After winning the toss in the weekends curtain raiser, PCG captain Michael Flowers entrusted James Chataway and for some reason Curt Livermore with building a solid foundation with the bat first up. It would be the visitors who had the better of early exchanges, however, as some good early pressure resulted in a breakthrough as Faisal had Livermore trapped LBW for a nonsensical 5 in just the 3rd over.
Chataway (9) fought well to build a 30-run partnership with his captain over the following 5 overs before the opener, perhaps concentrating on not following through, could only cloth one to Warriors captain Hani Khan well inside the ring as boyband enthusiast Zain Malik claimed his first wicket of the match. This brought about a middle order collapse as Flowers (17), fresh from his exploits in Bangkok, top edged one into the leg side for a simple catch a mere three balls later.
The batting side wouldn’t have been panicking just yet as the ever-dangerous Ashan Fonseka strode out to the crease. Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan’s innings lasted just two balls as Malik sent Fonsekas’ middle stump back in one direction to claim a well-deserved second scalp, the home side stumbling at 55-4 at the 10 over mark.
A further 16 runs were added over the following 3 overs before wickets began to tumble once more as Jagsir Brar (12) could only sky one into the infield for a simple catch when looking to up the tempo, Hani Khan claiming his first wicket. Debutant Toby Gilbey (3) was the next to go two balls later, the youngster undone by a top of off stump peach bowled by Zakir Khan before Asif Khan wrapped Abu Bakar (1) plumb in front to leave the hosts reeling at 80-7 with half of the innings remaining.
The paceman delivers
Post drinks-break saw wine connoisseur Stuart Hamilton (24) and K-pop fan Sajal Gaur (18*) combine for an unlikely yet much needed partnership before Asif removed the former with the final ball of the 24th over. A further two Faisal wickets cleaned up the tail as firstly Sami Pir (2) decided to take up javelin in the process of being bowled, before ‘FF’ Saju Abraham (1) became the final PCG wicket to fall. The home side posting a well below par 137 all out after 26 overs.
Following a disappointing showing with the bat, PCG looked to opening bowler Fonseka to make early inroads and the paceman didn’t disappoint. Well backed up from the other end by left-arm quick Gibley, Fonseka produced a devastating spell to rip through the Warriors’ top order, picking up a 5-fer (including 4 bowled) inside 7 overs and incredibly only conceding two runs.
Any hopes of things becoming easier for the away side after the two opening bowlers took a well- earned rest were quickly quashed as Jagsir and Saju Abraham formed an equally effective bowing partnership. Whilst Jagsir dried up the runs at one end Abraham ensued the wickets kept tumbling at the other as the PCG side wrapped up the innings within 20 overs to claim a convincing 57 run win.
Man of the match went to Fonseka for his brutal opening spell of 5-18 from 4 overs which all but clinched victory whilst Abraham’s 4-16 from his 4 overs sealed the win.
Faisal Khan’s performance of 3-25 from 5 overs stood out in a losing cause amongst a solid bowling performance, although the Hat Yai outfit will have been disappointed with the 45 extras conceded which proved costly in the end.
The players were back out in the middle the following day as the newly arrived Elite Club, comprised of old school friends who currently reside all over the globe took on the Warriors in the opening match of the T10 tri-series.
The Warriors quickly put the disappointments of the previous day behind them as they notched up a solid first score of 113/3 inside their allotted 10 overs with Mushtaq doing the bulk of the heavy lifting with an excellent 58 from 33 balls, whilst Sadam Husain (15 from 5) dictated play nicely at the backend.
Unfortunately for the Warriors the score would prove to be sub-par from the beggining of the chase as Penguin loanee Craig Morgan and Elite Club opener Ammu shared a brutal 56 run opening stand in just 3 overs which included 9 boundaries between the pair. There was some hope when Hani Khan removed Morgan for 28 although it would be short lived as Ammu (66*) continued to score at will to clinch his side a 6-wicket victory with 10 balls to spare.
The Warriors would remain on the field for what was now a must win game against the Patong Penguins. Hani Khan picked up the wicket of Seemant Raju (2) before regular openers Anthony Van Blerk (34 from 27) and an Imodium filled Chataway (30 from 18) built a solid platform before Manish Sadarangani (31 from 10) exploded at the back end to boost the final total to 111/4.
An excellent bowling display from Jason Robertson (1-6) and Guar (2-7), backed up by a solid performance in the field, ensured a routine 30-run win to set up a final birth against the Elite Club.
After electing to bat first The Elite Club will have hoped the openers repeated their earlier success. Unfortunately, the visitors couldn’t have made a worse start as Morgan was dismissed by Robertson in his first ball faced.
However, the in-form Ammu managed to score 35 from 17 balls faced before Manish took a stunning boundary catch to remove the opener off the bowling of Ike Bekker who marked his return to the ACG with a match defining 3-13 from 2 overs. Decent contributions from VC and Super at the end ensured their side posted a defendable, albeit below par 91/6.
In response the Penguins openers went hard before Flowers (7 from 5) edged behind early. Robertson kept up the pressure on the fielding side with a destructive 29 from 15 before a Mayur Dueskar spell of 3-9 from 2 overs gave his side a fighting chance. However, decent cameos from Manish (11 from 6), Livermore (15 from 10) and Gibley (8 from 5) ensured the game and trophy was all but won before returning Penguin Rhys-Thomas struck the winning runs with 5 balls to spare.
Player of the series went to A mmu for his combined score of 101 from 44 balls faced which included 7 maximums whilst Saju Abraham’s bag of 7 wickets was the standout performance over the course of the weekend.
Everyone involved with Phuket cricket would like to thank both the Pakistan Warriors and The Elite Club for an excellent two days in which cricket was the overall winner and we look forward to welcoming both sides back to the ACG in the near future.