Indian star blasts Preston to win over Morecambe

India star Sarfaraz Khan on his way to 97 not out for Preston against Morecambe. Picture: Tony North
India star Sarfaraz Khan on his way to 97 not out for Preston against Morecambe. Picture: Tony North
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Morecambe were defeated by Preston on Saturday thanks to the influence of an Indian Premier League superstar.

Sarfaraz Khan of the Royal Challengers Bangalore made a cool, undefeated 97 to see the visitors to a seven-wicket win at Woodhill Lane.

The 18-year-old rising star hit 10 fours and a six to cement reigning champions Morecambe’s position at the bottom of the Northern Premier League table.

Winning the toss and batting first the hosts battled hard through skipper Josh Dixon (25) and professional Saeed Anwar Jnr (25).

Dixon was trapped in front by Lukman Valhaluwala however with the paid man to follow soon after run out after a mix up with Lewis Edge.

The incident seemed to affect Edge as he drove hard at Valhaluwala only to be caught behind thanks to a fine feather to the wicketkeeper.

Morecambe needed stability and in Ryan Pearson (67) and Lewis Smith (10) they got it.

Both watchful at the start of their innings Pearson was soon into his stride.

Smith, who is now finding his feet at this level, was content to rotate and give Pearson the strike as he raced to his second league 50 of the season.

When Smith fell Eddy Read proved another foil for Pearson, however it was Izair Ullah whose 19 off just 7 balls enabled Morecambe to reach a competitive 184.

Preston’s response started poorly as Read rearranged skipper Sajid Patel’s stumps second ball and Irfan Qayyum removed Miya Ahmed Lunat with the first ball of his spell.

Preston were reeling but Valhaluwala (24) and Khan soon turned things around.

The latter was the talk of Woodhill Lane as many of his fellow countrymen flocked to Morecambe to see the Indian prodigy bat.

He struggled early on against Read and was lucky to survive a huge LBW appeal but it was to be the only real chance the hosts got.

Valhaluwala departed thanks to an excellent catch by Gert Maartens from the bowling of Anwar Jnr however Mustaffa Durani (51 not out) stuck with the India Under 19 international as they guided their side.

Khan’s innings ended just three short of a century and included a range of reverse sweeps, paddles and powerful strikes around the ground as proved his class leaving Morecambe powerless to prevent another defeat.