It was a ‘must win game’ says Azhar after victory over Essex

Sunday 1st August 2010

All-rounder Azhar Mahmood on his way to Sunday’sseason’s best return

By Mark Pennell

Azhar Mahmood showed his value to the county by claiming a season“s best five for 62 haul that ensured a vital 99-run win in Sunday“s tense final day of LV= County Championship action against Essex.
Mahmood, now 35, bowled superb lines and lengths to restrict scoring opportunities and take wickets as Kent secured a crucial second win of the season and their first on home soil.
“It was a must win game for us,” said Mahmood after the maximum points victory that lifts Kent to sixth in the Division 1 table.
“We didn“t make the most of our good position on the opening day when we failed to cash in with the bat on a good pitch, but we were lucky to have overcast conditions for the last three days and that really helped swing the ball.
“We watched Matthew Walker take three wickets for them on the third day and that really gave us confidence to go out there and do better. We just needed to bowl in the channel and give them nowhere to go, and it paid off.”
The former Pakistan all-rounder said: “If you can“t take wickets in four-day cricket then the key thing to do is to keep the opposition quiet and keep them under three-an-over and that“s what we did in their first innings.
“We definitely needed this lift and it will give us a lot of confidence for the up-coming games.
“I“m not used to playing a lot of four-day cricket these days and my body does take time to recover, so we“ll just hope to see how I shape up after today.”

Picture: Sarah Ansell