Sitting on 20 points, and five wins from five games going into last Sunday’s fixture, Patong White have all but secured their final’s berth, while Kashmiri CC in third place on 10 points knew a victory was essential for a Grand Final place beckoning on October 5.
Boundaries galore featured in this scintillating encounter as Kashmiri CC took the early advantage by winning the toss and electing to bat first, sending their skipper Imtiyaz Mushtaq and Arif Mushtaq out to open the innings.
Both batsmen hit the ground running, with Arif crashing his first of 14 boundaries off Shivam Bhattacharya’s opening delivery, and continued an assured performance with eight 4s and six 6s on his way to an almost flawless century, reaching his ton off the inning’s very last ball.
Treating Patong’s bowlers with utter malice, the batting exhibition from Kashmiri’s openers powered their team’s score to 190 off 17 overs, with Imtiyaz also knocking on the century door before a solid catch by Jason Robertson at deep mid-on off Prakash Jha’s bowling, ended the captain’s efforts on 71.
Eventually, with support from Waseem Ahmad (15 not out), Arif reached his 100 with a single off the last delivery, boosting the total to an intimidating 211 for 1 off their 20 overs.
Targeting a little more than 10 per over for victory, Patong’s opening pair of Michael Flowers and Stuart Hamilton (13) were tracking well until Hamilton’s dismissal in the third over off a Malik Iqbal delivery, bringing the dynamic Jha to join Flowers at the crease.
Needing to raise the tempo and score, Jha’s first two strikes found boundaries, with four more, including three sixes encouraging a hopeful outcome for Patong.
Denting that hope with some excitement in the seventh over, Arif held on to a catch off Prashant’s bowling to send Jha (35) back to the clubhouse, inviting Anthony Van Blerk to the middle.
Keeping in touch with the required run rate, Flowers and Van Blerk reached the 10-over break on a score of 94, and after resuming play, both stretched the score to 149 in the 16th over when a wilting Flowers succumbed to the pace of Ahmad, unfortunately missing out on his maiden half-century by a single run, but a fine innings nonetheless in keeping his side optimistic of challenging the Kashmiri’s score.
Requiring 63 runs off four overs for the win, a tiring Van Blerk and captain Seemant Raju were unable to achieve the necessary run rate, adding just 24 more runs before concluding their 20 overs.
Man-of-the Match was undoubtedly Arif Mushtaq for his exciting century, while Ahmad returned his team’s best bowling figures with one for 31 off his four over spell.
A fairly emphatic 38 run victory for Kashmiri CC now lifts them into second place on 14 points above Patong Blue (12 points) with two games remaining.
The day’s second fixture was played between the Goan Panthers (4th) and Easy Living Phuket (5th).
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first, the Panthers regular openers Ravi Naik (31) and Balesh Dessai (37) made a solid start putting on an opening stand of 82. Young debutante bowler Eddie Chattaway made the first break-through just before the drinks break and the Panthers then began to lose regular wickets. Arun Virdiker (19) and particularly Vejay Salikineni (42 not out), who made his last 20 runs as last-man-standing, did well to lift the Panthers to a commendable final total of 204 for seven from 20 overs. The young Chattaway was notably the pick of the bowlers with figures of two for 39, while Tony Donovan also picked up two wickets from his three overs.
In reply, Paul Judge and his opening partner Alastair Lawson began well against the skillful new-ball bowlers, Virdiker and Premkumar Salikineni before Virdiker bowled Lawson for eight, with Easy Living’s score on 20. Judge fought on well despite losing partners frequently and was given some assistance from Donovan (16) in a partnership of 29 for the fifth Wicket. Unfortunately, Judge (21) was involved in a huge mix up resulting in a simple run out for the Panthers. Donovan also fell to the same fate after a good piece of work at long-on from Salikineni.
That left Easy Living’s other young debutante Don Judge (5) as the last-man-standing, the young lad batting well in a 14-ball innings before falling to Mayur Deuskar. In the end, Easy Living were bowled out for 90, with class spin bowling Salikineni backing up his batting performance, returning excellent figures of two for 17 to pick up Man-of-the-Match honours.
Additional reporting by Michael Flowers.
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