FAHIM Qureshi continued his fine form with the bat as Slough draw at Banbury in the first timed match of the season on Saturday.

Qureshi made 74, 72 and 61 in his last three innings and a fourth half-century in a row (80) helped Slough to a share of the points at White Post Road.

The away side reached 223-7 from 64 overs with overseas star Zohaib Ahmed adding 50, Steven Green 22* and Shaan Khan 19.

Richard West was the pick of the Banbury bowlers with his figures of 3-68, backed up Aizaz Cheema (2-42).

In response, the hosts closed on 189-7 after 56 overs with captain Lloyd Sabin (67) and opener Craig Haupt (47) the leading scorers.

Ikhlaq Nawaz led the bowling attack with 2-47 with wickets also falling to Green (2-61) and Ali Akbar Raja (1-30).

Slough skipper Bobby Sher told the Observer: “It was one of those wickets where ideally you wanted to bowl first. It had rained quite a lot and the wicket wasn’t fully prepared.

“We lost the toss and were put in against a decent bowling attack and they did well to restrict us to 223.

Slough Observer:

PHOTO: Slough captain Bobby Sher praised the efforts of Ikhlaq Nawaz (pictured) who bowled 18 overs while fasting for Ramadan.

“Fahim batted very well once again, and Mohammed Avas (12) and Steven chipped in with some valuable runs towards the end to give us a total we were confident we could defend.”

He added: “The pitch got a lot better as the weather dried out. If you wanted to stay in it was difficult to get you out, but it was tough to score runs. There was no pace in the pitch and the ball wasn’t coming on to the bat.

“Lloyd and Craig batted well for Banbury and once we got them out it was too late to go for the win, so credit to them.

“It was a fair result because we batted first so had a few more overs but Banbury had the better of the conditions.

“Ikhlaq is fasting but bowled 18 overs which is an unbelievable effort, and the spinners bowled very well.

“The moment the game changed for us was a superb piece of individual fielding from Nabil Shah at point. Their captain (Sabin) hit the ball straight to him, but he only had one stump to go for at the non-strikers end.”

The result leaves Slough in seventh place in Home Counties Division One ahead of a visit to Upton Court Road from league leaders Horspath on Saturday.

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