Salford Blue Jays consolidated their lead at the top of the last man stands competition with their fourth win in a row, however the match against Fighting lLions at Parrs Wood was on a knife edge until the final over.
Indy Samra continued his fine form with the bat scoring another impressive half century off 33 balls including an impressive flamingo shot for six. Waseem Hassan returned to his early season form with a wonderful 52 not out off 35 balls. At the other end Grant Parker managed to score a comfortable 33 off 19 and good cameos from Jonny Wineberg and Richard Roberts helped to push the total to 150 by the close of the Salford innings.
Chasing the tough target of 151 for victory, the Lions could not have got off to a worst start. While attempting to steal a single off the opening ball they lost a wicket to a run out after some great work by the wicketkeeper Daniel Bourke, fielding a high throw from Rob Dietz to whip off the bails.
Waseem cemented his man of the match status with a couple of wickets which included some fast hands again from the wicketkeeper for an impressive stumping. However, some slack bowling let the Fighting Lions back in to the match, led by the big hitting Shahzad Khan who hit 50 of 30 balls.
With 15 balls and 4 wickets remaining, the Lions looked favourites for the win needing just 15 runs. It was then that the league leaders showed their character and mental strength as Rob Dietz stepped up to the plate and claimed two quick wickets for a single run during his five balls.
The first ball of his over led to a skied catch superbly pouched by Samra at mid-wicket, which was clearly the turning point in the match. However, the second wicket brought back the dangerous Khan.
Captain Ross Bloomberg stepped up to the plate with a beautifully flighted delivery that bowled Khan in the penultimate over.
This left the Lions needing 10 runs off the last over with just their last man standing. Grant Pakter exercised excellent control but the win was still in the balance as a six off the last ball is worth double in LMS.
One final dot ball saw Salford home with a 5 run victory. Speaking after the game captain Ross claimed, “The latest victory really underlines the never give up attitude of the lads and the team spirit we have shown this season.”
Looking to the future, a lot of emphasis will be placed on the Blue Jays next two games; the return fixture against the Fighting Lions and then the top of the table clash with Team Infinity, the only team to have bested Salford this year.
Indeed, with a victory the day after Salford’s win, Team Infinity leapfrogged them into the league lead.
On the run in Bloomberg commented, “We’ve got two massive home games coming up now, including against title rivals Team Infinity, so home advantage comes into play for us. Two victories and we’ll be in the driving seat for the run in to the end of the season.”