Cows Captain Joe Ninan won the toss and elected to bat sending in Jeremy Bootsy and Pir Sami.
Patong openers Seemant Raju and Sajal Gaur (playing on his birthday) managed to restrict the usually attacking pair in the opening overs assisted by a much slower outfield than players have become accustomed to in recent months.
With the score on 51 in the 8th over, first change bowler and Patong’s stand in captain Michael Flowers trapped the in-form Bootsy 13 (21) plum LBW solidifying the good start made by the Penguins.
Batting first drop, former professional Ashan Fonseka came to the crease boasting some excellent recent form with the bat in the Bangkok Premier League.
After a heavy downpour delayed the match and at the halfway point, the Cows had only mustered 66 runs from 10 overs. Fonseka and Pir however put on a 123 run partnership in just over 10 overs before Pir 51 (54) was bowled by James Chattaway.
Chattaway followed that wicket up by dismissing Cows captain Ninan for a golden duck after a juggling effort from Saju Abraham at square leg.
Fonseka managed to dominate strike and continued to blast the ball to all parts of the ground in the final stages of the innings to post a commanding total of 207/3.
Fonseka finished with 112 not out from just 45 balls with four 4s and twelve 6s leaving the Penguins rueing a couple of missed chances in the field allowing Fonseka and the Cows to post a score far higher than the Penguins had hoped for during the rain interruption.
Chattaway (2 overs, 2/22) and Flowers (4 overs, 1/29) were the pick of the Penguin bowlers and the only wicket takers.
Following the change of innings, Captain Flowers promoted the big hitting Paddy Ledeboer to the opening spot. With the required rate over 10 per over right from the get-go the Penguins needed to take advantage of the 6 over power-play. Gaur accustomed to batting with the tail was also promoted for his Birthday!
The opening pair got off to an excellent start before a tiring Ledeboer 34 (19) was caught behind by Bootsy from the express pace of Fonseka with the team score on 72-1 after 7 overs. Gaur 27 (25) was then also dismissed, bowled by Mayur Deuskar.
Shilash Sharma (also promoted up the order) and Chataway came together with Chataway 19 (20) dominating the strike before being bowled by Naresh Joshi in the 13th over with the score on 108-3. Seemant Raju who has found some excellent form in recent weeks came in needing to attack as the Penguins found themselves needing 100 further runs from just 47 balls.
After a 63-run partnership between Shara and Raju, Sharma 29 (24) made the selfless decision to retire to allow Flowers and Seemant to try and hit the big shots required for a very unlikely victory with 43 runs required from the final 3 overs.
Fonseka bowling his 4th and final over managed to restrict the Penguins to just 6 runs in the 18th over and he also managed to run out Raju 33 (16). With just 12 balls remaining, Flowers and Curt Livermore still needed 37 runs.
14 runs came from the penultimate over bowled by Pir, leaving another 23 runs from the final over. 10 runs from the first 2 balls of the final over gave the Penguins hope before Joshi managed to close out the game with the Cows ending up winning by just 6 runs to take a 1-0 series lead. Flowers 26 (12) not out and Livermore 5 (4) not out were left not out and wondering what could have been.
Fonseka (4 overs 1/30) and Deuskar (4 overs 1/34) were the best of the Cows’ bowlers while Fonseka was the clear Man of the Match ahead of several good performances from Penguin players.
Honourable mention must go to Neil Quail who was left battered and bruised after a particularly committed fielding performance which may very well have been the difference between the two sides.
The series will continue this Sunday (May 2) at 1pm at the ACG.