Last Sunday Feb (5) saw cricket return to the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG) with the start of the C&C Marine 2017 T20 season. The first match was between last year’s winners, Patong Cricket Club (PCC) and a newly formed Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) side. Patong skipper S Raju won the toss and elected to bat first.
 

Raju was joined at the crease by S Hamilton to open the innings but was soon back in the pavilion without troubling the scorers. Hamilton decided to run, and then stop, then start again, only to stop again leaving his batting partner stranded half way down the pitch.

A slick bit of fielding from Y Mizra in the covers saw the bails whipped off with Raju well short.

Hamilton was then joined at the crease by S Gaur but he was out in the next over when M Sadarangani trapped him LBW for just three runs. So a good start for the newly formed PCG side who had last year’s champions seven for two after justy two overs.

However, PCG’s celebrations were short-lived as P Morton joined Hamilton to put together a flowing 56 run partnership from just 36 balls. Hamilton, however, was eventually bowled for 32 by I Mushtaq in an 11 ball over containing five wides.

Morton fell soon after when he too was bowled by Mushtaq’s brother Waseem when a glorious ball snuck through his defences to send his leg stump cartwheeling.

Waseem’s aim was even better the next ball as this time the middle stump went flying to send A Simmons back to the changing rooms for a golden duck. At the 10th over drinks break, Patong were sitting on 78 runs for five valuable wickets.

After drinks A Van Blerk and H McDonald took the team forward. McDonald played some nice stroke play. Van Blerk also assisted by keeping the strike rotating before being caught on 18 in the outfield by Waseem off the bowling of Sadarangani.

Two runs later Mizra picked up the valuable wicket of N Quail for a duck by LBW in the 16th over with Patong on 120 with seven wickets down.

McDonald tried to pick up the run rate in the last few overs but was clean bowled by Mushtaq while on 36 from 29 balls. The remaining batsmen kept the runs ticking over until the end of the 20th over to give Patong a respectable score of 144.

Patong Batsman, Hico MacDonald, Loses his bat and his wicket to the bowling of Imtiyaz Mustaq Photo, Michael Way

PCG got off to a mixed start to chase down 145 runs for a win with Mushtaq finding the middle of the bat often to find the boundary fence with relative ease. But fellow opener R Bentley was clean bowled by S Bhattacharya after hitting a nice boundary of his own to find the side on 27 for one after three overs.

Mushtaq was joined by Sadarangani at the crease and between the two of them put on a 72 run partnership to put PCG on 99 runs at the end of the 14th over.

Mushtaq eventually fell after being caught on the boundary by McDonald on 62 from 54 balls consisting of zix fours and one six. He was awarded the Man of the Match for his efforts.

Waseem fell shortly after also being caught on the boundary by Simmons which had the PCG side wobbling a little.

At the end of the 15th over PCG were 109 for three wickets, but the more important equation was the requirement to make the remaining 36 runs from 30 balls for the win.

A couple of big overs were needed to get the PCG lads back in front and a couple of big overs came with the assistance of M Rehman’s bat. Rehman took to the 17th over which was bowled by McDonald to reach the boundary in three consecutive balls to take 13 runs off the over.

Raju bowled the 18th over which also went for an expensive nine runs but McDonald’s next over went for a meagre five.

So with the last over to be bowled, PCG needed just four runs for a win.

Captain Raju decided to take the ball to bowl it and when the first delivery was a dot ball, the tension in the clubhouse was rising.

Rehman was facing and was trying to smack the ball out of Phuket when singles and the odd two runs would suffice. The very next ball, however, he did connect and smacked it straight down the ground to the long off boundary region.

Birthday boy Hamilton was under it but the crowd weren’t sure if it was going to land in his hands or over the boundary for a match winning six runs. PCG spirits dropped when Hamilton took a brilliant catch right on the boundary, but in his effort to keep his balance, Hamilton stepped over the rope to change an “Out” to a “Six”. PCG won by seven wickets to take two points in the competition.

This Sunday (Feb 12), sees the second match of the competition take place between the Island Cricket Club and another new side to Phuket, the ACG team. Start time will be 11am.

For further information about cricket on Phuket, visit the Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) web-site at www.phuketcricket.com or e-mail the PCG committee at phuketcricketgroup@gmail.com. New players are always welcome & would be well received by the current teams on the island.

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