Cullen stars as Kenilworth Wardens edge out Shifnal

By Paul Smith

22nd Aug 2022 | Cricket

Kenilworth Wardens claimed a seven-run Birmingham Premier League Division One home win over Shifnal (image by Paul Devine)
Kenilworth Wardens claimed a seven-run Birmingham Premier League Division One home win over Shifnal (image by Paul Devine)

Sparked by an outstanding hundred from Worcestershire's Henry Cullen, Kenilworth Wardens claimed a seven-run Birmingham Premier League Division One home win over Shifnal.

But Andrew Leering's high-flying side had first to survive a tense finale in which skipper Chris Murrall marshalled the relegation-threatened visitors' lower-order to such good effect that they needed just 27 from 17 balls with four wickets remaining until Alex Wyatt's late brace of wickets enabled Wardens to get over the line.

Cullen's superb knock plus Ali Zaryab's 47 provided the backbone of the home side's 257 for nine while they were in time extremely grateful for a late flurry from Hugo Whitlock which saw 19 runs added by their last pair.

Shifnal's response was built around Ethan Jamieson's excellent 88, but after Zaryab claimed 2-34 from ten controlled overs of off-spin it was all about Murrall's fluent cameo before Wyatt's late intervention prevented his former club from grabbing a relegation lifeline.

With top three Smethwick, Barnt Green and Moseley again all winning this result leaves Wardens well clear of the chasing pack in fourth place with three rounds of action remaining.

"It was nice to keep the winning streak alive," Leering said.

"Henry batted superbly well – it was a masterful knock for such a young lad.

"But we then lost a few wickets towards the end of our innings which slowed the scoring rate down and I thought we were maybe 20 runs shy of what we hoped for.

"Shifnal then had a couple of good partnerships in the middle and it was Neylan (Chauhan) getting the big wicket of Jamieson which titled things our way. He bowled very well and kept a cool head under pressure.

"Our bowlers then did a good job in closing the game out – in particular Ali is a very useful death bowler in the white ball format."

Wardens' innings was dominated by a third-wicket partnership between Cullen and Zaryab which added 111 before the Pakistani ace fell to Amar Jassal for a 63-ball 47.

When Cullen was eventually sixth out he had struck 12 boundaries and three sixes in an outstanding even-time 109 – his second league hundred of an incredibly consistent run-filled summer.

Thereafter Shifnal's seven-man attack worked its way through the home side's lower-order to good effect with Jassal (2-36) and Jack Edwards (3-33) especially eye-catching.

It therefore required Whitlock's late cameo – which included a six and a four – to see Wardens beyond 250 and he was soon into the action in his more familiar role removing the visitors' opening pair with the new ball.

With Tommy Rex and Zaryab claiming two wickets apiece, Shifnal's response was soon centred around Jamieson's fine knock so when he was bowled by Chauhan for a 95-ball 88 containing 16 boundaries the visitors had it all to do.

However, Murrall proved up to the task, adding 38 quick seventh-wicket runs with Shaun Lorimer (17) before the return of Wyatt ended his threatening 44-ball knock at 40.

After a run out, Shifnal's last pair required 13 from Wyatt's final over and their hopes were finally ended when the towering paceman claimed his second wicket with three balls remaining.


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