Popli hits a stunning century to deny Rolls

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Kimberley Institute pulled off a remarkable winning draw just down the road at NPL leaders Rolls Royce - kiwi Bharat Popli starring with a brilliant 133.

Rolls captain Dan Birch won the toss and inserted Kimberley on what looked a good surface.

Jon Terry (30) certainly liked the look of it as he carved Rolls’ pro Luke Fletcher (1-49) over the slips and then hit Adam Shepherd (2-37) four three boundaries in the next over, but opening partner Paldip Sidhu was out lbw to Fletcher with the score on 24 in the fifth over.

Out strode Popli and he made his intentions clear when he hit his third ball for the first of his 17 fours and never looked back as he and Terry moved the score on to 81 without alarm in the 23rd over only for the latter to be caught behind with Tom Lungley (1-65) the jubilant bowler.

Popli continued serenely on and found an able foil in Sam Johnson (54*) and together they looked to bat the home side out of the game with a stand of 146 for the third wicket.

Popli brought up his century in the 37th over and when he smashed Fletcher for three consecutive boundaries several overs later 150 seemed on the cards; it was not to be though as he was adjudged run-out in the 47th over after a mix up with his partner.

Lungley and Shepherd bowled cleverly at the death with the latter removing James Mann and Alex King in quick succession; there was just time though for Johnson to get to a deserved half-century before the innings closed with Kimberley 240-5.

Birch (64) helped to get Rolls off to a good start as they moved onto 49 before Atif Sheikh (4-56) removed Adeel Shafique (7) lbw.

There then proceeded a stand of 67 between Birch and Fletcher (84) as they smashed the bad ball to, and over, the boundary and kept the run-rate well in hand.

When Chris Glover put down Birch at long-off it seemed like the luck was with the home team; that was until Sheikh rattled Rolls with two wickets in the 25th over, Birch miscuing a pull to Glover at mid-off and them Liam Andrews edging behind.

Suddenly from 116-1 Rolls were 121-3 and with Sheikh finding the edge of Lungley’s bat and Popli taking the catch at slip four overs later it was 126-4 and the home side were behind the rate for the first time in the run chase.

King’s (3-70) arm-ball bowled Wasim Karim for 16 and when Mikey Millwood (11) helped Fletcher add 34 runs for the sixth wicket it seemed that the game was heading for a tight finish; that was until Rolls’ lower order buckled under the pressure as they slipped from 192-5 to 208-9 inside four overs, Glover (2-31) taking his 50th NPL wicket.

Rolls then shut up shop and batted out the last four overs for the losing draw, Kimberley taking 18 points.

The 2nd XI fell to a narrow two wicket defeat away at Hyson Green after having had them 117-8 chasing 183 to win.

Kimberley were reasonably happy with posting 182-5 from their 48 overs. Elliot Bowles (72) made the lion’s share of the runs as he returned to his former club with Harry Ratcliffe (39) and captain Steve Bennett (35*) contributing to stands of 53 and 86 with Bowles respectively.

In reply the Carribs got home in the 44th over despite Alex Beale’s (3-31), an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 66 doing the damage when it seemed victory was going to be Kimberley’s.

The 3rd XI also fell to defeat at home to Rolls Royce 2nd XI.

The visitors compiled 214 with Liaqat Ali (62) and Dane Straw (52*) top scoring. Danny Williams (4-43) had a good day with the ball and Joe Platts (3-27) provided more than useful support.

Kimberley’s reply stuttered as they lost early wickets and they found themselves 46-4 before a 106-run stand between Williams (88) and Shoaib Azad (24) brought them back into the game.

But they fell within 11 runs of each other and the tail was blown away quickly as Kimberley were all out for 188 in the 39th over.

The 4th XI returned to winning ways at Kinoulton with Luke Tantum (137) leading the way with his third century of the season.

Tantum had to watch from the other end as Kimberley slipped to 18-2, but two good partnerships followed and helped Kimberley to a good total of 259.

Tom Boyden (2-54) struck twice early on but useful knocks from Yaqub (50), Ul-Haq (45) and Rick Lumb (42) hauled the home side back into contention at 153-3 before Luke Barlow (6 for 23) ripped the middle order to shreds and the hosts finished on 176-8 from their 45 overs.