Robertson sent out the previous week’s successful opening partnership of Michael Flowers and Anthony Van Blerk and the pair began where they left off, taking sharp singles and putting away the odd offline delivery from the Asia opening bowlers Sami Pir and Ashan Fonseka.
Just when it seemed the pair were set to put a significant partnership together Flowers 9 (12) was adjudged LBW from the bowling of Pir, the opening wicket falling in the 5th over with the score on 33-1.
Michael Rhys Thomas 8 (13) now accustomed to batting at #3 for RoW was the next wicket to fall as RoW slumped to 47-2 after 8.2 overs with Pir involved again, this time taking a catch from the bowling of game 3’s ‘Man of the Match’ Mayur Deuskar.
Van Blerk 41 (36), who has found some much wanted form at the top of the order, slashed at a wide delivery in the 9th over and was sent back to the clubhouse caught behind by Manish Sadarangani from the bowling of the young up-and-coming Shivam Sachdeva.
The hard hitting #4, Paddy Ledeboer 10 (9) who was starved of the strike in the early stages of his innings suddenly found himself stuck at one end facing the extreme pace of Fonseka. After a ripping delivery beat both the batsman and the keeper for 4 byes, Fonseka got another through Ledeboer yet again but this time found the poles to leave RoW in some trouble at 4-117 after 14.4 overs.
Robertson 27 (22), who had been playing very well, suddenly then found himself heading back to the pavilion in the very next over, Ahsan Ali this time getting through, clean bowling the RoW captain.
Phuket Cricket’s new sponsor, Hugo Hub had a few friends on hand to support their DJ, Aiden Wood in the clubhouse and were pleasantly surprised as he immediately got off the mark with a well-played shot for 4.
After copping a quick, short ball from Fonseka just below the ribs in the following over, Wood 10 (13) missed a full straight one in Fonseka’s subsequent over, RoW falling further to 6-147 in the 19th over.
With 68 balls of the innings still to face and unfortunately short-handed due a couple of late cancellations, the reliable Curt Livermore 28* (31) came to the crease as the final wicket of the RoW innings.
Joining Rishi Sadarangani 45 (36), the pair played superbly in balancing defense with attack while attempting to conserve energy in the sweltering conditions. With the score on 221 in the penultimate over, R. Sadarangani attempting to finish with a flurry skied a Deuskar delivery into the waiting hands of A. Ali to end the innings.
Fonseka, 6 overs 2-36 was the pick of the bowlers for the Asia side.
‘Looking for the fences’
The 75-run partnership gave RoW momentum and a chance of victory although they still had a proverbial mountain to climb with limited resources on hand.
Manish Sadarangani and Sachdeva opened the innings and RoW were immediately in business with Robertson finding the edge through to wicket keeper Van Blerk in the very first over.
Fonseka joined Sadarangani in the middle and the pair played very well with Fonseka looking for the fences and Sadarangani rotating strike and finding the gaps with precision. A costly chance from Fonseka was put down in the 6th over from the bowling of Flowers and it seemed as if the game had slipped away.
RoW woes were compounded when Wood went down with an ankle injury and was carried from the ground in the 6th over. ROW players began to feel the game was effectively over as they were then forced to battle the heat and chase leather for what seemed like the rest of the afternoon, merely completing the formalities of the Asia victory.
Man of the match Manish Sadaragani 98* (73) played a superb innings, batting all the way through to the conclusion of the match, only giving one chance in the final over of the innings while Fonseka 66 (33) and Asia Captain Seemant Raju 21 (24) also played important roles in the run chase.
Ali Kahn 8 (4) also made a return to Phuket Cricket although he was missing the now damaged bat that had previously unleashed so much destruction to the surrounding parts of the neighborhood and so many Phuket bowlers’ hearts. Despite the game being out of reach, slow bowler R. Sadarangani took much joy in bowling Kahn and taking his prized wicket.
Asia completed the victory by 6 wickets with 7.2 overs to spare dishing out punishment to all of the RoW bowlers and after being handed a heavy defeat in Game 3 will be quietly confident of victory in the upcoming Game 5 decider.
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