Barking expect ‘tight game’ as they bid to close the gap on league leaders Newham

PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 August 2017

Ehsan Afzal in bowling action for Barking (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Ehsan Afzal in bowling action for Barking (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Barking cricket captain Ehsan Afzal is expecting a ‘tight game’ in their top-of-the-table clash against Newham this weekend.

Barking's Pulkit Gupta appeals for a wicket (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)Barking's Pulkit Gupta appeals for a wicket (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Afzal and his side play host to Newham on Saturday and are hoping to close the gap on the Essex County League Premier Division leaders.

Newham sit top four points ahead of Barking going into the match and it could prove to be the title decider with only three games remaining this season.

“Looking at the other results, it seems to have become a two-horse race,” said Afzal.

“Both teams have been playing good cricket all season.

“We are yet to beat Newham, and if we are to win the league we will need to beat them this weekend.

“A win this weekend will put us in touching distance of the title.”

The skipper praised the opposition ahead of the clash and also admitted his team are going into it high on confidence.

“They’re a good side with some explosive players through their batting line-up,” he added.

“Their bowling has a lot of variety and they can change up their attack at any point.

“We have to go into the game with confidence as we’ve been playing some good cricket.”

Barking will be without opening bowler Moshin Latif for the Mayesbrook Park clash as he looks set to be sidelined for the rest of the season.

“Unfortunately Moshin Latif, our opening bowler, has a double fracture on his left hand,” said Afzal. “He is likely to miss the remainder of the season, but this now opens up an opportunity for someone to come in from the other teams to cement their place.”

Afzal and his side go into the match off the back of beating Hawks away from home in what proved to be a tough encounter.

“The game was tough and with expected rain Hawks put us in to bat,” he said.

“We knew that we needed to set a good score to make the game easier for the bowlers. All the bowlers did their bit in keeping the runs to a minimum.

“The whole team worked hard to keep the pressure on and took every opportunity which was presented to them.”

The Barking skipper led from the front, hitting an unbeaten 65 and pickinng up four wickets in the 61-run win.

“It is always good to get runs and wickets, but the whole team played a part in the win,” he said.

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