Highgate captain remains optimistic after narrow loss to Indian Gymkhana

Highgate captain Jake Sharland. Pic: Max Flego

Highgate captain Jake Sharland. Pic: Max Flego - Credit: Max Flego

Highgate captain Jake Sharland feels his side should take heart from a narrow home defeat to Indian Gymkhana on their return to the second tier.

Sharland’s team, who went up as unbeaten Division Three champions last season, fell just 16 short in an exciting run-chase centred around Muazam Ali’s half-century.

“We were the better team for the most part, but we can still take away many positives,” said the Highgate skipper. “Our bowling was good and our fielding was sharp.

“The problem was that our top order, despite an excellent 61 from Muz, all got starts before playing poor shots. If we are going to do well this year we will need matchwinners and on Saturday nobody really stepped up.

“We are still very confident about having a successful season and thriving in this division.”

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Highgate’s new signing Sandun Dias (2-26) picked up early wickets after the visitors won the toss and opted to bat, dismissing openers Rana Khan (38) and Chirag Patel (11) to reduce them to 57-3.

But Zain Chughtai (85) held the Gymkhana innings together and, with the support of Mujtaba Syed (30) and Rakesh Khade (39), laid the foundations for a strong total.

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Chughtai eventually departed towards the end of the innings, bowled by Will Brookes (3-57), while Ed Foster collected two wickets as Gymkhana posted 256-8 from their 45 overs.

Sharland (34) and Chris Arul (47) got Highgate’s chase off to a good start with a stand of 69 before Will Bowley fell for just five as the home side subsided to 92-3.

Dias (27) added 53 for the fourth wicket with Ali, but Highgate were unable to build any further substantial partnerships, despite Foster blazing 16 from just five deliveries.

Ali finally perished for 61 and, although the Highgate tail took the contest to the last over, they were bowled out for 241 with two balls remaining.

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