Ali hits a half-century as Highgate keep promotion hopes alive

Syed Ali’s first half-century of the season set up Highgate for a winning draw that keeps their hopes of promotion alive in Division Three of the Middlesex County Cricket League.

After a mid-season slump, Highgate have taken 24 points from their last three games and are now within striking distance of second-placed Indian Gymkhana – their opponents this weekend.

Jake Sharland’s side would have been in an even stronger position if they had managed to finish off Kenton, but they were denied maximum points by tailenders Gameth Adasuriya and David Sweeney.

The visitors were put in to bat after Sharland lost the toss, with Ben Sudell (4) managing just a single scoring shot before he fell to Deepak Singh (1-17).

Sami Haider (2-96) removed Ed Binns (10) at 49-2, but Ali replaced him and began to take control of the innings as he and Ed Atkins added 50 for the third wicket.

Atkins reached exactly 50 before he was bowled by Sweeney (4-75), who then prevented Carman Mapatuna from reaching that milestone, taking a return catch to end his knock of 49 from 58 balls.

By then, Mapatuna had shared a 90-run partnership with Ali, who went on to reach 70 and haul his side past 200 before becoming Haider’s third victim.

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Sharland (11) and Craig Gourlay (0) also fell to Sweeney, but Nick Brunner smashed 22 not out off just nine deliveries to lift Highgate to 237-7 declared from 55 overs.

Kenton made a solid start in reply, with Viran Parmar (32) and Schopun Jooma (19) adding 30 before Gourlay (3-68) made the breakthrough by dismissing Jooma leg before.

Kalpesh Keria (1) followed in the same manner, while Mapatuna (4-46) bowled Deepak Singh as the home side slumped to 42-3, but Sachin Patel (16) enabled them to regroup.

However, Mapatuna took the catch to remove Patel off the bowling of Dave Benton (1-20) and then dismissed Ankit Shah (17) before ending Parmar’s marathon stay at the crease.

That left Kenton six down and Yaqoob Yousuf decided on attack as the best form of defence, hitting a string of boundaries in his quickfire knock of 27 before he fell leg before to Gourlay.

But Adasuriya (8) and Sweeney (4 not out) put up the shutters and, although the wicketkeeper eventually edged Mapatuna behind, Sweeney survived 33 balls as he steered Kenton to safety at 143-8.