CRICKET: JOSH Aspinall held his nerve to deliver Berkswell 2nd XI a thrilling super over win against Ward End Unity in the Warwickshire League’s Band B T20 Cup final, writes Paul Smith.
After the paceman followed two scoreless deliveries with the wicket of Wajid Ahmed, Samar Zaman was run out from the fourth ball of the additional tie-breaking over.
Under competition rules the loss of two wickets in a super over means the batting side are all out. This left Berkswell needing only a single to clinch a win which Jan de Klerk duly achieved by smashing a boundary.
Ward End Unity were left to ponder losing a cup final that they twice appeared to have in the bag.
Incredibly, after only 19 deliveries of the contest the eventual winners had lost their entire top five – including de Klerk for a first-ball duck – for only nine runs.
Shezad Hussain who finished with 2-6 and Nadeem Akram (3-18) did the damage for Ward End.
Division Three side Berkswell’s recovery was led by Dan Clark who made 25 before Aspinall (24) combined with Will Elvidge (30) to add 49 for the seventh wicket.
But with vastly experienced former Birmingham League seamer Ashfak Hussain (1-18) keeping things tight, Ward End, who have just clinched promotion from Division Four,were firm favourites to chase 111.
And having accelerated to 52 for one by taking 15 runs from the tenth over of their reply, the Stechford-based side still seemed well in control.
The turning point came through Berkswell’s mid-innings introduction of teenagers Ethan Wragg, whose four overs went for only 13 and Ellis Chester (1-17) then the dismissal of the dangerous Wajid (17).
This left Unity needing 30 from the final four overs which became seven from Aspinall’s final six deliveries.
But with opener Haseeb Rehman, who made an unbeaten 64-ball 50, stranded at the non-striker’s end following a first-ball single, Ward End secured only two of the three runs needed from the final delivery thus setting up the dramatic super over finale.
“After winning the toss and batting, being nine for five was not the ideal start for us,” Berkswell skipper Jon Coleman admitted.
“Once we managed to get to 111 we knew we were in with a chance since our bowling has been strong all season.
“The middle overs from Ethan and Ellis were crucial then Josh did a great job bowling both the 20th over and the super over.”
The cup win topped off a successful season for Coleman’s club whose senior side lifted the Birmingham Premier League crown for the fourth time in six years.