TNT fielded a strong team, including Neill Culpan (MVP from last season), who made the journey all the way from Kuala Lumpur for the match.
TNT won the toss and followed this season’s trend of setting a target to secure a victory.
They started the innings with a bang as opener Simon Wetherell (27) blasted a salvo of boundaries against the opening pace attack of Laguna.
A show of good captaincy proved once again that cricket is as much a game of brain as it is of brawn.
To counter the threat, Laguna changed up and brought on their slower bowlers to let the batsmen force the pace.
This strategy paid off with Laguna defusing TNT’s top order batsmen as well as slowing down the run rate. Only four boundaries were hit by the remaining TNT batsmen during the rest of the innings.
Laguna did show some signs of pressure when they put down some easy catches, although the damage was limited as none of the fortunate TNT batsmen went on to post a large score.
Laguna’s bowling was very tight which bogged down the TNT batsmen for the rest of their innings, Val Guirard (3 for 36) and Sameer Khan (3 for 35) were the major contributors.
TNT’s batting innings came to close in the 35th over with the score on 166.
TNT would have been quietly confident of defending their modest score by virtue of having taken the wind from the sails of the oppositions batting lineup, tiring them out whilst they were toiling in the field.
It was tit-for-tat in the first 15 overs of the second innings. TNT had taken three wickets whilst Laguna had kept up with the run rate. It was game on, much to the delight of the island’s avid cricket supporters.
However, with an innings that belied his age, Laguna’s Val Guiraud (51) steadied the ship with batting partner Shoeib Mushtaq (32).
Together they put on an unbeaten 81 runs from 85 balls to scuttle TNT’s ambitions of victory. Laguna sailed to victory in the 32nd over, scoring 170 runs for loss of only four wickets.
TNT will have the opportunity to reignite their title ambitions when they face on-song Patong Cricket Club on Sunday, February 10 at the home of Phuket cricket, the ACG.