Wanstead captain hails 'Kishen Velani weekend'

Kishen Velani hit back-to-back centuries for Wanstead against Brentwood and Crouch End

Kishen Velani hit back-to-back centuries for Wanstead against Brentwood and Crouch End

Wanstead captain Joe Ellis-Grewal hailed Kishen Velani for hitting back-to-back hundreds in two fine wins last weekend.

The Herons beat Brentwood by 30 runs in the Hamro Foundation Essex League Premier Division on Saturday, after Velani (105) and Robin Das (101) shared a 180-run stand at the Old County Ground.

And Velani added 119 off 68 balls in a 28-run success over Crouch End in the ECB Club National Championship the following day, with Jahansher Akbar nabbing 5-53.

"It was the Kishen Velani weekend, back-to-back hundreds," said Ellis-Grewal.

"Watching Kish and Robin bat on Saturday was something else. They're two of the top batters in the league and I think most would agree.

"Watching them produce a partnership like that was fantastic. It was a tough wicket, damp in patches, bouncing unexpectedly.

"Kish and Robin bedded down, took their time and waited, accumulated and got used to the conditions. It was a phenomenal effort against a strong Brentwood side."

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The big third-wicket stand helped Wanstead post 293-8, with Zain Shahzad (3-48), Ellis-Grewal (2-26), Akbar (2-46) and Yuvraj Odedra (2-57) having success with the ball as the hosts were dismissed for 263.

"We could've bowled slightly better but they batted well," added Ellis-Grewal.

"We got Will Buttleman early, but they've got a long line-up and had Chris Green coming in at four. We chipped away, Yuvraj bowled a terrific over at Eddie Ballard and got him with a yorker.

"We kept building pressure but we've all seen what Chris Green can do and he had a couple of good overs before we got him and there was a sigh of relief."

Ellis-Grewal won the toss on Sunday and saw Odedra (53) and Tom Simmons (36) start well, with Velani hitting six sixes and 14 fours and sharing 108 with Akashsivan Suresh (27).

"Kish turned it on. It was different class the way he was batting," said Ellis-Grewal.

"He was hitting it wherever he wanted and it was demoralising for the opposition. It was a fantastic innings and to get that total (285-6) in 40 overs was brilliant for us."

Defending Middlesex League champions Crouch End chased well, with Australian opener Joel Curtis scoring a superb century of his own.

But Wanstead got him eventually, having hit five sixes and 17 fours in his 165 off 119 balls.

"We struggled a bit, it was hot and two long hard days of cricket," said Ellis-Grewal.

"We had to be on the ball all day. It would've been nicer to put it to bed earlier, they had to keep coming at us and we kept picking up wickets, but we dropped their last man on nought and then the Aussie went beserk.

"They needed 30 off the last two overs. It was closer than it looked.

"Jahansher got five again, keeps picking up wickets and changing the game, he's a brilliant asset for us and we've got so many options."

Wanstead host Hutton on Saturday, then head to Harpenden for their next cup tie on Sunday and Ellis-Grewal hopes they can maintain momentum.

"These are the weekends if you get through you look back on at the end of the season. It's setting the season up for us," he said.

"Hutton have had some mixed results but have got some dangerous players and it is by no means an easy game.

"I've never played against Harpenden, so I'm really looking forward to going to their ground and trying to get into the last 32."