CRICKET: Sutherland stars as Oxford edge thriller

Mark Beer took three wickets for Oxford

Mark Beer took three wickets for Oxford

First published in Sport

Makeshift opener Brad Sutherland made 92 as Oxford returned to winning ways with a seven -run last-over home victory against second-placed Burnham in a thrilling Division 1 contest.

Mark Beer struck with the second ball of the final over to dimiss the visitors for 184 in reply to Oxford’s total of 191-7, in a contest reduced by two overs because of rain.

This result came as a relief for depleted Oxford, who had suffered three successive defeats.

Choosing to bat first on a used pitch, Oxford started with a opening stand of 68 betweenVish Perera and Sutherland, who was promoted to open the batting.

Sutherland went on to make a league best 92 of 145 balls with seven fours and a six.

Against quality spin bowling, Oxford’s middle-order failed to push on, only Shami Mendis getting to grips with the turning pitch.

However, Burnham’s target of 192 in 55 overs was always going to be a tricky one.

Young Freddie Simon struck in his second over, athletically diving to catch Raja Rehman off his own bowling.

Beer then struck twice to remove Harveer Gandam and Rizwan Nadeem.

Pakistan Twenty20 international Awais Zia led the recovery with an elegant 79 from 100 balls, but with Mendis and Ian Evans bowling tightly,wickets fell at the other end.

With the match in the balance, Zia was dismissed by debutant Simon with the score at 159-8 Karan Kumar almost got the visitors over the line, scoring 37 before being last out in the final over, caught at long off by Ian Crosby.

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