Many pundits thought this match might see the Laguna side capitulate to a very strong Jabudays lineup, the only side to defeat them during 2012.
The match lived up to expectations, and was decided in the final over when Jabudays were bowled out for 197, just short of the 206 run target set by Laguna.
Laguna elected to bat after winning the toss. But all did not go to plan early on, with Andrew Cole run out in the 2nd over and soon followed by Sameer Khan, caught at deep mid-on in the 4th over.
At two wickets down for only 11 runs, the Laguna side looked in an uncomfortable position. But Bill Stahmer (76) and Stuart Reading steadied the ship against a very accurate Jabudays attack, going back to the clubhouse at the 10 over drinks break with 36 runs on the scoreboard.
They managed to push the run rate along after the break, until their 64 run partnership came to an end when Reading was bowled in the 18th over, with the score on 75.
Stahmer, the league’s oldest player, continued on with gritty determination and a string of handy partnerships, until he was finally dismissed in the 32nd over, with Laguna 9 wickets down for 181 runs.
Jabudays now had their tails up and hoped to bowl out Laguna for less than 200 runs.
However, Darren Shaw and Shah Ullah put on an undefeated last-wicket stand to take the score along to 9 wickets for 205 runs at the end of 35 overs.
The pick of the bowlers for Jabudays were Anand Chand (1 for 8) and Naeem Ul Haq (1 for 30).
Jabudays took to the field after lunch feeling confident they could chase down the Laguna score. But they too suffered an early loss when captain Anand Chand was caught at backward square leg in the 4th over, with only 8 runs on the scoreboard.
Imtiyaz Mushtaq (58) Deepak Mehra (28) took the attack to Laguna, and Jabudays were 1 wicket down for 60 runs at the 10 over drinks break.
Laguna introduced their slower bowlers during the second stanza, which slowed the run rate – but they were in desperate need of a breakthrough.
They eventually broke the 86-run partnership when Meehra was dismissed in the 19th over, with the score on 94 runs.
At the 20 over drinks break, Jabudays were only 2 wickets down for 103 runs and Mushtaq looked in formidable form.
Laguna had to pick up wickets in the third stanza to stem the run flow, and achieved immediate success with a wicket in the 21st over, followed by the scalps of Mushtaq and Ali Khan in the 22nd.
S Nawez (33) and Surender Kumar then put on a 37 run partnership, until Kumar was dismissed with a sharp catch by Stuart Reading at backward point, with the score on 143 in the 27th over.
Val Guiraud then claimed the scalp of Nawez in the 29th over and was on a hat-trick after bowling Balesh Desai for a golden duck.
At 8 wickets down for 164 at the 30-over mark, and with 42 runs to claim victory from 30 balls, it was anyone’s game.
Vikram Sharma and Paresh Bokari put on a 35 run partnership to take the score within reach of the target, until a match winning run-out by Shoeib Mushtaq from deep mid-wicket with the score on 191 in the 33rd over.
With 15 runs required from 12 balls, the balance had tilted towards Laguna.
But the outcome was still not certain until Jabudays were bowled out in the final over for 197 runs, just 9 short of their target.
The pick of the bowlers for Laguna were Val Guiraud (3 for 44), Sami Ullha (3 for 48) and Shoeib Mushtaq (2 for 21).
The results leaves Patong on the top of the JLL Hotels Cricket League table at the completion of the round 1 games, edging out Laguna who are just 1 point behind.
This Sunday Village CC will take on Thanyapura News Tigers (TNT) at the ACG, with both sides looking for a morale-boosting victory.