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Fonseka fails to fry Pancake in classic heavyweight dual

Fonseka fails to fry Pancake in classic heavyweight dual

CRICKET: Last Sunday (May 22) saw another incredible game go down to the wire at the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG) in Thalang as Patong Penguins got over the line on the final ball of the match to level the T25 series (2-2) against arch rivals the Thalang Cows.

By Curt Livermore

Saturday 28 May 2022, 09:30AM

In truth however, the game became a head-to-head contest for the most part, as both teams’ star players Craig ‘Pancake’ Morgan (Penguins) and Ashan Fonseka (Cows) both put in exceptional performances with the bat which lead to a mammoth 550 runs (including 34 sixes) being scored during the days play.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Cows’ captain Joe Ninan sent Fonseka and Sameer Khan to the crease.

It was the bowling side who struck first however, as Penguins skipper Jason Robertson removed Khan for a golden duck with a perfect bail clipper with just the third ball of the match.

The game would take a crucial turn a couple overs later as Fonskea got given a lifeline when dropped on the long-on boundary. Together with his captain Ninan (30), the pair wasted little time in punishing the mistake as they combined for a 99 run-stand before Samarth found Ninan’s edge in the 11th over.

Mayur Deuskar (18) was next to provide the supporting role as he and Fonseka piled more misery onto the fielding side with a 114-run partnership before the former was removed by Robertson in the 20th over, Saju Abraham taking a sharp catch at leg gully.

Three overs later and with the score already reading 250-3, the Penguins finally got their man as Manish trapped Fonseka (163) LBW before Michael Flowers (35) both batted and ran well to boost the final score to a daunting 274-5.

Dangerous ‘Pancake’

HeadStart International School Phuket

Following the innings break and facing the up-hill task of an 11 required run-rate chase, Penguins went with the aggressive combination of Paddy Ledeboer and Seemant Raju. Unfortunately for the batting side however, Raju was cleaned up by Flowers in the second over before Fonseka went full and fast to remove Ledeboer for a briskly made 21.

Rishi Sadarangani (13) was next to go when caught by Khan of the bowling of Raja Shakeel to leave the batting side just behind the rate at 50-3 after the first 5 overs.

Although happy with the early wickets, the Cows will have felt a little nervous as they brought danger-man Morgan to the crease. Together with Manish, the pair looked to steady the ship whilst keeping in touch with the required rate. After an explosive 27 run-over, Abu Bakar took a smart stumping chance off the bowling of Khan to remove Manish (24), leaving the Penguins 145/4 at the drinks break, 20 runs short of where their opponents were at the same stage.

Post drinks saw two huge back-to-back overs for the batting side as Morgan (148) pounced on some loose bowling to get his side ahead of the required rate for the first time in the innings before finally finding Khan in the deep in the 23rd over, Jagsir Brar picking up the all-important scalp for his side. An excellent penultimate over from Fonseka which included the wickets of Livermore (2) and Aneeq Islam (14) ensured a thrilling finish as the Penguins required 14 to win from the final Deuskar over with captain Robertson now at the crease.

Following a six, a run out and at times some comical fielding from the first five balls of the over, just one run was required to win from the final ball. Looking to win in style, Robertson (9*) failed to connect, however Flowers (who had taken over wicket keeping duties after the drinks break) was wearing just one glove and let the ball slip from his grasp allowing Bollywood star Sajal Gaur to charge through to the strikers end to complete the bye that sealed the most unlikely 2-wicket victory as the rest of the Penguins poured onto the field in jubilant celebration.

Fonseka’s performance of 163 from 75 balls and 3-23 bowling returns would be more than enough to secure man of the match in any ordinary game. Unfortunately for the Sri Lankan he was just edged out by Morgan’s ridiculous match winning knock of 148 from 67 balls faced which included 15 maximums to help his side chase down the huge total.

Another performance of note included youngster Aneeq Islam who stood up well to take on the majority of the strike against some fierce Fonseka’s bowling.

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