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South African Pakter puts Olympic to the sword for Salford Blue Jays

Salford enjoyed a comprehensive victory against newly promoted Olympic as Grant Pakter showed his class with an unbeaten 97.

The South African batsman looked in little trouble as he accumulated runs at Cheetham Hill CC on Sunday.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the innings started well with Captain Josh Henry hitting 19 off 17 deliveries before mistiming a lofted drive to mid on.

A less than impressive piece of calling saw Waseem Hassan run out for 26, bringing Indy Samra to the crease to join Pakter.

The pair put on 108 for the third wicket with both playing classy shots to the Olympic seamers.

It was only when Olympic Captain, Naveed Shaikh, introduced himself into the attack that Pakter struggled slightly but both batsmen quickly found their range and a series of boundaries made light of any danger.

Samra was eventually trapped lbw by Eccles with Salford on 171 in the 23rd over.

However, a middle order collapse saw them reduced to 183 for 5 before Rob Dietz joined Pakter to steady the ship with a 50-run partnership.

When Dietz was caught out for 24, Pakter looked to the lower order to support him as he chased down his ton.

However, with tiredness setting in, he found himself needing a six off the last ball and could only manage 3 runs to leave him on a wonderful 97 not out and Salford on 263 for 8 off their 40 overs.

Salford’s tight bowling from the start made the run rate of over 6.5 an over look highly unlikely.

Yasir Riaz (2-14) picked up two early wickets and the run rate climbed as the Blue Jay bowlers and tight fielding made scoring difficult.

Off spinner Ross Bloomberg (1-9) eventually made a further breakthrough as he had the impressive Alishan Khan smartly caught behind by Bourke off an arm ball. The umpire initially gave him not out but Khan sportingly chose to walk, to the applause of the Salford fielders.

Further stubborn resistance was broken with the introduction of the 50-year-old veteran, Jonny Wineberg (3-14).

His swinging first ball produced a mis-timed drive from Zafar and an excellent catch at mid on by Samra and in the same over he bowled the Olympic Captain with a much slower leg spinner. When he had Hussain caught by Samra in identical manner to his first wicket, Olympic were down to their last man.

Waseem Hassan (1-23) eventually bowled the excellent Sheikh for 29 as Olympic reached 97 all out in their 27th over.

With Salford’s last match against unbeaten champions Bawali Shreef Cricket Club next Sunday, they cannot rise above 5th in the league, a disappointment in a season that promised much.

However, the Blue Jays will continue their challenge in the midweek Last Man Stands season, where they lie third with three matches left.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.