Abbas' stylish half-century leads Portsmouth to victory
A destructive innings from Asad Abbas helped Portsmouth deliver a Southern League division one opening-day victory.
The all-rounder struck 50 in his side’s 24-run win over newly-promoted Hartley Wintney at St Helens.
Abbas reached his half-century off 46 balls and swung the game in the home side’s favour.
Captain Jack Marston opted to bat first after winning the toss.
After losing Dan Wallis early on, Portsmouth slowly moved the score along without being able to impose themselves.
When they reached 148 for five Marston admitted he felt the game was in the balance.
‘I thought, at that stage, the game could go either way,’ said the skipper.
‘Asad came in and whacked the ball to all parts.
‘He batted really well, hitting their spinners hard down the ground.
‘His batting gave our innings important impetus.
‘Prad Bains also did well to stick with him and contributed a vital unbeaten 21 at the end.
‘By the end I felt we had a good competitive score.’
Portsmouth finished on 223 for nine and Bains grabbed a couple of early wickets in Hartley Wintney’s reply.
The key moment came, however, when the visitors were on 136 for five and Scott Baldwin going well.
Abbas was again involved, although he needed a little bit of good fortune off his own bowling.
He got his finger to the ball and diverted it onto the stumps to dismiss Baldwin, who was backing up at the other end.
In replay, Hartley Wintney were all out for 199.
Marston added: ‘It was getting a bit close. Although the opposition needed 28 off the last four overs we kept taking wickets.’
Meanwhile, Sarisbury Athletic started well with a 75-run win against Liphook & Ripsley at Allotment Road.
After being put into bat the home side were indebted to Tom Nightingale (50) as they were bowled out for 133 in 44.2 overs.
Andrew Ireland (three for 16) then ripped out the away side’s top-three batsmen.
After that, Liphook caved in and were skittled out for a meagre 58 runs in just over 20 overs.
Philip Jewell (three for eight) and Jordan Wright (two for 16) did the rest of the damage.
‘We didn’t make the best of starts but new-boy Tom Nightingale batted really well,’ said Sarisbury captain Ricky Rawlins.
‘Once we took a couple of quick wickets we never looked back.’