After winning the toss, the Penguins elected to bat first with openers Paddy Ledeboer and a slimmed down Raju Seemant stepping out to the crease.
With the use of the new pink ball and with the assistance of a much slower outfield, the Cows were able to stifle the brunt of the Patong attack.
In the third over, the Cows’ opening bowler Waseem Wahid ripped out Ledeboer’s 8 (9) stumps with the score on 13 before the other opener Guddu Yadav did the same to Seemant 7 (10) to reduce the Penguins to 24-2 after 3.2 overs.
The early dismissals of the opening pair left the South African duo of Patong’s left-handed top batting guns Justin Swart and the returning Penguin Craig Morgan to build the innings.
Unfortunately, Morgan 3 (8) skied one to Cows’ new recruit Michael Flowers at long off from the bowling of Bahnu Singh to peg the Penguins back further to 37-3 after 6.1 overs.
Soon after, the other big wicket fell to Sameer Kahn who knocked over Swart 10 (14), leaving the Penguins in serious trouble at 38-4 after 7.2 overs.
The usually aggressive Curt Livermore and the vastly experienced Anthony Van Blerk, batting in prescription glasses for the first time, were left to pick up the pieces and try to carefully put some sort of score together.
While the pair consolidated, Flowers and Singh were able to bowl rare maiden overs before Van Blerk 4 (10) was dismissed with a stunning caught and bowled from Jaskaran Ahluwalia that left players confused at how you can catch a ball without the use of hands?
Drinks were taken a ball early with the Penguins reeling on a score at 50-5 after 9.5 overs.
Following the break, Livermore 11 (28) and Penguins captain Jason Robertson put on a 40-run partnership before Livermore was bowled by Singh with the score at 90-6 after 17.1 overs.
Shilash Sharma 1 (3) was then run out by Flowers with the assistance of the Cows wicket keeper and captain, Joe Ninan.
Sajal Gaur 2 (3) joined his captain briefly before the excellent innings of Robertson 27 (28) was dramatically ended as all three stumps ended up sprawled on the wicket courtesy of Yadav. The frustrated Robertson’s dismissal left Gaur and the tail to push the Penguins above 100.
The Penguins ended up posting 106 all out, one of the lowest scores in recent memories at the ground.
Singh was the pick of the bowlers for the Cows with figures of 2-8 off 3 overs.
After the break, the Cows sent journeyman Sameer Kahn and wild card Pir Sami out to face the new ball.
Sami 0 (3) didn’t last long with Robertson picking up his wicket after he lofted a ball straight up to Livermore at cover.
That brought Flowers to the crease for his first innings against his former teammates.
Kahn and Flowers cautiously pushed the score to 53-1 at the 10 over drinks break. A similar score to the Penguins at the same stage but with far more firepower in the tank.
In the 12th over, Flowers 17 (32) was bowled by Penguins fill-in Mayur Deuskar to break the 56 run partnership, bringing in the Cows top gun and ex-pro Ashan Fonseka with the score at 58-2 after 11.3 overs.
The pair of Kahn 34 (39) and Fonseka 3 (5) were then quickly removed within two balls as Kahn was caught by Swart from the bowling of Livermore before Fonseka, in a rare failure, nicked off to Penguins keeper Van Blerk, again from the bowling of Deuskar.
The flurry of wickets left the Cows at 69-4 after 13.1 overs, providing the Penguins a sniff at victory.
Coming in at five, captain Ninan shouldered the responsibility of leading the Cows to the brink of victory with Mike Thomas 3 (7) and Singh 3 (8) not out playing the supporting roles.
Unfortunately, Ninan 26 (22) was trapped LBW by Deuskar with the scores level before Singh hit the winning run to give the Cows a well-deserved 4-wicket victory with just 4 balls remaining.
Deuskar’s 3-24 off 4 overs and Robertson’s 2-10 off 4 overs were both impressive bowling figures, despite the losing cause.
While the scoring application judged Robertson to be the MVP of the game after his all-round performance, it wasn’t enough to get his team over the line and he will surely be hoping for more from the top order of the batting line-up in the next match this coming Sunday.
- An extra thanks goes to umpire Neil Quail.