Asim Butt played one of the great Jaidka Cup innings to power Peterborough Town into the final tonight (June 22).
The pocket dynamo thrashed the Wisbech Town attack to all parts, and beyond, of Harecroft Road as he smashed an unbeaten 128 from just 49 balls to set up a comfortable 48-run win for the tournament favourites.
Ironically Butt was one of the few players who felt the ground was too wet to stage such a prestigious Twenty/20 semi-final. A deluge just before the official start time of 6pm caused concern, but the match was simply reduced to 15 overs side which, as it turned out, was an act of mercy for the shell-shocked home side.
It’s anyone’s guess how many Butt would have scored in a full 20 overs. He didn’t even open tonight, but from the moment he strode out to replace Ajaz Akhtar in the third over he caused carnage.
He smacked Lyndon Mallett’s opening over for 30 (three sixes, three fours), tucked into Cambs’ all-rounder James Williams, who conceded 59 from three overs, and showed utter contempt for the rest of an outclassed bowling attack.
Butt reached 50 from 16 balls and 100 from 37 balls. He whacked 10 sixes and 12 fours, many of them during a quickfire third wicket partnership of 123 with Lewis Bruce (26) as Town piled up 194-4 in their 15 overs.
Remarkably, considering the brutality of the batting, Wisbech seamer Sam Rippington, one of 10 players in the game with mninor counties experience, returned the excellent figures of 3-14 from his three overs. Wisbech missed a trick by not asking the left-armer to bowl his final over earlier in the innings in the hope of dismissing Butt.
It was effectively game over at half time, and more so one ball into the Wisbech innings, when top man Gary Freear holed out tamely to Scott Howard at cover off the bowling of Joe Dawborn.
Skipper Sam Albutt did strike three sixes from the first four balls delivered by Bruce, but fell to a smart Richard Kendall catch in the same over.
Kendall and Dawborn collected two wickets apiece, while Wisbech gained some respectability from a fifth-wicket partnership of 53 between Aussie Jack Hargreaves and Williams.
Hargreaves finished unbeaten on 51 bringing up his 30-ball half century with one of his three sixes.
Town will play either Bourne or Oundle in the final at a venue to be decided next Wednesday (June 29). The second semi-final at the Abbey Lawns has yet to be arranged.
Butt’s innings is believed to be the biggest by a Town player in the Jaidka Cup, but it’s not the fastest century of the 2016 competition.
Bourne skipper Pete Morgan hammered a 30-ball ton in his side’s quarter-final win over Nassington.
A. Akhtar c Bowers b Rippington 12
D. Clarke b Freear 15
A. Butt not out 128
L. Bruce b Rippington 26
D. Sayer c and b Rippington 2
C. Milner not out 0
TOTAL (4 wkts) 194
Bowling; S. Rippington 3-0-14-3; J. Williams 3-0-59-0; L. Mallett 3-0-58-0; G. Freear 3-0-34-1; J. Gollands 3-0-29-0.
G. Freear c Howard b Dawborn 0
J. Bowers c Milner b Dawborn 15
J. Gollands b Kendall 7
S. Albutt c Kendall b Bruce 26
J. Hargreaves not out 51
J. Williams b Kendall 24
D. Haynes not out 20
TOTAL (5 wkts) 146
Bowling: J. Dawborn 2-0-18-2; D. Sayer 3-0-15-0; R. Kendall 3-0-21-1; L. Bruce 3-0-45-1; N. Haider 3-0-37-0; K. Medcalf 1-0-7-0.