Sole helps Knights to big T20 win over Warriors
Tom Sole starred with bat and ball as Eastern Knights launched their CS T20 Blitz campaign by over-powering Western Warriors at The Grange.
The Warriors went into Tuesday evening’s clash aiming to bounce back from their 25-run defeat to Caley Highlanders at the start of the month.
Instead, the margin of defeat was even greater, Andrew Brock’s Knights easing to victory by 59 runs.
Brock had little hesitation in batting first at sun-kissed Stockbridge and his decision was soon vindicated as, despite the early loss of Nick Farrar, the runs started to flow.
Farrar had scored a rapid half-century for Grange at the same venue three days earlier but he had made just six when he was removed by Abdul Sabri.
However, Scotland spinner Mark Watt, warming to his top order role for the Knights, and new recruit Tom Beaton blunted the visiting attack with a rapid 58-run stand.
Watt stroked three boundaries in his 22 before becoming Ihtisham Malik’s first victim while Beaton showed glimpses of the form that made him a success for Melbourne Renegades in Australia’s Big Bash.
Beaton took advantage of a spilled catch to strike three maximums in a 25-ball 36 that put the Knights on course for a substantial total.
However, the home side were rocked by the loss of both Beaton and Preston Mommsen followed, in quick succession, by Alex Baum and John Hearn as the Warriors rallied.
At 96-6, the Knights suddenly needed to get their innings back on track - and Sole rose to the challenge in spectacular style.
The Northants Academy youngster, yet to feature for the Scotland senior side, will have done is chances of a call-up no harm with a thrilling knock that turned the match firmly in his team’s favour.
Sole launched into the bowling with a fearless knock that included seven boundaries and five towering sixes.
He finished unbeaten on 79, having faced just 43 balls, and his 88-run partnership with Brock (23no) propelled the Knights to an imposing 184-6.
While Malik stuck to his task to claim 2-32, Con de Lange was the pick of the visiting bowlers with 3-20.
However, the Warriors skipper must have feared his side were up against it after Sole’s onslaught and his mood would not have improved when Mo Awais was forced to retire hurt early on after receiving a nasty blow on the helmet.
Indeed, apart from an early flurry from Neil Smith who hit a rapid 36, the run-chase failed to truly ignite.
Smith’s contribution turned out to be the highest for the Warriors and by the time Amir Shahzad offered some resistance with 26, the middle order had crumbled in the face of some tight bowling from the hosts.
Sole completed a memorable all-round display with 3-25 to earn the plaudits of coach John Blain who said: “It was a really impressive innings from Tom.
“We made an excellent start with the top four striking the ball so well but we had to re-build after losing those four quick wickets.
“The seventh-wicket partnership was crucial with Brock and Sole both batting beautifully.
“The Warriors were never up with the rate and Tom was man-of-the-match by a mile after adding those wickets to his runs.”
Blain’s men now gear up for a top-of-the-table clash with Caley on Sunday while the Warriors return to Pro50 action – also against Caley – the following day.
By Cricket Media