After the Penguins comfortably saw off the Goan Panthers in the morning match thanks in large part to the return of Man of the Match Alex Sechiari, 84 not out, the table-topping KCC held off the hungry Misfits to all-but secure a spot in the finals with two regular-season matches up their sleeve.
KCC won the afternoon toss and elected to bat in hot and humid conditions with a quick outfield.
During an excellent first over of bowling from Misfits strike bowler Pir Sami, the Misfits were left hanging their heads in shame as they put three crucial catches to ground in a hat-trick of mishaps.
Firstly, the usually reliable Stuart Hamilton, who took the catch of the season last week, spilt one at long-off, then, the following ball, Michael Thomas put one down at cover after his Captain Mudasir Rehman sprinted in towards him. Finally, Ali Kahn dropped another at long-on as the many onlookers jeered from the pavilion at the calamity of the moment.
Within those three deliveries, the spirit of the side was broken as they surely felt they could not afford to miss those opportunities against such a formidable opponent as this new look and unbeaten 2020 KCC side.
The opening batsman of KCC made the Misfits pay dearly as they dispatched the ball to all parts of the ACG.
When Arif Mohammed 51 runs (off 27 balls) was bowled by Sameer Kahn on the final ball of the 9th Over, KCC had already amassed a 104-run opening stand.
The assault continued as Captain Imtiyaz Mushtaq 85 (45) regained his form in devastating fashion alongside the tournament’s top run-scorer Zahoor Ahmed 72 (45) not out who played superbly as he carried his bat throughout the innings in the hot conditions.
KCC finished on an impressive score of 235/2 from their allotted 20 Overs as a weary and disappointed Misfits side returned to the clubhouse for much-needed refreshment.
The Misfits lost the early wicket of Hamilton 4 (3) to Ahsan Ahmed in the second over with the score at 19/1 bringing in the returning Kahn 91 (54) to join Jeremy Bootsy 54 (40) in the middle.
The two put on a stunning 145-run partnership led by Kahn who was struck in the head and responded by smashing the ball to all corners of the ACG, actually breaking the ball at one point!
The partnership was aided in large part to a number of spilt chances from KCC who repaid the Misfits for their own generosity in the first innings.
A tiring Kahn was left with new batsman Sameer Kahn 11 (6) after Bootsy fell to the bowling of Asif Ahmed.
Kahn himself then fell to the extreme pace of Waseem Manzoor (4 Overs, 28/1) as he was left exhausted from his performance, which had the audience thoroughly entertained throughout the 74-minute innings.
Sameer Kahn was the final wicket to fall before Rehman 10 (8) not out and Sami 17 (9) not out continued admirably, yet in vain, as the Misfit fell to a 21-run loss.
Penguins outwit Panthers
Earlier in the day, the Penguins defeated the Panthers by 111 runs to keep them in with real hope of a finals berth in two weeks’ time.
KCC Captain Mushtaq was named Man of the Match by the umpire Steve Hackett as KCC moved to four wins from four matches to clearly top the table on 8 points. The Misfits and Penguins are now tied on 4 points with the Panthers still on 0.
The Patong Man of the Match Alex Sechiari, 84 not out, may possibly be available again for next week’s match against the Misfits along with stalwart Jason Robertson who sat out against the Panthers. This Sunday’s afternoon match, a semifinal type scenario, will quite likely determine who will face KCC in the final.
Come down to the ACG for tomorrow’s big game between the Misfits and the Penguins at 2pm.