MIDDLESEX CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION ONE
Osterley 127 all out
MTSSC won by five wickets
MTSSC leapfrogged opponents Osterley on Saturday as they climbed back to the top of Middlesex Championship Division One with a nervy five-wicket victory.
Jenson Singarajah eventually completed a topsy-turvy win by leading his team home with an impressive 45 not out after a stuttering start to his side's run chase.
Earlier in the day, a solid start by the league leaders was disrupted by bowlers Kavi Kannathasan and David Devadoss who stole the show with four wickets apiece to help reduce the home side to a mediocre total of 127.
Under overcast conditions and with the potential for movement, captain Abdul Hamza elected to put the hosts in bat first after winning the toss. Despite the loss of their captain Laeeq Ahmed, who became Kannathasan's first victim of the day in the second over, Osterley recovered relatively well as they steadily reached 44-1 off 14 overs.
Kannathasan then struck twice in the same over and then Naveed Ali claimed the crucial wicket of Asad Rizvi, a real thorn in MTSSC's side in the reverse fixture, to leave what appeared to be a promising Osterley innings in disarray.
The tentative approach of the home side's batsmen was marked by the occasional clearing of the boundary to keep the run rate ticking over but it did not take the visitors long to assume greater control on proceedings.
Ashok Andrew struck first before a devastating spell of spin by Devadoss meant Osterley failed to really get into gear as wickets fell frequently and runs became hard to come by. Between them, Kannathasan and Devadoss dismantled the remains of the tail to finish with four wickets each and reduce the hosts to a score way below their ideal target.
After the break in play, MTSSC started their chase unconvincingly as openers Rajeevan Manoharasa and Jegath Gengeswaran both lost their wickets cheaply. Soon after, the visitors' chances of victory were even more in the balance as star man Devadoss was sent packing with his side just 27-3. With MTSSC dwindling at 46-3 at tea, the two innings had a certain mirror image of each other with both sides' batsmen toiling in the decent bowling conditions.
Debutant Sanish Sam misjudged an inswinger not long after tea to depart for 21, leaving MTSSC in desperate need of a partnership to stabilise the innings.
Their worries soon disappeared, however, as the disciplined Jenson Singarajah came to the crease to accommodate the more attacking style of Raghu Loganathan. The two steadied the ship with a vital 30 run partnership which swung the momentum heavily in the favour of the visitors.
After the dismissal of Loganathan, youngster Kishan Patel showed great maturity as the 16 year old ably supported the impressive Singarajah to take MTSSC over the finishing line.
Patel showed characteristics far superior of his age as he stood up to the bowling attack with no fear yet great self control. His partner Singarajah further provided evidence of his importance as his controlled display allowed his side to take the maximum 10 points and duly overhaul their opponents.