The Phuket Cricket League commenced on Sunday (Dec 13) at the Alan Cooke Ground with two T20 matches.

A nonchalant looking six form Hico MacDonald (Thalang) 67 not out, including four 6’s and six fours (Michael Way)

A nonchalant looking six from Hico MacDonald (Thalang) 67 not out (Michael Way)

The first match was a tight contest with the defending champions Thalang Cricket Team (TCT) defeating the recent Outrigger T20 champions Patong Cricket Club in the last over.

TCT won the toss and sent Patong in to bat. Patrick Morton and Seemant Raju were gifted with three no balls and five wides in the first four overs as Patong skipped away to 0 for 34.

Alex Runhaar had Morton (13 runs) caught behind with the first ball of the 5th over and from there TCT worked their way back into the game. Hico McDonald bowled an accurate spell before the drinks break to pick up the wickets of Imtiyaz Mushtaq (1) and Raju (21). At drinks Patong were 3/53.

After the drink break, Mudasir Rehman carried on where McDonald left off picking up 2/7 from his first two overs to have Patong 5/71 after 14 overs. Patong’s Anthony Van Blerk was the standout with the bat. On a day when boundaries were hard to come by he scored 40 not out from 28 balls including four sixes. Patong ended on 7/127 (AVB 40, S Raju 21, M Rehman 3/19, H McDonald 2/13).

TCT’s run chase started with the loss of 2 wickets for 8 runs. McDonald and Andrew McMillan then steadied the TCT innings but were well held by the accurate Patong bowlers. At drinks TCT were 2/56.

The Patong bowlers remained in control after the break and soon had McMillan 33 (47) caught off the bowling of Imtiyaz Mushtaq. Patong’s new recruit Craig Leaver took 2 wickets in his next 2 overs to place Patong in a strong position with TCT 5/87, requiring 41 to win from just 5 overs.

Much like Patong’s innings, the last overs were again fruitful for the batting side. McDonald took full advantage of any loose deliveries, hitting long and straight to bring up his half century and narrow the target to 21 runs from 18 balls. Mushtaq bowled Garry Lane 6 (10) off his pads with 15 balls remaining and 12 runs separating the teams. Gary Carrick came out swinging but wasn’t able to connect with the moving ball.

McDonald had the strike to start the last over with just 6 runs required for victory. Patong’s captain Raju choose to bowl and delivered a wide first up followed by a full pitched ball that was hit for four to tie the game. With the fielders brought in to save the single McDonald sent the next delivery over the fence to end an exciting first Phuket Cricket League match. TCT 6/133 (McDonald 67*, McMillan 33, C Leaver 2.18, I Mushtaq 2/35).

Anthony Van Blerk had a good day with the bat 40 not out including 4 sixes (Michael Way)
Anthony Van Blerk had a good day with the bat 40 not out including 4 sixes (Michael Way)

In the day’s second game between Island Cricket Club (ICC) and Laguna, Laguna win the toss and deciding to field first .

ICC started well and were on track for a nice score at the 10-over drinks break, and arguably well on top with only 2 wickets down in the 50s and would have counted themselves as unlucky with a wicket on the stroke of drinks.

Ali Khan (ICC) opened his account with a big six (Michael Way)
Ali Khan (ICC) opened his account with a big six (Michael Way)

None the less, they would have been confident to go and really challenge in the following 10 overs. Laguna had witnessed a good start in the field with a nice catch to S Khan removing the ever dangerous A Chand off a tricky ball from N Youseff. But following that, the irrepressible Shah took charge and kept the score ticking over and Laguna fell under pressure.

Laguna were presented with another chance and the catch was agonisingly taken for three seconds, but, the ball fell loose and the new recruit Ellis eventually limped off with a corked Hamstring and Laguna were down to 10 men. Coming back after the drink break ICC lost a quick wicket but pressed on to the 70s when calamity fell to some good bowling from A Langston 3/13 and N Youseff 4/19 (still on a hat trick) cleaned up the tail and Laguna were left chasing 109 to win.

Nadeem Yousef (Laguna) was the bowler of the day taking 4 wickets for 19 runs (Michael Way)
Nadeem Yousef (Laguna) was the bowler of the day taking 4 wickets for 19 runs (Michael Way)

Laguna’s innings exploded fast with Irfan chasing the runs and knocking the ball off the boundary, but he fell away and skied one to be well caught. When Manish Sadarangani fell for 26 off the bowling of A Chand things slowed down for Laguna and with some great bowling from P Bolkar, ICC moved in for the kill and set some very aggressive fields.

A see-sawing contest in the final 5 overs saw Laguna drop to 7 wickets for 97, but after some shaky moments, 2 dropped catches, a dead ball from hitting the power lines, Laguna held on to win with 2 overs to spare.

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