An astounding combination of power hitting and solid defence by Ishy Sohi gave the 1st XI a victory at Ashtead which had seemed very unlikely earlier in the day. Electing to bat after winning the toss it quickly became the home side’s session as they raced to 172 with just 2 wickets down at lunch, with Lalit Bose and overseas Maresh Rawat batting beautifully the not out batsmen. Bose finished with a flourish taking 3 sixes off the last over before lunch to go to his hundred, and the Sunbury bowling attack was in some disarray.
Kevin Smith skippering, for the injured John Maunders, clearly had a hard think over lunch and Sunbury came out with a plan (finally). Runs dried up with the field pushed back and the bowling tightened up, and the run rate of 5.2 before lunch was reduced to 3.2 after. Smith backed himself to come thundering down the hill and wickets came as batting frustration grew. At the other end Vishal Manro bowled a huge spell ending up with 2-90 from 23 overs. But it was the big-hearted Smith who took the bowling honours with 4-78 from his near 20 overs.
The Sunbury reply started slowly with the new opening partnership of Elliot Shaw and 19 years old new boy Martin Andersson. But in the 8th over the visitors were suddenly up against it with first Andersson LBW and then Burgess caught behind being dismissed in consecutive deliveries, leaving Sunbury on 26-2. Stoical Shaw and Nathaniel Gregory then had to rebuild the innings, and they did very well with some attacking play from Gregory to take the score to 93 in the last over before tea. But Gregory was unfortunately adjudged LBW and tea was taken at 93-3 with nearly 37 overs remaining in the game.
After tea 93-3 quickly became 105-5 as both Shaw and debutant Armaan Randhawa went, leaving the watchers with the feeling that the game was up and 34 overs was a long time for the fragile batting to hold on for a draw. Rhythm Bedi and Ishy Sohi had to start again and a morale boosting partnership of 69 followed in only 71 balls taking the score to 174 before Bedi (26) lobbed one up to extra cover. But had the momentum changed? Sohi had already started giving notice of his intentions by this time taking 6s off consecutive balls in Ashtead skipper Tom Deighton’s first over, and to the long boundaries.
In comes stand-in keeper Harveer Mahajan – no pressure! – and the 19 year old maturely played a supporting role to Sohi’s blossoming innings. Deighton persisted with spin from both ends, even though it was clearly to Sohi’s liking, and the bowling suddenly looked in disarray as the Sohi/Mahajan partnership yielded 71 in just 68 balls. Mahajan went for 16 with the score at 245 and only 38 were required from the remaining 10 overs, a formality, and a complete turnaround from potentially losing positions earlier in the day.
But it was Ishy Sohi’s day. He hit 11 sixes and 7 fours in his 127 not out. The first 50 in 39 balls and the second in 38 balls, in all facing just 88 balls in an innings of 92 minutes. It was fitting that he hit the winning runs with a straight lofted 4.
Next week bottom club Valley End are the visitors, let’s keep the momentum going!