Zaman and Maher blitz Knowle in T20 Cup final
A superb partnership between Basit Zaman and Blake Maher provided the backbone to Kenilworth Wardens 49-run Harlequin Logistics Floodlit T20 Cup final win over Knowle & Dorridge.
The second-wicket pair added 174 as Wardens racked up 285 for eight before restricting their Birmingham Premier League rivals to 236 for seven in response.
It meant hosts Wardens, who have already won the Coventry Knock Out this season, lifted the trophy for a third time since the competition’s inception in 2012.
After despatching the opening delivery of the night from Warwickshire 2nd XI seamer Ben Brookes back over his head for six, Zaman, who was named man-of-the-match, smashed 93 from only 25 balls with 11 sixes.
Aussie import Maher who was named Archway Bathrooms player of the tournament, matched him stroke for stroke, clearing the ropes nine times in a 28-ball 85.
But after they were dismissed, K&D’s Sam Reddish (3-35) and Dan Wright (3-44) found some success with the ball, and despite skipper Scott Stenning’s breezy 37, Wardens fell 30 runs short of what seemed likely at the innings’ midpoint.
While Beau Webster (29) and skipper Alex Phillips were in residence, a successful run chase then looked a distinct possibility, but once Phillips was well caught in the deep for a 30-ball 70, Wardens were always likely winners.
Nathan Roberts provided late defiance, hitting five sixes in a 28-ball half-century, but Maher (1-30) and Zaman (2-30) kept things tight to ensure the cup returned to Kenilworth after a 12-month absence.
Wardens had previously beaten Knowle & Dorridge by 24-runs in a fine match during the competition’s round-robin stage.
Nathan Edwards (103) and Martin Donald (68 not out) enabled the hosts to recover from a sticky start to post 298 for six against their final opponents but, when openers Dom Harding (112) and Phillips (103) passed 200 without being parted, Wardens still looked to be heading for defeat before fine spells from Maher and Brinder Phagura swung the game their way in the latter stages.
The hosts had previously disposed of Berkswell and Leamington more comfortably after twice setting new scoring records for the five-year-old competition.
Wardens posted 333 for seven against the defending champions thanks to Maher’s 34-ball 116, before rattling through Spa’s batting line-up for 136.
Berkswell were then despatched for 355 for five as Maher smashed 17 maximums in a 44-ball 151 and Basit added a 26-ball 79, to which the Birmingham Premier League champions-elect responded with 248 for eight.
Dominic Ostler’s team had previously slipped to a 98-run defeat at the hands of K&D who racked up 314 for four thanks to Aussie star Beau Webster’s 41-ball unbeaten 101.
However, Berkswell did manage to win the closest match of the week when they overcame Leamington by three runs in a thrilling finale.
Former Warwickshire and Glamorgan all-rounder Nick James smashed 171 and Amir Sidiqkhil added 89 as Berkswell posted 334 for four, but while Tom Warner (114 from 34 balls) was at the crease Spa seemed certain winners.
However, Liam Gateley claimed three wickets in an excellent final over which produced only six of the nine runs required.
K&D qualified for the final on net run rate after also claiming one win in the round-robin competition after losing their contest with Leamington by six wickets.
Phillips made 102 and Chris Kenny an unbeaten 79 for the Solihull-based team before Max Webber (61) led Leam’s quest for 252 which was clinched by Warner hitting 32 from an over.