‘Exciting talent’ Bhatti makes half-century on Tod debut

Ben Sutcliffe  helped Bilawal Bhatti add 106 last Friday evening
Ben Sutcliffe helped Bilawal Bhatti add 106 last Friday evening

Todmorden skipper Andrew Sutcliffe saw enough of new arrival Bilawal Bhatti last weekend to believe he will make a big impact this summer.

The Pakistani international, who has arrived a month and a half later than planned after an international call up, hit 59 in the Centre Vale club’s seven-run home defeat by Enfield in the Twenty/20 competition last Friday.

Bhatti was then left kicking his heels, along with Tod’s other players, when Sunday’s game away to East Lancashire was the only one in the Lancashire League which failed to take place, due to a waterlogged pitch.

Enfield professional Graeme van Buuren’s 82 from 52 balls proved decisive on Friday.

Tod were soon eight for three in pursuit 152 to win but Bhatti and Ben Sutcliffe (57) put on 106 for the fourth wicket. However, their efforts were in vain.

Sutcliffe said: “The T20 on Friday night was a really good game but unfortunately we came out just short.

“We bowled too many bad balls and their professional took every opportunity in dispatching them to the boundary.

“Chasing down 150 in 20/20 is always a tough ask at our level but Bilawal and Ben put on a fantastic partnership which including some excellent running and big hitting.

“Bilawal looks like an exciting talent. He was bowling extremely quick and he can clearly hit a big ball so we are looking forward to playing cricket with him throughout the summer.

“It was extremely disappointing to be the only team not to play on Sunday.”

Tod return to East Lancs for a T20 game tomorrow without Simon Newbitt and Martin Harlow due to work commitments.

The development squad is at home to Burnley on Saturday and the first team host Enfield on Sunday when they should be at full strength.