Last Sunday’s (Jan 18) second game of the 40/40 season got off to a nice start when Laguna won the toss against the call and decided to bat.
Laguna, not always the most aggressive of scorers, were playing a safe supporting role game on one end with Manish Sadarangani holding up supporting the free flowing batting of Irfan Sanga who was playing a run a ball innings.
Laguna trotted away to a 83/1 start which most would have considered a big score. However, some wickets fell as other Laguna batsmen failed to establish themselves in comparison to Irfan, and when clouds gathered, lightly at first, and then with a bang a storm rolled over from the south west and play was halted.
Laguna were still in a strong position with only a few down and in the 160s. More than 30 minutes passed and eventually lunch was called early and the teams went in to wait out the break amid a continuing downpour and with a nervous Irfan stuck on 92.
Play resumed at just after 2pm with rain reducing the game to 38 overs for both teams, and the wet ground slowed play and bowling attacks and the boundaries dried up.
However, Laguna was still able to post a respectable 250 with Irfan cracking his century in 99 balls before being bowled after one big shot too many.
ICC had it all to play for and were well in range of a required run rate with 50 on the board in just a few overs , but the change of bowling from the quicks bought immediate results and Manish S started his onslaught of 5 clean bowled wickets through a non-stop 8 overs spell with Roly Cooper holding up the other end.
In the end, the 5 wicket haul on a tough wet pitch was the undoing for ICC and the equation became too much with 139 required off the final 18 overs.
On a different pitch most would have put ICC in with a chance , but it wasn’t to be their day and eventually reached a respectable 175 , top scorer Ravi Naik at 31 was very good despite the conditions.
The game was played in good spirits from both sides and a great day was had by all players and spectators.
The Superkings won the toss and choose to bat first in overcast conditions. Laguna’s bowlers struggled for accuracy early in the innings. The 15 early sundries helped to propel the Superkings to 39/1 from 5 overs.
Superking opener M Matthew was joined by Mudasir Rehman in the 6th over and the pair put on a healthy 34 runs in 22 balls before Laguna’s Darshan Vaigankar picked up a wicket. At the drinks break the Superkings were 79/3.
The skies were dark but the rain stayed away long enough for Vaigankar to get another 2 wickets and bowl Laguna into a strong position before the rain halted play with 4 overs remaining in the Superkings innings with their score at 119/7.
15 minutes later the excess water was swept off the artificial pitch and the Superkings made the most of the conditions posting another 45 runs and their highest Outrigger T20 score to date of 164 runs. M Matthew 22 runs (27 balls), B Desai 21* (18), B D’Silva 16* (10), D Vaigankar 3/28 (4 overs).
The score was perhaps a little higher than it needed to be due to a massive 54 extras conceded throughout the innings!
Laguna’s opening pairing of the in-form Arif Mushtaq and Damien Clowes got Laguna away to a good start racing to 34/0 after 4 overs. Mushtaq 23 (24) was out in the 8th over and then Clowes 21 (26) followed in the 9th over. The match was evenly balanced at drinks. Laguna were 75/2 with danger man Ali Khan at the crease and hoping to add to his 11 sixes this season.
Superking captain Balesh Desai entrusted the ball to Blasko D’Silva and he claimed the wickets of both batsmen in the 11th over. For the 3rd match in a row a spectacular boundary line catch was needed to dismiss the hard hitting Khan. This time it was the safe hands of Madras Cafe Superking Ferozz ‘Mike’ Khan just inside the mid-wicket fence.
Only Laguna’s captain Iqbal Malik offered any further resistance scoring a smart 43* (24) as Laguna were bowled out for 146 in the last over. D’Silva 3/16 (2 overs) and Rehman 2/17 (3.1 overs) were the best with the ball for the Superkings.
Meanwhile, in match 8 of the league between Thalang and Patong, also played on Sunday, an enthralling encounter began with Thalang winning the toss and electing to bat.
They got off to a bright start with Andrew McMillan (14) and Alex Runhaar putting on 24 for the first wicket before McMillan chipped a full toss from Imtiyaz Mushtaq straight to Mhonish Chandawaskar at mid on.
The wicket of new man Pat Richards then swiftly followed as he was caught behind by debutant Tyrone Veltman for 2. Runhaar was then joined by Dean Mills and a combination of some good stroke play and poor catching from Patong allowed the pair to swiftly add 70 for the third wicket and threaten to take the game away from Patong before Richards retired for 13.
Hico McDonald then joined Runhaar only to see Patong finally accept a chance given by Runhaar to send him back to the pavilion for 59 with the score on 122. Some effective late order hitting from McDonald helped boost the score before he was trapped LBW for 30 from the impressive bowling of Mushtaq.
Some very effective death bowling meant Thalang struggled to get the ball away at the end of their innings and Patong were able to restrict them to 152/7 from their 20 overs.
All eyes were then on Patong at the start of their innings following their debacle the week before when they were bowled out for 27.
The innings started well with Mushtaq and Seemant Raju mixing careful defence and controlled aggression to post 85 for the first wicket before Raju was caught by Runhaar off the bowling of Richards for 12.
Stuart Hamilton then fell in the same manner lofting Richards to Runhaar and when Mushtaq was caught behind for a well made 71 from 52 balls Patong were wobbling at 101/3 and the required rate began to climb. 101/3 became 112/4 when Justin Swart could consider himself to be unlucky when run out backing up at the non strikers end for 3.
A mid pitch mix up between Heno Jordaan and Veltman then saw the latter run out for 1 to leave Patong requiring a near impossible 28 from the last 2 overs. Jordaan was joined at the crease by Paddy Morton who immediately flayed his first ball through the off side for 4.
TCT captain Simon Wetherall bravely bowled himself for the penultimate over and the pressure told, a no ball was dispatched for 4 by Morton and the resulting free hit went for 6.
The momentum had now shifted with Patong requiring 11 to win from the last over bowled by Val Giraud.
Jordaan dispatched the first ball for 6 over midwicket to bring it down to 5 from 5. A misfield allowing the ball to run away for 4 at long on then brought the scores level before Jordaan finished a remarkable game with 6 over fine leg.
Patong had won with 2 balls to spare.
Text by Stuart Hamilton.