Ilford “relieved” to stop winless run
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 July 2015
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Hafeez thrilled as team battles to Chingford triumph
Shaz Hafeez says Ilford have lifted the pressure on them after their victory over reigning champions Chingford ended a run of seven league matches without a win.
Hafeez was standing in for regular skipper Tashfeen Imtiaz and led the side to a narrow seven-run win at their Valentines Park base.
The result also dragged Ilford closer to their rivals at the bottom of Essex Premier Division, with just 14 points separating the bottom four teams and Hafeez knows the importance of the team breaking their duck.
“It was a very tight game and after such a close match, there was a real buzz in the dressing room. It’s a huge relief,” he said.
Having won the toss, Hafeez elected to bat and, after seeing Nigel Jacobs (7) depart early on, saw opener Hendro Puchert and Gurdeep Kandola put on an impressive 80 for the second wicket.
Kandola’s dismissal for 39 broke up the partnership and he was shortly followed into the clubhouse by Puchert, who top scored with 61.
It was at this point that the pitch began to favour the spin bowlers, which considerably slowed the Ilford scoring rate as the team eventually posted 197-6 but Hafeez was pleased with the total given the conditions.
“It was an interesting innings. We were around the 110 mark after 30 overs and thought we could kick on to post around 220.
“Then the pitch began to turn and the batsmen began to struggle a bit but we knew that with three spinners in our squad it would suit us. It was less than what we wanted but it proved to be good enough.”
Having impressed earlier with the bat, Puchert returned to punish Chingford further with the ball, taking 4-35.
The all-rounder’s efforts helped restrict the visitors to 190-9 and his performance delighted Hafeez no end.
“Hendro bowled really well. He has been very consistent all season and he showed that once again.”
“Chingford themselves only gave their seamers a few overs before turning to their spinners but overall our bowlers were brilliant.”
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