JAMEEL Qureshi might have been feeling worse for wear yesterday after playing cricket in 44 degree heat, but he still had a very good reason to smile.
The Blayney talent hit an unbeaten 102 to lead the Bathurst District Cricket Association’s opens side to a 40-run win over Parkes in their SCG Cup match in Parkes.
It was the first time Qureshi had been part of a Bathurst outfit which had beaten Parkes and his team-mates were in the same situation.
It was back in season 2009-10 that Bathurst had last managed to beat the Lachlan Cricket Council heavyweight.
“It’s really nice to hit a century and win; I really enjoyed it. That was the most enjoyable part, winning against Parkes. They are a fairly strong side and have got a lot of good cricketers,” Qureshi said.
“We have got some good young blokes and some older guys as well and I don’t think any of us had ever beaten Parkes before.
“The whole way home, I was driving by myself, because I came from Sydney that morning, I was thinking about it and I was very, very happy.”
Qureshi has been in reasonable touch with the bat this season, narrowly missing out on a century against Bathurst first grade rivals ORC when hitting 96 on November 8.
But the effort it took to anchor Bathurst’s innings after they were first in to bat against Parkes eclipsed any prior season 2014-15 displays. He arrived at the crease with his side 2-27 and carried his bat for the remainder of the overs.
“It was very, very, very hot over there and my fitness is not great, so it is not a good combination,” he said.
“I think I spent two-and-a-half hours at the crease; I went in about the 10th over or thereabouts and went through from there.
“I probably cost us a few runs at the end. I couldn’t hit the ball further than the 30 metre circle – that’s all I had left in me.”
Aside from the heat, what drained Qureshi’s energy was that most of his runs were accumulated in singles and twos rather than in boundaries.
He did give chances along the way, but admitted the potential catches he offered were not easy to take.
“I didn’t hit too many boundaries. There was a lot of wind down one end, so when I was hitting into it I didn’t hit many. I got a few down the other end, but they were wind assisted,” he said.
“I think I gave two or three chances; they were half chances. There was one I tried to hit over a bloke and he probably should have caught it, but I did hit it pretty hard. It’s good to have a bit of luck for once.
“It is probably not the best I have ever batted, but it is certainly one of the more enjoyable and satisfying ones [knocks] for me because it came against Parkes.”
Half centuries from his team-mates Josh Toole and Callum Hotham helped Bathurst to a total of 253, Qureshi then given a rest by skipper Daniel Casey as they went into field.
“I got the first stint off, which made it a bit easier, but then I came on and had to bowl a couple of overs,” he said.
In the end, Parkes could not reel in Bathurst’s total, Qureshi and his team-mates progressing to the Western final of the SCG Cup against Dubbo on December 14.
Given Dubbo beat Orange by nine wickets on Sunday, they present Bathurst with a formidable challenge, but Qureshi has confidence in his team-mates.
“We all offer something different to the team, each individual, and it’s a good fun team to play with,” he said.