Batting collapse gifts crucial win to champs

FLASHING BLADE -- vital runs from ex-Notts CCC batsman Bilal Shafayat contributed to Rolls's defeat
FLASHING BLADE -- vital runs from ex-Notts CCC batsman Bilal Shafayat contributed to Rolls's defeat

A woeful batting collapse condemned title-chasing ROLLS-ROYCE LEISURE to another costly defeat against arch rivals West Indian Cavaliers in the Notts Premier League.

Rolls appeared to have done the hard work by rolling out defending champions Cavaliers for just 151.

And they seemed to be heading for a key victory when easing to 59 for two in reply.

But then it all went wrong as they lost seven wickets for 38 runs to slump to 97 for nine.

And despite heroic resistance by opener Shaun Levy, who carried his bat for an undefeated 66, they fell to a 15-run reverse.

It was the first setback of the season for Rolls, but could prove to be a significant one, given that Cavaliers pipped them to the title last summer by only six points.

All seemed hunky dory when skipper Dan Birch put the visitors into bat and saw his new-ball duo Atif Sheikh and Tom Lungley pose immediate problems.

Lungley removed opener Aaron Thomas for a duck to launch a tidy ten-over stint that yielded only 20 runs.

Atif (three for 50 in 11 overs) then dismissed the next three in the order, including ex-England and Notts CCC star Usman Afzaal, also for nought, and Cavaliers found themselves on 30 for four.

They recovered to an extent thanks to stubborn opener Akhil Patel, who dug deep for 84 balls to make 43 (one six and three fours), and another former Notts star, Bilal Shafayat.

The pair put on 52 for the fifth wicket before Patel was stumped by wicketkeeper Suhail Ahmed off spinner Matt Roberts. And skipper Shafayat went on to compile a dogged and determined 58 (one six and six fours) off 102 balls.

But the wickets were soon tumbling again at the other end, with Roberts (three for 39 in 13 overs) producing another effective spell and Adam Shepherd (two for 33 in nine overs) marking his return to the team in style.

Cavaliers slid from 109 for five to 121 for eight, although Shafayat added vital late runs before he was last man out.

Rolls’s reply began with the cheap departures of Gurpej Landa for nine and then Roberts for a duck. But Levy looked the ideal man to guide them out of trouble, sharing a promising stand with Michael Millwood (13).

A burst of three key wickets in quickfire succession from Ameer Ahmed transformed the match.

Ameer (three for 25 in ten overs) not only bowled Millwood, but also had Lungley and Rolls captain Dan Birch caught for nought and three respectively.

Suddenly Rolls were 67 for five and they were unable to recover as Shafayat (two for 24 in 6.5 overs) and Afzaal (two for 29 in 11) weighed in with a couple of wickets apiece to keep the pressure on.

Amid all the chaos, Levy remained, batting for 139 balls and firing six boundaries. And he threatened to pull the game out of the fire when last man Dane Straw (10) stayed with him for 46 balls in a tenth-wicket partnership worth 39.

However, disaster struck when Straw was run out and Levy was left stranded, with Rolls’s second top scorer being the extras column( 25).