CRICKET: A record batting partnership of 231 runs set up a huge win for the Thalang Cricket Team (TCT) against the Island Cricket Club (ICC) at the Alan Cooke Ground on Sunday (Feb 14).
Thalang’s Hico McDonald in action; 137 off 77 balls. Photo: Michael Way -
Thalang’s Hico McDonald in action; 137 off 77 balls. Photo: Michael Way –

Thalang called correctly at the toss and choose to bat first in warm conditions with a light breeze blowing across the ground.

Paresh Borkar struck early for ICC with the wicket of Carl Baxter in the 3rd over. Fellow opening bowler Arun Virdikar kept the pressure on the batsmen as TCT crept to 33 from 8 overs thanks to some quick singles.

Garry Lane hit the ball to the fence a couple of times before he was bowled by Syed Shahnawaz in the 12th over with TCT at 2/62.

Hico McDonald joined Andrew McMillan 22* at the crease. The pair attacked the inaccurate 1st, 2nd and 3rd bowling changes to wrestle back the ascendancy from ICC and see TCT to 2/133 after 20 overs.

Alan Cooke’s cows took shelter at the far end of their paddock after the drinks break as McDonald set about hitting anything pitched up, short, wide or straight. Both he and McMillan raced passed their half centuries and were both within reach of 3 figure scores at the 30 over break.

The last 10 ICC overs came at a cost of 124 runs and some bruised ICC hands when chances were missed to catch McDonald in the deep.

Directly after the drinks break McMillan brought up his century and McDonald cleared the leg side fence in the next over to bring up his maiden century in Phuket.

McMillan brought the ACG record partnership of 231 runs (142 balls) to a close when he retired his innings of 117 (94) at the end of the 33rd over.

ICC welcomed the chance to bowl to a fresh batsmen and took the next 2 wickets for the addition of just 1 run, TCT 5/294.

McDonald continued disperse the ICC bowlers until Ravi Mehra bowled him for a massive 137 (77 balls, 9 fours, 10 sixes) with 9 balls left in the innings. TCT finished on 6/378 thanks to a 44 run (23) cameo from Mudasir Rehman.

No ICC bowlers escaped the run feast, Arun Virdikar was the most economical with 43 runs including 9 wides coming from his 7 overs.

The balance of the match may have sat largely in favor of TCT but the hospitality of the hosting team ICC was exemplary. All players sat down at the lunch break to a well catered curry and rice buffet upstairs at the Bondi Beach Bar.

Once players had their fill, they came downstairs and it was Surinder Kumar’s turn to dispatch the TCT bowlers. Kumar hit 6 fours and a six in his 38 run (28) innings. His luck ran out when he was caught behind in the 7th over off the bowling of Hossain Sylar.

ICC’s Divan Mydeen and Shah Ullah continued to push for an unlikely victory. 8 overs into the innings ICC were 1/72, 39 runs in front of TCT’s score at the same stage.

A bowling change saw Craig Murphy and Garry Lane stem the flow of runs and pick up 2 wickets each. Just before the 20 over drinks break looping leg-spinner Martin Hill was introduced into the attack and the Island batsmen threw caution to the wind in an attempt to keep with the run rate.

Hill’s variation during his 3 overs could only be described as extraordinary. Bowling to a tight field he snared the important wicket of Ravi Mehra 18 (17), LBW off a faster ball.

After the drink break his loop had Virdikar caught hooking a ball to Murphy at first slip. Two more batsmen were deceived in flight caught by Lane off Hill’s bowling. Carl Baxter got the last wicket of the innings as ICC were dismissed for 175 runs, 203 runs short of the TCT total. (S.Kumar 38 (28), D.Mydeen 31 (26), M.Hill 4/23, G.Lane 2/19).

The win places TCT 6 points clear on top of the PCL ladder with this Sunday’s match between second placed Laguna and third placed Patong important for both teams in their pursuit of a place in the final.

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