The Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) last Saturday (Nov 12) played host to another tour side at the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG). This time it was the turn of the Australian and New Zealand Association (ANZA) side from Singapore who have been regular visitors to Phuket over past years.

Players from both the PCG and ANZA pose for a photo following last Saturday's game. Photo: Mark Whetton
Players from both the PCG and ANZA pose for a photo following last Saturday’s game. Photo: Mark Whetton

A sunny day greeted the players, somewhat of a relief after all the monsoon rains of late, and the outfield was ideal for boundaries. The format was a 30 innings match.

 PCG skipper S Wetherell won the toss and elected to bat first, but things got off to a rocky start when he was caught off the bowling of J Dick for a duck after facing just three balls. However S Ullah joined the other PCG opener I Mushtaq and together they put on a 53 run partnership before Mushtaq was bowled just three runs short of a well-constructed half century. PCG were 67/2 after eight overs.

Another partnership looked promising between Ullah and S Hamilton before Ullah fell for 11 off the bowling of M Madni. Hamilton followed just four runs later, also the victim of Madni’s bowling. Another quick wicket of S Gaur for just three runs saw the PCG side teetering at 87/5 at the half way stage of the innings which put ANZA comfortably in the driver’s seat. But local league regulars M Rehman and S Kumar had other ideas and steadied the PCG ship with intelligent batting to take the score to 142 before Kumar was stumped for 11. Not a large score, but Kumar certainly gave Rehman the support he needed before Rehman was run out in the last over of the PCG innings for 38.

Also chipping in with the bat was A Khan who made a quick-fire 28 taking the PCG total to a respectable 190 from their 30 overs. The wickets were shared around between the ANZA bowlers but Norris and Madni both picked up a brace from their six overs each and going for 43 and 23 runs respectively.

After lunch , ANZA took to the middle to chase down 191 runs for a win.

The opening batsmen got the side off to a steady but cautious start to keep up with the required run rate which at the start of the innings was 6.37 runs per over. The first wicket to fall occurred straight after the 10 over drinks break when a mix up between the openers saw Mufti stranded at the wrong end of the wicket after making 12 runs. A Sankath followed 19 runs later when he was caught for just seven runs. ANZA were 81/2 after 13 overs.

Ten runs later the other ANZA opening batsman, A Khuller, found himself back in the pavilion after a sharp catch by Ullah at mid-wicket after a well-earned 52 runs. This happened to be the highest score from any batsman for the day. However, ANZA were right on track to reach the required target when after the halfway mark they were 92 runs for three wickets.

In-form batsman G Forday joined ANZA skipper C Gupta at the crease and between them they constructed a 34 run partnership to put the side on the better side of the run rate equation. But when Gupta (18) skied one to deep long-on where Wetherell took a brilliant catch, the tide quickly turned for the ANZA lads.

Some inspiring full length bowling from Khan saw him demolish the stumps of Forday (26), Madni (4) and G Hawker (1) in quick succession and ANZA soon found themselves on 141/7 after the end of the 25th over.

They were soon joined in the clubhouse by D Norris in the next over who went for a duck with just one run added to the total.

With four overs remaining, 48 runs required and just two wickets left, the task looked too large to overcome for ANZA, and after D Mydeen departed after hitting a couple of lofty sixes, ANZA simply ran out of overs and found themselves 21 runs short of their target after their allotment 30 overs.

Pick of the PCG bowlers was Khan who collected four wickets for just eight runs off three overs. He was also the Man of the Match.

So what at one stage was looking to be a comfortable win for the visitors quickly turned pear shaped when Khan got his chance with the ball. Needless to say it was a great game played in good spirit and enjoyed by all.

Saturday (Nov 18) sees another regular touring side, the prestigious Singapore Cricket Club, return to Phuket to compete for the annual “Sensible” Cup. Start time for this match will be 11:30am at the ACG.

The PCG are always looking for new players and officials to assist with the running of cricket on the island. For further information about cricket on Phuket, visit the PCG web-site at www.phuketcricket.com or e-mail the PCG committee at phuketcricketgroup@gmail.com. They can also be found on Facebook.

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