Akram ‘knew Wanstead would win’
PUBLISHED: 16:51 16 June 2014 | UPDATED: 16:51 16 June 2014
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Captain always confident in close call
Wanstead defeated Loughton with just six minutes left in their Essex Premier Division clash on Saturday – but captain Akram Arfan was always confident his side would win.
The skipper had delivered a rallying cry to his batsman last week to start performing and they certainly did by declaring on 338-3 from 60 overs.
However, Loughton didn’t go down without a fight and survived 65.5 overs before they were eventually bowled out for 193.
“We won with six minutes to spare so I was pleased,” said Akram.
“I was always confident and that confidence comes from how successful we have been over the last few years, where we have won games from ridiculous situations.
“We are a team that never stops believing and it was the same again. We always play exciting cricket and we go for the win and I genuinely did always believe we would get the win.”
Victory would not have been possible had it not been for slow left-armers Joe Ellis-Grewal and Mo Fayyaz Khan who took nine wickets between them.
Ellis-Grewal took 5-40 from 20 overs, while Fayyaz Khan picked up 4-30 off 16.5 overs, including the final wicket.
And Akram praised the pair, adding: “Ellis-Grewal was phenomenal and he has bowled with so much discipline this season.
“Mo Fayyaz-Khan is Mr Reliable too and the pair are great together. Joe is half his age, but they respect each other so well and it is good to have two spin kings.”
The platform for victory was set by Akram and fellow opener John Chambers as the pair put on 198 for the first wicket before the Wanstead skipper fell for an excellent 107.
Chambers finished unbeaten on 135 and Essex and England youngster Kishen Velani (44) helped the defending champions declare on 338-3.
Akram was pleased with his innings but conceded it would have meant little had they not won.
He added: “It is nice because you get selected to perform, not just to be captain so it is always nice to contribute but if I had got a 100 and we hadn’t won I wouldn’t have been in a happy mood so the result is the most important.
“John was really good and he deserved it because he worked hard for those early runs and then for the last 60 he was smashing it miles.
“We rode our luck at first, we played and missed quite a lot but we knew on that wicket it would turn second innings.
“Obviously once we got the first hour out of the way it got a lot flatter and the boundaries at Loughton are really short so it was just about waiting for the bad ball and we cashed in.”