Hampton & Solihull travelled across Birmingham to Handsworth and returned with a winning draw thanks to a wonderful effort by Johangir Khan, who batted for 45 overs in searing heat, which was made all the more impressive as he was fasting for Ramadan.
Khan produced a superb knock of 119 out of the visitors’ 203, after H&S skipper Matt James had won the toss and chose to bat first with the expectation that the very and wicket would deteriorate.
The Handsworth opening bowlers removed Mike Daniels early. This brought Khan to the wicket and he soon began to take control, using attacking fields and a fast outfield to launch a series of boundaries.
At the other end, Matt Proudman was finding it difficult to pierce the infield. He was eventually bowled for 15.
There then followed a steady fall of wickets as H&S tumbled to 119 for six, with three of the wickets gifted to leg-spinner Bhalla.
Khan was joined by Mike Palmer and they set about rebuilding and ensuring that the overs were used.
Khan was the main aggressor with a number of straight-driven sixes while Palmer gave good support, before Khan was brilliantly caught by Jason Jordan, running back 30 yards and taking the ball over his shoulder in the last over.
Tim Keyte and Gavin Heath also fell in the scramble for runs, leaving Palmer unbeaten on 27.
The Handsworth reply was littered with powerful drives and attacking play as they looked to get on top of the bowling.
Heath bowled a good opening spell but it was Palmer who made the breakthrough with Dawkins superbly caught behind and then trapping Jason Jordan and Crossgill leg before to reduce the hosts to 51 for three.
Ammer Hussain and Anton Johnson put on 40 for the fourth wicket until James Harris was rewarded, having Johnson caught at extra cover.
The run rate was climbing and and, as Handsworth looked to push on, they lost Weinand and Clement Smith to Harris.
By the time Harris completed his spell in the 42nd over, the run rate was 10 an over but Handsworth continued to push on and Waqar Hussain launched a counter-attack to give them hope of an unlikely victory.
However, the return of Keyte was decisive as he bowled Waqar before Bhalla was run out.
Palmer picked up the ninth wicket with the last ball of the game to finish with four for 48, while Harris took three for 26.