Sam’s the man as Kimberley produce stunning run chase

Sam Johnson was in great form for Kimberley.
Sam Johnson was in great form for Kimberley.

Kimberley Institute’s winning run now extends to four games in all competitions after they conducted the second highest run chase in the NPL’s history on Saturday.

Set 300 to win by Ordsall Bridon, they it down for the loss of just four wickets and with six overs to spare.

Sam Johnson led the way with his first NPL century of the season (143), Tom Rowe (59) helping add a match-winning 161 runs for the third wicket.

Alex King lost the toss and his side then endured something of a bumpy ride in the field as Bridon opener Sufian Munir set the tone with a 41-ball 60 as the home side raced to 72 without loss after seven overs.

King (3-61) brought himself into the attack and claimed two wickets in his first two overs as Long (8) holed out to Johnson at deep-square leg and then Munir found the same fielder on the cover boundary as he took a good low catch to make it 78-2.

Two more wickets in the next 12 overs seemed to have put Kimberley on top with George Bacon (2-63) and Ben Savage (1-59) removing Liam Andrews (11), caught by Rowe, and Marsh (17) caught behind by Harry Ratcliffe as Bridon found themselves 119-4 at the halfway point.

The wind changed direction in the second half of the innings as first Jamie Brice (59) and then Aqab Ahmed (49) biffed the Kimberley bowlers over the short leg-side boundary as they hit ten sixes between them before King and Bacon removed them, but the damage had already been done.

Skipper Paul Van Den Heuvel (68*) steered his side to 299-6 as their innings closed.

The Kimberley players must have had in their minds the fact that West Indian Cavs chased down 280 with ten overs to spare the week before against the same opposition.

At 34-2 in the ninth over after the loss of Jon Terry (6) and Shaun Levy (22) to Asad Ali (3-72) Kimberley’s task seemed a stiff one and Bridon must have been confident of getting the better of the game, but they hadn’t reckoned on Rowe and Johnson who set about compiling their second consecutive stand of over 150 and their third this season.

After the seam bowlers were removed from the attack in an attempt to get back on course with the over-rate the pair took the attack to Bridon spinners Gary Andrews and Long and never looked back.

Rowe played the controlled innings once again and let Johnson carry the attack – although he also found time to clear the fence and endanger the nearby windows with a huge sweep shot.

Given that Johnson had just one run off his first nine balls it makes the next 70 all the more impressive as he scored 99 runs from them in a blistering assault on Bridon’s beleaguered bowlers who had no answer to his aggression, nor could they find a way of pinning either player down and it was no surprise when the 50 partnership came up at near a run-a-ball in the 17th over.

Quick runs were a central feature of the stand with the pair scoring at over seven-an-over and with Johnson driving, late cutting and putting the ball over the fence he was first to a half-century off his 44th delivery.

Munir was given the ball only for Johnson to hit him for four fours in his sole over as he really began to ignite the burners and with the required and current run-rates converging Kimberley were now ahead in the game.

With Rowe bringing up his own half-century with his fifth boundary off his 56th delivery at the end of the 28th over it didn’t look like either batsmen had any intentions of stopping, but when Rowe miscued a full toss straight to mid-on Bridon had a much needed breakthrough, although it made little difference in the end.

Johnson, on 99 when Rowe was out, nudged a single next over to bring up his scintillating century and continued his attack on the Bridon bowlers as he took 43 runs off his next 21 balls as a daddy hundred loomed large.

Dominic Brown (33*) had been a spectator at the other end as they added 50 in six overs to really put the game beyond Bridon, the only downside was Johnson getting stumped via a Long (1-90) delivery with the score on 253 after 38 overs.

Dominic Wheatley (22*) joined Brown at the crease and with no pressure on them the pair picked off the singles and found time to hit four fours each with Brown finishing the game in the 44th over with a big six over long-on to seal another 20 points.

With previous leaders Caythorpe on the wrong side of a draw, Plumtree moved onto the top of the table with Kimberley 14 points behind in fourth place and all to play for in the last eight games, starting with a trip to Plumtree this weekend.

The 2nd XI fell to defeat by six wickets at Calverton.

Batting first they were restricted to 202 all out, Alex Aldred hitting 74. Fawaz Khan took three wickets but Calverton passed their target in the 49th over.

The third XI beat Calverton’s seconds by 96 runs.

Kimberley posted 296-4, Danny Williams’ unbeaten 113 and Sam Beale’s 87 the highlights. Calverton were then bowled out for 200, Zain Ramzan (3-45) leading the way for Kimberley.

The fourth XI were understrength and lost heavily at Stapleford.

The hosts posted 268 with Shiv Vasi, Luke Barlow and Andy Crouch taking three wickets each, but Kimberley were bowled out for just 68 with Ed Wright top scoring on 33.