Cows’ captain Joe Ninan won the toss and sent in the returning power hitter Ali Kahn to open the batting alongside Mike Thomas.
Kahn, who has been off the island and not played in months, fired an early warning shot with the very first ball of the match, depositing Seement Raju over the square leg boundary for six. Fortunately for the Penguins however, Kahns’ 25 (10) explosive innings was cut short in the 3rd over as Raju had the last laugh, Kahn edging through to wicketkeeper Michael Flowers, a new recruit for the Cows but playing with his former team to balance numbers on this occasion.
Guddu Yadav was given a rare opportunity batting at number 3 for the Cows as he joined Thomas with the score at 31-1.
Thomas 7 (11) was the next batsman to go, stumped by Flowers after Manish Sadarangani tempted the batsman down the track in the 5th over, leaving the score on 2-43.
Bhanu Singh joined Yadav and the pair combined for 34 runs when Sadarangani got involved in the action yet again, this time throwing down the stumps from mid-on to dismiss Yadav 18 (23), run out.
The in-form Sameer Kahn joined the action at 74-3 in the 10th over and immediately looked to take on the Penguin bowling and push the Cows towards a competitive total.
Singh 23 (22) was dismissed in the 12th over after another quality piece of fielding from Sadarangani who took a fine catch off the bowling of stand-in captain Curt Livermore with the score 87-4 after 11.3 overs.
Captain Ninan was the next man in with the innings poised precariously with just two further wickets in hand.
Sameer, with the support of Ninan 12 (13), pushed the score to 112 when Sadarangani and Livermore combined again to dismiss the captain.
The last batsman in for the Cows was power hitter Sami Pir with he and Sameer still needing to bat out the best part of 5 overs.
Sameer managed to keep the majority of the strike in the final overs, lifting the Cows to a decent total before Imtiyaz Mushtaq ripped out Pir’s leg stump to bowl the Cows all out for 145 after 19.1 overs.
An excellent batting performance yet again from Sameer as he posted 38 not out from 27 deliveries.
Penguin captain Livermore was the stand out bowler for the Penguins posting figures of 2/27 off four overs.
The feeling at the break was that 145 was slightly under par with so many gaps in the field although the batting conditions were difficult with the red ball and slow outfield.
Livermore sent in Raju and Shilash Sharma to begin the run chase, and both found themselves back in the clubhouse without particularly troubling Paddy Ledeboer in the scoring box.
Sharma 3 (6) was the first to go, caught by Singh who made good ground from mid-off to mid-on from the bowling of Sameer. The Penguins stood at 10-1 after 2 overs.
Singh was again involved in dismissing the other opener Raju 7 (15) as he got a straight one through to disturb the stumps. The Penguins off to a poor start at 16-2 after 4.2 overs.
The responsibility of building the innings then fell onto Mushtaq and Sadarangani who looked to hit the gaps. The talented Sadarangani 5 (6) was left disappointed when Singh picked up another wicket as he again knocked the stumps over to leave the Penguins in further trouble at 26-3 after 6.1 overs.
Mushtaq 12 (13) found himself out of his ground when Flowers hit one sharply to mid off where Singh got involved again, quickly firing the ball back to the bowler Ali Kahn to affect the runout.
The Penguins were left at 40-4 after 8.2 overs and in real trouble when Livermore joined Flowers. The plan was to make it to the 10 over drinks break to reassess but on the final ball before drinks a mid-pitch mix-up between the pair left Flowers stranded short of his ground as Pir and Ali Kahn combined to effectively end the Penguins winning chances with the score at 49-5 after 10 overs, still 97 runs short of the target and with only one wicket in hand.
Saju Abraham 20* (35) joined the impressive Livermore 45* (30) as the pair combined for an unbeaten partnership of 73 runs to add some respectability to the final outcome, although it could not prevent the Cows coming out victorious by 23 runs.
Singh was the pick of the bowlers returning figures of 2-23 from his 4 allotted overs and was also announced as the man of the match as players and friends enjoyed his delicious curry in the ACG clubhouse!
Honourable mentions to both Sameer Kahn and Curt Livermore who also had excellent matches with both bat and ball.
The Cows and Penguins will begin a T25, five-game series at the ACG this Sunday (July 25) with the action scheduled to begin at midday.
(* not out)