Khun Pao, an excellent player in his own right, was at the heart of all the community outreach and youth cricket development here on Phuket and instrumental in the efforts to bring the beautiful game of cricket to a wider audience. He will be sorely missed and respected by all that knew him. Khun Pao, born on the 25th May 1996, was just 22 years old when he passed. The Phuket Cricket Group held a fundraising match on Saturday (Feb 16) at the ACG Cricket and Sports Facility to raise some funds for the family.
On Sunday (Feb 10), Patong CC took on arch rivals the Kashmir Cricket Club (KCC) in a greatly anticipated clash at the ACG Cricket and Sports facility, in Thalang.
On another cloudless day amid Phuket’s worsening drought, Patong captain Seemant Raju won the toss and elected to bat.
S Raju (1) would open the batting but was soon heading back to the clubhouse as a result of an excellent circus-like juggling act between the bowler Nayeem Khan and eventual catcher Shad Wahid.
Alex Sechiari would join regular opening bat, Michael Flowers and begin to rebuild for Patong. A Sechiari (27) played some lusty blows and looked to be having no troubles dispatching the KCC pace attack until Waseem Ahmed managed to sneak one through the gate and shatter his stumps, which had Patong now sitting precariously at 50 for 2.
C Morgan came to the wicket looking to continue his impressive run of form. However, with one ball remaining before the drinks break, he would lose his batting partner, as Flowers (11) lost concentration and spooned a simple catch to S Wahid off the bowling of B Waqar to end his innings, that never really got started.
Craig Morgan (35) after a splendid inning with some free-flowing shot-making would have one swing too many and be cleaned up by an Iqbal Malik inswinger. Anthony Van Blerk 0), who has not made a net practice since October, would follow straight after as his second duck in a row sees him still run less in 2019 and looking for a spark of form from somewhere, anywhere.
Patong was now reeling at 112 for 5, which would soon become 114 for 6 as Delano Buchner (11) was clean bowled by Imtiyaz Mushtaq. J Robertson and I Bekker knew they needed to push on and get Patong to a defensible score.
I Bekker decided some quick runs were what Patong needed and he laid into the KCC bowlers with some big sixes and sweetly struck boundaries that along with Robertson and the ever-growing free runs from the wide count would move the Patong score to 172 before a bouncer from A Asif would strike J Robertson (21) on his strapless helmet ripping it from his head and onto the stumps for the unlikely dismissal of ‘hit wicket’.
Bekker’s (33) cameo would end in the same over offering a simple caught-and-bowled to A Asif. The Patong tail would add a few more runs and pushed the Patong total to 203 all out. The pick of the KCC bowlers was A Asif with his 3 for 30, with Imtiyaz Mushtaq and Iqbal Malik both picking up a brace. Patong’s highest scorer was the 41 wides bowled by KCC.
KCC have a formidable batting line up and knew if they batted with discipline, they had a good chance of chasing down the 204 required for victory.
M Arif and I Mushtaq got off to a solid start before M Arif (17) was bowled by Shivam with a score on 27. Nayeem Khan joined the chase but only managed four runs in the eight balls he faced before being trapped LBW by A Sechiari. I Mushtaq (23) would follow soon after as he was undone by the extra pace of D Buchner.
KCC with their score at 59 for 3 were in need of someone to dig in and anchor the innings. However, that player would never come, as when Ike Bekker and Michael Thomas combined to get rid of last week’s Player of the Match, Shad Wahid (0), and then Bekker held on to a skyscraper of a catch to dismiss Waseem Ahmed (13) off the bowling of Sechiari, the KCC challenge was blunted.
A Asif would soldier on for 24 and Sajal Gaur contributed a resolute 10. But, by that stage, the game had lost some of its energy amidst the searing midday heat and it was a slow death for KCC as they never challenged the target, while Patong battled to find the final killer blow to end the match. KCC would eventually capitulate for 151 all out.
Stand out performers for Patong were I Bekker 3 for 9, Delano Buchner 3 for 22 and Michael Thomas with two excellent catches and a run-out in his full team debut. Ike Bekker was named Player of the Match for his outstanding contribution with bat and ball, to go along with his near game-ending catch in the field. F T Van Blerk was again adjudged TFC.
– Jason Robertson