Middle-order pair shine as United Services Portsmouth recover from dismal start to record Hampshire League victory over Sarisbury

Middle-order pair Vineet Vajpayee and Jahanzeb Habib starred as United Services Portsmouth recovered from a dismal start to claim a stunning Hampshire League victory at Sarisbury 2nds.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 10:58 am

Asked to chase 230 for victory in the Division 3 South fixture at Allotment Road, US crashed to 1-2.

Syed Elahi (0) was caught by Chris Bolton off the bowling of Jason Allmark and fellow opener Ian Cole (1) was run out by Allmark.

US dipped to 14-3 when Zaker Loskor was also run out by Allmark, but skipper Sameen Mahboob (41) and Connor Crofts (16) started the recovery.

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Vajpayee joined his captain in the middle on 57-4 and proceeded to hit seven fours in reaching 68 - his third league half-century of the summer - off 65 balls.

The pair put on 60 for the fifth wicket and, after Mahboob had departed, Habib came in to press the accelerator button on the run rate.

Habib is no stranger to quick scoring - earlier in the season he had blasted nine sixes in racing to a 17-ball 59 against Cadnam.

This time he struck three fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 49 off just 28 deliveries, putting on 62 for the sixth wicket with Vajpayee.

There was still work to do at 213-7 but Ijaz Tarakhail (13 not out) helped Habib steer US to a third win in nine completed league games.

The afternoon, though, had started well for Athletic with a century opening stand between Chris Mottala (62) and Paul Friedrich (41).

Wicket-keeper Kieran Whitt (33 off 37 balls) and Jordan Wright (29 off 21) provided late order impetus as Sarisbury closed on 299-5.

three-wicket victory off the final ball of the penultimate over.

Sarisbury’s sixth defeat in eight matches leaves them rooted to the foot of the table - though they are only 0.4 of a point adrift of fourth from bottom Locks Heath (three teams go down).

They have a key fixture next weekend - away to a Verwood side who are second bottom.