Arul’s speedy knock steers Highgate to victory against Harrow

Chris Arul blazed a quickfire half-century to cement Highgate’s place at the top of the Division Three table with a six-wicket victory over Harrow.

Arul struck 77 from just 54 balls and shared a century partnership with Hashen Ramanayake, who eventually hit the winning runs as Highgate coasted home with almost 13 overs to spare.

Harrow had seemed comfortably placed at 120-3 after being put in to bat at Shepherd’s Cot, but Craig Gourlay ripped through the visitors’ middle order with four wickets to ensure they were bowled out for 193.

“After a couple of draws it was good to get back to winning ways,” said Arul. “With both Harrow batsmen set at 120-3, we feared the worst, but an excellent spell from Craig changed the game.

“We were confident chasing 194 but lost two wickets very early, which jangled a few nerves! It was good to put on a large partnership with Hash, who batted excellently to see us home.”

Harrow’s openers made a solid start, reaching 23 before Ramanayake (2-12) made the breakthrough, removing Fathe Singh (5) and Arul then took a catch to dismiss Uzair Mohammed (21) off the bowling of Ed Foster.

Foster (2-29) struck again, bowling Bhavesh Tapariya (5) to reduce the visitors to 35-3, but Highgate were frustrated by a fourth-wicket stand of 85 between Tanveer Shah and Sachin Patel.

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However, the experienced Gourlay (4-41) picked up the crucial wicket by trapping Shah leg before for 50 and made further inroads when he pierced the defence of Patel (43).

Yaqoob Yousuf (5) and Kamran Hussain (0) also fell to Gourlay as Harrow slumped to 156-7 and, despite Mohamed Ghouse’s undefeated 28, Will Brookes (2-46) and Ramanayake cleaned up the tail at the start of the 45th over.

Highgate’s pursuit of the target faltered initially, with Matt Holly lasting just three deliveries before he was lbw to Pazman Agha for a duck.

And the home side were wobbling at 3-2 when Callum Fraser (1) was caught behind off Yaqoob Yousuf, but Arul and Ramanayake got them back on track with some attacking shots in their partnership of 119.

Arul racked up six fours and eight sixes in his knock of 77, but missed out on a century when he was bowled by Sami Haider and it was left to Nick Brunner to take up the baton.

Brunner rattled up 28 from 26 deliveries, sharing in a stand of 60 before he was stumped off Shah with just 12 required, but Ramanayake struck a boundary off the first ball of the 33rd over to finish on 74 not out and seal his side’s victory at 196-4.

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