After winning the toss, the touring Panthers led by captain Merv elected to field first with Phuket captain Curt Livermore sending in the experienced opening pair of James Chataway and Anthony Van Blerk.
Captain Merv and Satchi, the oldest member and coach of the Panthers side, got the touring team off to an excellent start finding significant lateral movement with the new ball.
Merv was able to dismiss both Chataway 4 (5), bowled, and Van Blerk 11 (19), run out, to set the Phuket XI back at 2-22 after 4.4 overs.
Following the dismissals of the openers, Joe Ninan and Craig Morgan formed a dominant partnership of 81 runs in quick time to boost Phuket’s score to 103 before Krishna snuck through Ninan’s 43 (29) defences in the 12th over.
Morgan 32 (17), lost his wicket with just 1 further run added when Ganesh held on in the deep again from the bowling of Krishna.
Rishi Sadarangani 0 (3) who was ‘not at the races’ all day long came in at number six to join the newly arrived Ashan Fonseka but lasted just 3 deliveries as he was bowled by Dumin.
With 3 wickets falling in 8 balls for just 2 runs, Phuket needed their captain Livermore to support Fonseka 35* (22) and guide Phuket to a challenging first innings total.
Livermore 43* (25) did more than just support Fonseka (and his desire for different bats), however, as he flexed his newly acquired power game, producing his most destructive innings to date which included two sixes over the bowler’s head to arouse the excitement of the onlookers in the clubhouse.
The Phuket XI finished with an above par score of 188 and were a happy bunch at the interval.
Krishna was the best of the Kajang bowlers with figures of 2/33 from 4 overs.
In a hole
Following the innings break, Phuket openers Jagsir Brar and Seemant Raju made quick in-roads, each picking up a wicket in their first over.
Opening batsman Sheikh 0 (3) and number three Ganesh 0 (2) were both caught to leave the Panthers in a hole with just 4 runs on the board in the second over, Stuart Hamilton and Sadarangani respectively taking the catches.
Merv joined Divian at number four as the two tried to weather the storm from the opening bowlers but when Merv 7 (19) was contentiously adjudged LBW from the bowling of Raju with the score at just 3-21 after 5.4 overs, the target of 188 appeared out of reach.
The match then proceeded to evolve into an increasingly jovial affair with the odd ‘refreshment’ finding its way onto the field of play as the match continued.
Divian 37 (42), Pravin 15 (20), Prakash 14 (15), Dumin 11* (10) and Kumaraendran 10* (8) added respectability to the scorecard as the Panthers eventually fell 67 runs short of the target finishing at 121/7 from their 20 overs.
Raju, Phuket’s 2021/22 leading wicket taker, was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/10 from 4 overs.
Following the match, the teams shared kind words and a few gifts as cricket was declared the winner.
Phuket captain Livermore was interestingly named “Match of the Man”, Divian was honored for his efforts with the bat and Sheikh was showered with adulation for his efforts and performance as the oldest player of the twenty something strong touring party.
The Panthers very generously donated many drinks and food to the evening and even covered the ground rental fees for what seemed to be a very enjoyable day out for all involved as Phuket Cricket made a successful and much anticipated return to the ACG.
A special mention to Michael Bell who made his debut for Phuket and picked up his first wicket in the process.
There will be a local friendly match this Sunday (Sept 25). If you would like to get involved, please contact Phuket Cricket on Facebook.