It was an emotional outing for Patong Blue in playing their final game under the captaincy of Alex Runhaar, who departs Phuket’s tropical shores for the cooler climes of Canada’s West coast this week, but a steely determination to secure one last victory was evident as he accompanied Shad Wahid to open the Blue’s batting innings.
Goa’s opening bowlers proved difficult to get away on the freshly cut outfield, with Arun Viridkar and Prem Salikineni restricting the score to just 42 runs after six overs before two loose overs first by Mayur Deuskar and then from Ravi Naik rushed the Blues to 84 in the ninth over, when Shad (36) relinquished his wicket, clean bowled by Vijay Virdikar as the 10-over break approached.
On resumption, Rishi Sadaranghani joined Runhaar to blast a quick-fire 21 off 12 before Vijay struck again in the 13th over sending Rishi back to the clubhouse with the score on 117.
The arrival of Muhammad Ahmed Virk (Ali) to the crease, however, also heralded a decisive turn in scoring, with a devastating 60 run scored by the new batsman off just 20 deliveries, including seven 6s, before retiring, allowing Manish Sadaranghani to accompany Runhaar for the last over, with the departing skipper carrying his bat to end his last game for Patong by scoring a commendable 67 not out off 57, and helping his team reach a total of 215 off 20 overs.
Chasing an intimidating total, Goa needed to keep in touch with Patong’s run rate and not lose early wickets, with Ravi and Mayur given the opening tasks. And to both strategies they adhered valiantly, reaching the ninth over on the same score as their opponents (84), but having the advantage of not losing any wickets. With both objectives seemingly in hand, Ravi (36) lost focus in the 10th over yielding a catch to the tight bowling of Roshan Jay, bringing a new addition to Panther’s and Phuket cricket in the form of Savio (24) to the middle.
Unfortunately, the Goan batsmen could not continue matching the run rate from that point onward despite a couple of promising overs, eventually finishing on 152, and conceding a 63 run victory for Patong Blue – the win also securing the Blues as league leaders.
In the day’s second match, a new look Patong White faced Easy Living CC, with both teams fielding women for the first time in this competition, but certainly not the last in light of the exemplary performances each put in for their respective teams.
From their usual side, Patong fielded just two of their regular players in blooding five, and Easy Living two, brand new players, and with them a positive signal for the future of the Island’s cricket.
Batting first, Easy Living looked to Anthony DuPont and Paul Evans to build a base, but it took just three balls for Patong’s Jason Robertson to supply the early breakthrough when his rising delivery caught the top edge of DuPont’s bat for the bowler to take a straightforward catch.
The new partnership of Evans and Martin Hill (11) lasted less than two overs before a resurgent Robertson unleashed an unplayable delivery to down all three of Evans’ stumps, inviting Rachna Sharma to begin her maiden ACG innings.
Following the loss of two early wickets and only 10 runs on the board, the two coaches (Hill – football and Sharma – tennis) applied their sports experiences to stave off a further collapse by bringing the score to 50 off 10 overs, before JG De Swardt ended Hill’s efforts with his maiden Phuket wicket and then Adam Drew immediately impacted on the game in taking a brace of wickets in his first over with the ball – the highlight being a superb diving catch by Alicia Niemand to remove Suki, and then a fine grab by stand-in skipper, Anthony Van Blerk, who was nursing a dislocated finger from his time as keeper earlier in the game, to dismiss young Alex DuPont (5), who is exhibiting more confidence as a player with each passing game.
Niemand was also to take her maiden Phuket wicket, bowling consistent leg-spin deliveries, when a flighted ball teased Easy Living captain Tony Donovan into attack, but in mistiming his shot allowed the downward deflected ball to trickle off his foot and onto the stumps, dislodging a bail that was barely noticed by the batsman and attending fielders.
Battling well in bringing the team’s score to 90, Sharma now joined by Delano Buchner – also playing his first cricket match on Phuket – finally lost her wicket in the 16th over unbeaten on 16 runs, leaving Buchner as last man standing. The South African continued to strike the ball well, but his efforts continually found fielders curbing any scoring opportunities until his dismissal in the 17th over and the score on 94.
Patong’s bowling produced a number of positives, with Robertson taking two wickets for two runs off two overs, while Drew claimed three for 12 off three overs.
In reply, consummate batting performances from Patong’s opening pair ensured Easy Living’s total was chased down efficiently, with the only disappointment coming from both De Swardt and Ned Symonds running out of overs before reaching their half-centuries, scoring 42 and 45 not out, respectively and giving Patong an eight-wicket victory.
Having played their league quota of eight games, both Patong teams and Goan Panthers await the concluding league fixture between Kashmiri CC and Easy Living, scheduled to be played on Sunday (Sept 9).
Regardless of the result, Patong Blue finish top, with Patong White in second place, Kashmiri CC in third and Goan Panthers in fourth. As such, the semi-finals will see Patong Blue play Goan Panthers and Patong White against Kashmiri CC on Sept 16 at the ACG, with the grand final and fourth place play-off now brought forward to Sept 23.
Phuket cricket is always looking for new players, sponsors and teams. Please contact us via the Phuket Cricket Group or ACG Facebook pages, or e-mail Jason@acgphket.com for more information.