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Shakeel the star as Cornwall triumph

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Shakeel Ahmed cracked a 29-ball half-century from number 10 to lead Cornwall to an unlikely two-wicket win over Hertfordshire in the latest round of MCCA Trophy fixtures on Sunday.

The 47-year-old, who played a solitary Test for Pakistan in 1998, was chiefly responsible for guiding Cornwall to the Minor Counties Championship title last summer when he returned second-innings figures of 7-36 in the final against Buckinghamshire.

On this occasion, Shakeel made a match-winning contribution with the bat at Ladycross, thumping two sixes and five fours in a stunning innings that saw Cornwall home with two deliveries to spare.

At 193 for eight and with the required run-rate having risen sharply, Cornwall looked to be beaten, only for Shakeel to share an unbroken 85 with Thomas Sharp.

Hertfordshire’s defeat was cruel on Eddie Ballard, who contributed 116 at the top of the order.

There were similarly dramatic finishes at Bicester, where Oxfordshire reached a target of 263 in the final over with one wicket remaining to defeat Bedfordshire, and at Cresselly - the venue for Wales Minor Counties’ two-run success against Staffordshire. Rhodri Evans anchored the Welsh innings with 128.

Alex Blofield’s five-wicket haul earned Shropshire a 37-run away victory against Suffolk, while Northumberland’s total of 246 for nine proved well beyond the reach of visitors Herefordshire, who were dismissed for 178.

Dorset and Cambridgeshire recorded wins on their travels against Berkshire and Cheshire respectively, but Wiltshire were unable to follow suit as Matt Lineker’s unbeaten 107 propelled Lincolnshire to a convincing six-wicket triumph at Woodhall Spa.

Yesterday Nesan Jeyaratnam’s unbeaten hundred guided Hertfordshire to a five-wicket win over Devon at Instow but Sam Arthurton’s unbeaten century could not prevent Norfolk from losing to Shropshire by five runs at Horsford.