The Second round of the Phuket Cricket League was played on Sunday 20th December at the Alan Cooke Ground. This was the last round of T20 matches before the 40 over format starts in the New Year. Patong CC played ICC in the morning game while Laguna CC played Thalang CC in the afternoon fixture.
The toss was won by Patong captain Seemant Raju who elected to bat in this eagerly anticipated first clash of the season between the reigning 20 over champions Patong and Island Cricket Club.
The Patong openers got off to a steady start with Imtiyaz Mushtaq in particular looking in fluent touch and finding the boundary regularly. Himself and Raju had accumulated a partnership of 69 in the 11th over before ICC made a double breakthrough. Firstly Raju (14) was caught by Takur off the bowling of Shahnawaz with Imtiyaz (48) following almost immediately, trying one big shot too many and being bowled by Chand. This brought two new batsmen to the crease in Paddy Morton (10) and Stuart Hamilton (17). Both played positively and pushed the ball around until they were both caught on the boundary from successive balls from Shahnawaz with the score on 98, Morton at deep square leg and Hamilton at long on.
For the third time this brought two new batsmen to the crease this time Simon Wetherell (1) and Anthony Van Blerk (9). Wetherell soon became Shahnawazs fourth victim, caught by Virdicar. Pir Sami then strode to the crease and dispatched his first three balls to the boundary in an entertaining innings, pushing the score on to 124 in partnership with Van Blerk before the former was run out. Van Blerk immediately followed, well caught at long off by Ravi Naik. At the end of the twenty overs Patong had accumulated 131/7 and knew that they would need to bowl and field well to be in with a chance of winning.
The ICC innings started steadily and openers Shah (3) and Mydeen (24) had put on 20 before Imtiyaz had Shah well caught at point by Morton. Next up was Chand (5) who didn’t last long being caught at point by Wetherell from the bowling of Raju. Mydeen was next to go having hit some belligerent boundaries was pinned LBW from the leg spin of Morton. New man Virdicar (2) soon followed, top edging a Justin Swart delivery to Hamilton at short third man to leave ICC precariously placed at 56/4 from 10 overs. Shahnawaz (25) then joined Naiq (31) who had been steadily accumulating at the other end to put on 32 for the fifth wicket before Sami held a steepling catch from Naiq off the bowling of Morton. Vaiganker (6) then joined Shahnawaz before he was run out by Raju. Kumar was the new batsman and a few big hits by Shahnawaz meant that 10 runs were required from the last over being bowled by Raju. Shahnawaz calmly dispatched the first ball for four but the batmen struggled for the next four balls leaving 3 required to win from the last ball. Shahnawaz could only squirt the ball to short third man, leaving Kumar to be comfortably run out and Patong winning by 1 run. It was a very closely fought game with both teams playing in good spirit which bodes well for the rest of the season.
The second games of the year for these two sides began with Laguna winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a morning designed for great cricket.
Laguna jumped out of the blocks and were running at 10 an over for the first 3 overs which looked to be a little too fast and attacking, but with more than a few chances going begging on the following overs, Laguna held all wickets until the score was 74 with Manish Sadarangani ruing chasing a wide one. Sameer Khan came and went quickly with the score at 80 for 2 bringing the heavy hitting Ali Khan to the crease to leave the score at 100 and the drink break with Irfan showing great form and sight, piling the majority of the runs and Laguna would have felt happy with the run rate at that point, however Thalang changed their bowling rotation after the break and stymied the flow of runs to keep Laguna to 7 / over which was very respectable and showed some great fielding skills. Wickets were still slow to come however, and by the time Irfan fell to a slow jogging run and was run out the damage had been done and Laguna were 7 for 171.
The team stopped for ten mins to catch their breath and grab a drink on what had become a very hot day and Coming back after the drink break Thalang quickly lost 2 wickets which buoyed the Laguna crew, however the irrepressible scoring machine Andrew McMillan came to the crease and pushed the tem through the danger period and on to the point of challenging Laguna at their own game, however , with still ten an over to get after the drinks break , it was going to be an inning to remember if they were going to win. All credit to Andrew and Alex Runhaar for really forcing the pace and unfortunately coming up short by only 11 runs. Great game and very evenly matched in the end and enjoyed in a great spirit and atmosphere.