Records tumble for Hollingsworth at Blind World Cup

Justin Hollingsworth, centre, with Gav Dean and England captain Matt Dean on top of Table Mountain. Picture submitted
Justin Hollingsworth, centre, with Gav Dean and England captain Matt Dean on top of Table Mountain. Picture submitted

Leamington CC teenager Justin Hollingsworth played a starring role as England reached the semi-finals of the Blind Cricket World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Hollingsworth, the youngest member of the England squad at 17, produced the country’s best figures in 40-over cricket of four for 54 in the group defeat against Sri Lanka.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said following the loss. “Losing was a bit hard. It was good at half-time because I knew I’d got the record.

“Luke Sugg’s got our stats and told me I’d taken it off him.”

However, his next contribution was far more critical, with his first century for his country helping them beat Australia to reach the last four.

Hollingsworth scored 144 off 119 balls, putting on 257 for the third wicket with Warwickshire team-mate Luke Sugg (137) as England amassed an impressive 469 for three against the Aussies.

The teenager then proved his all-round capabilities by dismissing Mark Haskett early in the Australia reply.

An excellent fielding display then restricted Australia to 323 all out, with England effecting six run-outs.

In the semi-final, Sugg’s fourth hundred of the World Cup proved in vain as holders Pakistan beat England by eight wickets.

Vice-captain Sugg’s 105 from number four helped England post 264 for eight to take his tournament tally to 629 runs.

Yet Pakistan, one of the powerhouses of blind cricket who defeated England by 207 runs in the group stage, overhauled the target in 17.4 of their 40 overs.

Muhammad Jamil led the chase with 117 not out from 57 deliveries, including a stunning 18 fours and two sixes, at the top of the order while Amir Ishfaq’s 20-ball 58 also hurried Pakistan along.

Earlier, Hollingsworth made good on Matt Dean winning the toss with 53 at the top of the order.

On a gloriously sunny day, Hollingsworth and Sugg added 56 for the third wicket before the centurion dominated a stand of 82 with Matt Page.

After wickets had fallen around him, Sugg was the last man out in the closing overs having struck eight fours in his 85 balls.

Dean said: “It’s sad on a team level that we’re out of the tournament.

“Ideally we wanted to score about 350, but it wasn’t to be.

“We fell short, but in saying that we had some great performances with the bat from Justin, Luke, Matt Page, and others chipped in as well. Another 50 runs and who knows?”

Agreeing with Dean, head coach Ross Hunter said: “Everyone’s devastated but I think that’s a good state of English cricket.

“If you’d asked England teams over previous years, they would never have believed they would win a World Cup. We got to the point this morning where we really believed.”

India edged past Pakistan in the final, passing their total of 389 for seven with five wickets and two balls remaining.