In the early game last Sunday (Feb 2), the luckless Panthers took on unbeaten KCC. On winning the toss, Captain Deuskar Mayur decided to bat against what looked on paper like a weakened KCC team.
After two early wickets, the ever-reliable Mayur 41 runs (off 36 balls) and Balesh 44 (37) proceeded to build towards a reasonable score and with the help latterly off newcomer Sam 20 (15) and Ravi Naik 11 (8) the Panthers posted their highest team score of the tournament, 175/7 off their 20 overs. Arif Mushtaq, with 3/44, was the pick of the KCC bowlers.
In reply, KCC lost two early wickets in the run chase, bringing together at the crease the reliable Wahid Shad 39 (29) not out and the previously unused Waseem Mansoor 98 (53) not out.
They built the innings smoothly, going through the gears with Waseem in particular striking a brutal 11 fours and 5 sixes in his superb 98 not out, and saw their team home with no further loss and 8 balls to spare. Captain Mayur was again the pick of the bowlers with 0/21 off his 4 overs, aided by Sam 0/23, who bowled some excellent leg-spin.
The “Man of the Match” was awarded to Waseem Mansoor for his excellent knock of 98 not out.
The afternoon match was the highly anticipated meeting of the Misfits and Penguins, both looking for that crucial win in the hot Thalang sun to take either team to the verge of a Final place.
Misfits Captain Mudasir Rehman won the toss and elected to bat. The innings could not have started better for the Misfits and at the drink’s interval (9.5 overs), they stood at 119/1 having lost Hamilton 38 (26) to the penultimate ball before the break.
There was obviously a constructive dressing room discussion during the interval as the Penguins came out a different team, picking up the wickets of the impressive Jeremy Bootsy, 73 (39) and Manish 33 (20) in the space of 7 overs, conceding only 50 odd runs in the process and applying the brakes to what at one stage looked to be a potential score well in excess of 200.
Ultimately the Misfits recorded an impressive total of 200/7 off their allocation of 20 overs. The usual duo of Robertson 0/33 and Buchner 2/42, aided by a cameo from Michael Flowers of 2/20, being the pick of the Penguins bowlers.
Chasing a total of over 200 in 20 overs, the Penguins needed someone to stand up and score big runs. However, after losing Flowers and Captain Raju early, talisman Craig Morgan 81 (43) once again tried to haul the Penguins back into a game that looked to be slipping away.
A stunning catch on the boundary edge by Dan Nicholson to dismiss Robertson brought Anthony van der Blerk 31 (28) not out to the crease to join his fellow “Saffa” Morgan, determined to bring home the points for the Penguins.
However, Captain Mudasir Rehman made a stunning caught and bowled to dismiss Morgan and extinguish any lingering hopes that the Penguins had of winning.
A great all-round team performance by the Misfits, proving the old cricket adage that “catches win matches” rang true, with some accomplished fielding and bowling.
“Captain Mudi” finished with tournament best figures of 4/21, aided by the dogged Pir Sami 2/28, which saw the Misfits home by a margin of 33 runs.
The “Man of the Match” award went to Mudasir Rehman with 4/21 and 16 not out.