Stormy conditions greeted the players for the morning match, with the local derby of Patong White versus Patong Blue due to begin at 10am but driving rains delayed the start until nearly 11am, which in turn diluted the number of overs to be played from 20 down to 15 on a greasy outfield and slippery wicket.
Deputising for the recovering Seemant Raju, Anthony Van Blerk wielded the captain’s armband for the Whites, but on losing the toss to Blue’s captain Alex Runhaar, was forced to concede the advantage of batting first.
Opening for the Blues, Manish Sadarangani (31) and Matthew Kohler set about their task in differing styles, with more controlled stroke-play coming from the former and typical boundary bombarding efforts from the latter.
On 17 from eight deliveries faced and looking comfortable, Kohler attacked a short ball from Jason Robertson, but his flat-bat smash just didn’t have the height to carry over a stretching Prakash Jha at deep long-on, and with that, the loss of Blue’s first wicket on 48 after four overs.
The relatively inexpensive dismissal of the usually potent Kohler brought Manish’s brother Rishi to the middle, and the brothers Sadarangani pushed the score along to 78 in the eighth over, when Van Blerk punished Rishi for straying from his crease in trying to reach a ball from Jha, ending his innings on 19 runs.
Moments later in the same over, Van Blerk’s deft digits again penalised the Blues with another stumping as Ali drifted from safety in chasing yet another deceptive delivery from Jha.
Joining Runhaar, with the score on 83 for three, new batsman Shaad’s cameo ended abruptly with a calling debacle, being run out by Robertson without facing a single delivery.
Going into the last over, Hamilton was given the ball and the left-arm spinner enjoyed a flurry of wickets, first trapping the big–hitting Roshan Jay LBW, then seeing Swart safely snatch up Saju Abraham before Swart again showed his athleticism in diving to catch last-man-standing Runhaar (26) off the very last ball, giving Hamilton figures of three for 12 off just two overs, with Robertson also picking up a trio of Blue’s wickets.
Facing an achievable 140 from their 15 overs, Patong White changed their usual opening line up, bringing Ike Bekker into the firing line alongside Michael Flowers with an evident plan for attack. But their scoring off the bat was curtailed by impressive, if at times wayward, pace from Shaad, who eventually broke the opening partnership with an edge from Flowers finding the gloves of Blues keeper, Rishi in the fourth over and the score on a paltry 30 runs.
Bekker, now joined by Jha and assisted by somewhat errant bowling, elevated the score to 85 in the ninth over before Jha (24) was clean bowled by Manish, shadowed by Bekker in suffering a similar fate at the hands of Shaad soon after.
With Robertson and Hamilton given 33 to win off the last 30 balls, Patong White would have been eyeing the win and four points, but a few lean overs and the combination of the Sadaranganis to stump Hamilton ensured the Blues now held the advantage – despite their inability to hold on to crucial catches at times.
In vain, Robertson (13 not out), accompanied by Van Blerk (19 not out), desperately tried to regain the upper hand, while the Blues tightened their bowling just in time, resulting in 12 runs being required off the last ball for a White victory – a feat possible in this format where a six off the final ball bowled is rewarded with 12 runs!
Unfortunately, Van Blerk’s effort could not offer another twist to the tale, ending the game with a hard-fought 11-run win for Patong Blue.
While the White’s batting may not have been the most productive on this occasion, Patong Blue will certainly need to address a worrying bowling display that cost almost 50 runs in extras.
Sunday’s second matchup saw a buoyant Kashmiri CC take on the Goan Panthers, both with wins from last week’s games.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, it was a day at the office for Kashmiri CC, if that day was a Friday leading into a bank holiday weekend with staff planning an early departure to avoid the traffic.
Batting first, Kashmiri CC opened with the demolition duo of Muhammad Aa'rif and Imtiyaz Mushtaq, both in confident form following last week’s 190 run partnership and Aa’rif’s explosive century.
It was the turn of Imtiyaz to dominate proceedings on this occasion with Aa’rif in a supporting role as his skipper smashed a magnificent 101 not out off 64 balls, including seven 4s and three 6s while Aa’rif steadily made his way to 68 not out, ending Kashmiri’s innings on an impressive total of 196 without loss from their 20 overs.
A batting masterclass from the Kashmiri’s was then followed by a solid bowling performance in restricting the Panthers to 77 off 15 overs, with only Mayur Deuskar (19) and Prem (13) reaching double figures, while extras again featured heavily in providing more than double the combined runs scored by Panther’s other batsmen.
Malik Iqbal starred for Kashmiri CC as his team’s outstanding bowler with figures of three for 19 off his four over spell, while Imtiyaz secured the Man-of-the-Match award for his exploits with the bat.
Next Sunday (Aug 26) features only one C&C Marine league fixture in a catch up game for both Easy Living and Patong Blue. A win for the Blues will see the team join their Patong counterparts at the top of the table, with the top three teams then having played the same number of games (seven), and leaving only one game each to play in the standard league format.
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