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A BRILLIANT unbroken opening stand of 153 between Keith Bell and Sitanshu Kotak took Kenilworth Wardens to an emphatic Coventry & District T20 KO final victory over MKB Catering.
The Asian Select reigning champions were hot favourites to retain their crown, but finished well-beaten by a Wardens side that exploited its home advantage to good effect.
This year’s competition has been badly hit by weather and the final, which was hastily re-arranged after Coventry’s Binley Road ground was hit by last Sunday’s thunderstorm, continued this trend.
Fortunately, Wardens were able to fit the match on the end of the Carrick Travel Floodlit T20 Cup week at very short notice, and the Glasshouse Park club were rewarded by clinching a third trophy in four years.
The MKB side, which featured players from as far afield as the Yorkshire and Bradford Leagues, were indebted to Smethwick’s overseas player Kuldeep Diwan, for a hard-hitting 53 which rescued an otherwise patchy batting display.
Key top order men Sarfraz and Asif Raza both fell to brilliant outfield catches by Andy Whitehall and Dan Wood, and until Imran (35) and Siddiq (22no) offered lower-order support, MKB seemed destined to fall short of a competitive score.
Seamer Ali Wilkinson, who finished with three for 27, claimed the man of the match Award, but it was Indian ace Kotak, whose four overs cost only 18, and whose unbeaten 68 sparked the home run-chase that really caught the eye.
MKB’s pacy opening attack, Siddiq and Asif, tore in at Kotak and Bell, but as the lights took full effect the Wardens duo gradually wrested the initiative.
Kuldeep’s left-arm spin kept things tight for MKB, but the seamers all leaked runs at the other end, as the Wardens duo grew in confidence.
Kotak struck eight boundaries and a rare six in his 68, while Bell’s elegant unbeaten 60 included nine fours, the last of which clinched victory midway through the 19th over.
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