CRICKET: Sabin and Shirazi on song in Oxon victory

Oxfordshire seamer Karl Penhale (left) sends the bails flying as he bowls Bedfordshire’s George Thurstance

Oxfordshire seamer Karl Penhale (left) sends the bails flying as he bowls Bedfordshire’s George Thurstance

First published in Sport

Openers Damian Shirazi and Lloyd Sabin shared a century partnership to set Oxfordshire up for a two-wicket win over Bedfordshire in their warm-up match at Aston Rowant yesterday.

Chasing Bedfordshire’s 265-9 off 50 overs after winning the toss and putting the visitors into bat, the pair put on 116 for the first wicket.

Sabin was particularly fluent, hitting 58 off 63 balls with six fours and four sixes, before he was bowled by Martin Weightman.

Shirazi had made 54 off 94 balls with 11 fours when he was caught at mid off.

With Shabaz Alam, in his first game for Oxon, falling lbw to Alex King without scoring, Jonny Cater kept up the run chase before he was caught at long on.

It was left to Chris Watling to see Oxon home with an unbeaten 38 off 45 balls, with support from skipper Luke Ryan and Ashley Blanchard.

Victory was secured from a wide delivery off the first ball of the final over.

Earlier, Karl Penhale had taken the first three Bedfordshire wickets to fall in figures of 4-41, including former Oxfordshire player-coach Jamie Hewitt, as the visitors were reduced to 43-3 on a green pitch.

But Dan Blacktopp hit a superb century to ensure Bedfordshire posted a challenging target.

His 105 came off 129 balls, with ten fours.

Weightman provided a late flurry with an unbeaten 36 to boost Bedfordshire’s total, which was topped up by 12 penalty runs awarded against Oxon as they went over the permitted three and a half hours for bowling their 50 overs.

Liam Manley, playing for the county for the first time, picked up a wicket in his ten overs.

Scores: Bedfordshire 265-9 (50 ovs, D Blacktopp 105, M Weightman 36no, K Penhale 4-41), Oxfordshire 266-8 (49 ovs, L Sabin 58, D Shirazi 54, C Watling 38no, T Brett 3-42).

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