OVERSEAS recruit Sunny Bhimsaria made an instant impact with the ball to help Bishop’s Waltham to a thrilling one run Hampshire League division one win over Portsmouth & Southsea at Albany Road.
Leg break bowler Bhimsaria put the breaks on the visitors who could only score 21 runs off his 10 overs at a crucial stage of the contest.
Even then the visitors were left needing just five runs to win off the final 22 balls.
With Matt Benfield (56) established at the crease Portsmouth & Southsea looked set to go on and record their fourth straight win.
The home side, however, made a vital breakthrough when Benfield was caught by Bhimsaria at point off the bowling of Matt Bradley.
Rich Dadd and Bradley continued to make life difficult for the visitors with some accurate bowling.
‘For the last three overs I moved our fielders in and the opposition batsmen couldn’t get the ball past them,’ said home captain Dan Wheeler.
‘I never once thought it was a game we were going to win.
‘Even off the last ball when they needed two runs off the final ball I believed they would get an edge past our fielders to take it away from us.
‘When they hit it straight to our fielder at cover he had time to run to the stumps and take the bails off.
‘We were in a state of disbelief afterwards and couldn’t stop talking about it for the following two to three hours.
‘I have never played in a game of cricket like it where there were so many twists and turns.’
After electing to bat first Bishop’s Waltham’s top order was blasted away by the fearsome visiting bowling attack.
They were reduced to 31 for five with Matt Benfield (three for 12) and Jonathan Willey (three for 24) creating havoc.
Mark Boriani was caught behind without scoring and Bhimsaria (4) received a corker from Chris Turrell which took out his off stump.
The home side were indebted to Dom Quincey (49) who fought hard.
Late on, an aggressive knock from Sam Medhurst (21) and some intelligent batting by Bradley (27 not out) made the home score more respectable.
‘Dom hung around, grafted and showed the necessary patience to get us out of a hole,’ said Wheeler.
‘It isn’t his natural game but he adapted brilliantly.
‘I still didn’t think our total was going to be big enough.’
The visitors made a steady start in their reply, reaching 32 for one off the first seven overs.
The introduction of Bhimsaria in the 11th over had the desired effect.
‘Sunny bowled some awesome stuff,’ said Wheeler.
‘He was getting drift and spin and his flat balls in at the pads were impossible for the batsmen to get away.’