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North Sea glory awaits Highlanders

BIG-hitting Highlanders are poised to complete the title double in the new North Sea Pro Series tournament.

Having powered their way to glory in the T20 event, they will add the 50-over crown to their haul tomorrow if they snuff out the challenge of the South Holland Seafarers.

The teams go head to head at Raeburn Place with the hosts holding a four-point lead, along with a superior net run rate. Anything other than defeat by a massive margin will ensure success for the men from Edinburgh and the North East.

The chances of an upset will be slim, particularly on the evidence of their performance last week at Dumfries.

Michael Leask, quickly emerging as one of Scotland's most damaging batsmen, again underlined his talents with a quick and spectacular century to sink the struggling Reivers.

There is no question the Stoneywood-Dyce all-rounder will be the man the visitors will be aiming to keep the shackles on, in the T20 tussle and the longer game less than 24 hours later.

Meanwhile, rookie spinner Hamza Tahir has been backed by his famous cousin to make an impression on his Reivers debut against the North Holland Hurricanes in the Netherlands.

Despite being replaced by Ferguslie ace Tahir, Scotland veteran Majid Haq believes the 18-year-old is ready to make the leap to the big stage.

Haq said: "While I am disappointed to be missing the final two Reivers matches, I am delighted that Hamza has been called up in my place. He has been one of the best performing spinners in this country for the past couple of years, in spite of his tender age. It is a well-deserved opportunity for him and I am sure he will do everyone proud."

Haq was backed up by former Scotland star Siggy Young, who went as far as to add: "Hamza is the best left-arm spinner in a generation. The last one in his class was Dallas Moir in the 1980s when he played for Derbyshire. I have been a big fan of Hamza since he was 13."

David Kelso

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