Pacific succesfully chased a target of 208 in 45 overs to win their first Middlesex Federation match in 3 years. First the bowlers clawed back the initiative after Middlesex Peshwas had been 133 for 2. Then openers Miles Picknett (64) and Guy Wiehahn (49) put together a good "Little and Large" double act as they added 146 for the first wicket. Despite a late wobble - Pacific legend John Baglivi saw the side home in the last over of a thrilling match with an unbeaten 20.
Middlesex Peshwas 208 for 9 from 45 overs (Jaydeep Apte 50, Prasad Pitale 40, Jim Davies 3 for 26, Lucius Faisal 3 for 31)
Pacific 209 for 7 from 44.1 overs (Miles Picknett 64, Guy Wiehahn 49)
Middlesex Peshwas opted to bat first on a fine day. They were soon struggling as both John Baglivi and then Lucius Faisal broke through leaving the home team reeling at 11 for 2. It could have become 11 for 3 as Matt Holliday failed to hold onto a difficult leg side chance from Faisal to new batsman Jaydeeps first ball.
This was to prove costly as the Peshwas at first dug in and then began to up the tempo particularly scoring from the bowling coming down the slope from Faisal and then Olli Haill. Baglivi spilled a difficult return catch but still ended his 9 over spell with 1 for 22. Meanwhile left-armer Haill was struggling to find his bearings down the slope on occasions endangering the slip cordon as the ball angled away!
Veteran spinner Frank Baglivi was called upon to slow the rate but he too struggled and then suffered a nasty finger injury fielding the ball and had to leave the ground mid-over. Skipper Nigel Wilkinson offered the rest of the over to experienced medium pacer Jim Davies who quickly settled into a nagging line having earlier been nagging the skipper for a bowl!
Newcomer Tom Brown took over up the hill and struggled early on with his length. However he too settled into a good rhythm and the runs began to dry up. This forced a rash shot from Jaydeep who was trapped in front by Davies for 50 ending a stand of 122. From here the Peshwas innings never quite accelerated as they would have hoped as a surprisingly good ball from Davies removed the other main batsman Prasad Pitale clean bowled - and he then secured a second leg before decision. There was a run out thanks to a fine return from the deep from the deceptively languid Miles Picknett and Faisal returned to bag two wickets in an over.
There was some spirited late hitting including an impressive straight six off West Indian Faisal. Skipper Wilkinson held himself back to bowl the final over claiming a wicket but also suffering a few big blows leaving the score on 208 for 9 at the close.
With some balls keeping low and a bit of lateral movement on a track that offered something for bowlers and batters it was vital for Pacific to get a good start. At 6 foot 5 and 5 foot 6 respectively Miles Picknett and Guy Wiehahn did just that. Starting slowly against excellent opening spells from Raje and particularly Vivek (6 over for 6 runs) they gradually accelerated. Targeting the looser bowlers and playing spinner Ajay (9 overs for 21) with due respect they took Pacific into a strong position at the drinks interval 73 without loss from 20 overs.
Upping the tempo some more Picknett reached his half-century from 71 balls as the score moved onto 141 with only one difficult chance offered by Wiehahn. It was a surprise when the diminutive South African was bowled behind his legs one short of a well deserved fifty.
Welshman Jim Davies smashed his second ball to the extra cover boundary as he and Picknett set about the task of finishing the job started by the openers. However after 4 productive overs there was a second wicket for leg-spinner Vijay as Picknett picked out the leg side fielder when trying to dispatch a leg side full toss a disappointing end to a fine innings of 64.
Davies soon followed for a quickfire 20 adjudged leg before to the returning Raje. Two further wickets fell quickly as Pacific slumped from 159 for 1 to 179 for 5. Lucius Faisal was run out in a classic mix-up and then Joe Bennett was bowled when trying to attack. Olli Haill connected with a couple of lusty blows as he and Baglivi added 15 priceless runs before he misjudged a pull and was caught behind from a top edge for 7. Skipper Nigel Wilkinson did not even face a ball as he was run out by a direct hit leaving an equation of 14 needed from 2 overs with 3 wickets left.
It is a type of situation that Pacific have struggled to close out recently but this time bowler and Peshwas skipper Vijay was the man to feel the heat as Baglivi dispatched two excellent boundaries and the bowlers line strayed to concede 2 wides and a no-ball. Good news too for Matt Holliday as the keeper ended a run of three ducks with a vital single. With 13 coming off the over two leg byes at the start of the final over were enough to see Pacific home by 3 wickets with 5 balls to spare.
At last we have won one of these close finishes! said a relieved skipper Wilkinson afterwards. Thankfully I didnt need to do too much myself! he added. We did well to keep the runs under control when they could have got away and then Miles, Guy and JB did a great job with the bat. It was a very close game played in a very good spirit by both teams. he concluded.
MOM Miles Picknett and Guy Wiehahn a classy 141 run opening stand
Packing the Kit Nigel Wilkinson under bowled himself - and then a Diamond Duck for the skipper!
Stat Corner - 209 is Pacific's third highest ever successful runchase - and their second of over 200 in consequitive weekends.
XI: John Baglivi, Jim Davies, Lucius Faisal, Oli Haill, Guy Wiehahn, Nigel Wilkinson*, Miles Picknett, Matt Holliday+, Tom Brown, Joe Bennett & Frank Baglivi.