 39.1 overs (0 points)
(Adjusted target ….118 from 35 overs due to rain delay)
Greenock 121 for 2 after 17.2 overs (25 points)
Greenock win by 8 wickets
GREENOCK secured a Premier Division victory at last with a fine eight-wicket win over bottom-of-the-table East Kilbride.
Saturday’s victory means the gap between Greenock and Drumpellier has closed to just six per cent as the second half of the league campaign gets under way Greenock and Drumpellier meet at Glenpark next weekend for what will be another huge match in determining the placings at the foot of the Premier Division. A win for Greenock will lift them above Drumpellier and out of the two relegation places.
At Torrance House on Saturday, Greenock won the toss and inserted hosts East Kilbride. The Lanarkshire side made a brisk start with opener Imran Mughal on attack from ball one. He scored two boundaries in the first over and two further fours before he edged a delivery from Saurabh Bandekar in the fifth over and was caught behind the stumps by Zac Barrenechea having scored 19 runs.
Gavin Meikle and Adil Hussain added 18 more runs before Meikle (16) became Bandekar’s second victim when he was caught by Neil Flack with the score on 44 in the ninth over. East Kilbride captain Qasim Sheikh joined Hussain and immediately took the initiative. He smashed a quick-fire 23 runs, which included five boundaries, before he was clean-bowled by first change bowler Sean Fischer-Keogh to make the score 76 for the loss of three wickets in just the 15th over and Fischer-Keogh soon picked up a second wicket when he had Hussain (14) caught behind by Barrenechea with the host’s score on 90.
Former Greenock and Scotland international player Mo Iqbal and Sahil Kakar kept the runs flowing for the Lanarkshire side with Iqbal, in particular, looking in fine form. However, Fischer-Keogh picked up his third wicket of the afternoon when Kakar (6) was caught behind by Barrenechea with the score on 113 and that wicket signalled the collapse of the East Kilbride innings.
New batsman Joshua Johnston paid the briefest of visits to the middle becoming Barrenechea’s fourth victim behind the stumps when he edged a ball from Neil Flack and the Greenock bowler quite quickly had Iqbal caught at first slip by Chris Hempsey having top scored with 27 to take EK to 119 for 7.
A further 20 runs were added before the innings ended on 139. Hafeez Muthair scored 13 of these runs but he was last out, caught and bowled by Sam Sanghera. Sanghera and Chirag Pandher picked up the other two tail-end wickets.
Sean Fischer-Keogh with 3 wickets for 29 runs from 7 overs was the best bowler for Greenock with Saurabh Bandekar, Neil Flack and Sam Sanghera each picking up two wickets.
After the tea interval, Greenock’s innings had moved along to 26 for the loss of one wicket when weather intervened. Heavy rain and thunder brought a temporary halt to play and, when the game was able to resume, the umpires informed both sides that the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) scoring system was being introduced because of the time lost. Greenock were given a revised target of 118 from 35 overs. Needing to score at just three runs per over, Greenock were soon well on track.
Zac Barrenechea scored seven boundaries in a brisk innings which took the Glenparkers to 48 in the eighth over before he became East Kilbride’s second wicket. But that was to be the home team’s last success as Greenock’s Indian professional Saurabh Bandekar and Neil Flack eased the visitors to a very comfortable win in just the 18th over.
The two Greenock batsmen put together an unbroken partnership of 73 runs as they dominated the EK bowling. Bandekar was not out 40 in his innings which included three boundaries and one huge six.
Flack was unbeaten on 37 in his innings which was characterised by some fine shots which flashed past the home fielders. He hit a total of six boundaries and finished off the match with a massive straight six high over the bowler’s head into the trees beyond the boundary line.
The win will give the local side heart after a number of good performances in the first half of the league programme which could, and possibly should, have provided maximum points but which were eventually allowed to slip away.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U