The morning game pitted Goa Panthers against Easy Living, with the Panthers comfortably chasing down a score of 119 to take the points.
In the day’s second game, electing to bat first after winning the toss, Patong captain Seemant Raju sent Ike Bekker and Michael Flowers to the crease to face the Kashmiri bowling attack that included Waseem Ahmed – arguably, Phuket’s fastest bowler.
The Kashmiri paceman took only three balls to make an impact on the game and on Bekker’s stumps, sending the South African back to the clubhouse with just three runs on the board, heralding the arrival of Paddy Ledeboer to join Flowers at the crease.
After tentatively seeing off the remainder of Ahmed’s first over, Ledeboer settled into his loping stride to deliver an exciting and unbeaten innings of 96 from just 59 balls, before yielding his wicket to Kashmiri’s captain, Imtiyaz Mushtaq in a valiant attempt to reach the100-run mark in style with only three balls left from the allotted 20 overs.
Despite not reaching his elusive maiden century, Ledeboer’s explosive innings of 11 boundaries (seven 6s and four 4s) paved the way for a highly competitive total, expertly supported by Flowers, whose more conservative strike rate of 41 not out from 49 balls ensured Patong returned a score of 2 for 183.
Kashmiri’s only bowling of note was Ahmed’s spell of four overs in which he took one wicket for 24 runs.
Returning to the crease for their batting innings, Mushtaq and Surender Singh set about the chase requiring just over nine runs per over for victory, but after two overs found themselves well behind on that target.
The experienced Mushtaq sensed the need for urgency and dismissed the deficit to eventually reach a score of 72, while Singh backed his captain’s rally with 21 off 31 balls before chasing a looping delivery from Bekker that allowed wicket-keeper, Anthony Van Blerk the easiest of stumpings on the last ball of the ninth over.
Next into the fray was Ahmed, announcing his intentions with sixes into the lake off Neil Quail’s second and third deliveries, while the run rate moved easily within Kashmiri’s grasp. Unfortunately for Ahmed (13), on the next delivery and in attempting to capitalise on a short ball from Quail, the big hitter found the inside-edge of his bat, with the ball then finding its way onto his wicket. A crucial wicket for Patong just before the 10-over drinks’ break.
Mushtaq, comfortably picking off runs, was joined briefly by Prakash (1) before the new batsman fell to another Bekker-bomb, presenting the ever alert Van Blerk with another stumping. A quick-fire innings of 20 from Prashant Shetgaonkar ended with the ball safely nestling in Raju’s hands, who was followed back to the pavilion soon after by Rakesh (2), unable to make his ground attempting a second run before Van Blerk whipped the bails from the stumps.
With three overs remaining, Kashmiri needed only 18 runs for the win, but fine tactics from Patong’s think-tanks, Raju and Van Blerk restricted scoring leaving Mushtaq and Prashant just six runs to get from the last over in order to secure victory.
Exhibiting true guile and experience, Patong lured Mushtaq into a trap with a slower delivery from Quail enticing the Kashmiri captain to launch for the lake, but his mistimed shot instead found the waiting hands of Van Blerk at long-on. As the last man standing and with one ball to face needing five runs to win, Prashant had to hit a boundary, but his gallant effort was intercepted by Shivam Bhattacharya and Patong began celebrating a win that looked unlikely just three overs earlier.
Man-of-the-Match was awarded by umpire John King to Paddy Ledeboer for his 96, while the pick of Patong’s bowling line-up was certainly Shivam Bhattacharya with one for 16 from his four overs.
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