Khawaja’s century inspires Highgate victory
02 August, 2018
HIGHGATE’S bid to beat the drop received a timely boost on Saturday after Zaakir Khawaja scored a century to help lead them to a priceless six-wicket victory over neighbouring rivals Hampstead in the Premier Division of the Middlesex County Cricket League.
Hampstead looked like they had a stranglehold on the game after putting in a solid performance with the bat at Shepherd’s Cot. Opener Rob Keen scored 109 off 157 balls, which included no fewer than 18 fours, while Mubasher Hassan and Matthew Watson both hit half-centuries as the visitors posted a score of 310 before being dismissed in the 65th over.
But Highgate weren’t going to simply roll over and surrender, however. The league strugglers put in a spirited reply as they chased down their target with six wickets to spare to secure a much-needed 10-point victory.
Openers Hasnain Ali (47 runs) and Jake Sharland (35) put on a solid partnership to take the home side to 89 before the fall of their first wicket, which came when Ali was bowled by Chris Beaumont-Dark.
The breakthrough looked like it was going to trigger a collapse, with Beaumont-Dark going on to take 3-75 to leave Highgate struggling on 153-4.
But a defiant, and more importantly unbeaten, partnership between wicket-keeper Khawaja and captain Syed Muazam Ali turned the tie around. Khawaja scored 117 off just 112 balls, including 11 fours and six sixes, while Ali hit 46 off 56 balls to guide Highgate to their winning total of 314-4 in the 62nd over.
The win saw Highgate drag themselves off the bottom of the table, leapfrogging Brondesbury, who lost by 34 runs against title-chasing Ealing.
In a day for big-hitters, Evan Flowers and James Parslow scored 200 runs between them as North Middlesex won by 105 runs away at Finchley.
Flowers smashed 108 off 127 balls, including nine fours and a six, while Parslow hit 10 fours and a six on his way to 92 as the visitors piled on 307-6 before declaring after 60 overs.
Skipper Joel Hughes ensured it was a winning effort, taking six wickets at the expense of just 54 runs in an economic 14-over spell as Finchley were bowled out for 202 in the 48th over.
The result leaves North Midd third in the table, 11 points behind second-placed Ealing and 31 points behind leaders Richmond.