It was a game that may well have seen a different outcome but with Penguin batsmen struggling and several dropped catches added into the mix, success was always going to be struggle.
Winning the toss, Cows skipper Joe Ninan determined a slower outfield would better suit chasing, and gave Penguins the opportunity to bat first. Penguins captain, Michael Flowers took on the task, alongside Seemant Raju, to open and push the run rate from the outset.
By the fourth over and the score on 27, Raju’s (8) drive at a short delivery from Guddu found the bat’s bottom edge and deflected low towards the gloves of Jeremy Bootsy, who claimed the contentious catch.
Replacing Raju, James Chattaway would follow his predecessor in finding Bootsy’s gloves, and moments later was joined by his replacement, Justin Swart who top edged his first ball from Bhanu Pratap for the bowler to also claim the catch.
The Penguins’ top four batsmen found themselves spectators by the start of the 11th over when Michael Thomas took the ball and coaxed Flowers into mistiming a shot that found Ninan at long on, with the score on a meagre 60 for 4.
A 30-run partnership from Curt Livermore and Mayur Deuskar during the next five overs offered encouragement, but a stunning reflex catch from Michael Thomas at close range curtailed Livermore’s progression.
Sajal Gaur joined Deuskar to add 40 valuable runs, with the latter claiming his half-century before falling to a Sameer Khan delivery in the 26th over with the score on 156 for 7.
Gaur (23 not out) and Shilash Sharma (6 not out) were able to see out the remaining overs, eventually presenting the Cows with a total of 180 to win from 30 overs.
In response, the Cows opted for a dynamic opening duo of Bootsy and Sami Pir with both taking little time to enter attack mode.
By the 4th over Bootsy had claimed 18 runs before falling to Swart’s trap at backward point, being caught by Deuskar.
With Pir and Paul Evans partnering for 87 runs, a quite unbelievable catch again by Deuskar in the 15th over ended Evans’ innings as he blasted a Livermore delivery only to find Deuskar sprinting along the long on boundary, and somehow managing to hang on to the ball with an outstretched hand.
With the score on 119 for 2, Ninan accompanied Pir for a further five overs, during which Pir (77) claimed his half-century. Gaur was to end Pir’s party in the 20th over as the game edged to its inevitable conclusion, the Cows needing only 19 more runs by the time Ninan departed in 22nd over.
Pratap and Khan finally put the game to rest in the 26th over, with a relatively comfortable win for the Cows.
The game’s MVP went to Pir for his 77, with mentions to Khan for his 2 for 18 off 6 overs.
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