After winning the toss, Warriors’ skipper Ahsan Ali looked to take early wickets by opting to bowl first on another scorching day at the ACG. It would be the fielding side who felt the heat early, however, as captain Rishi Sadarangani (17) got his side off to a quick start, smashing 4 boundaries inside the first two overs before Muhammad Saif removed the ACC opener in the 3rd over.
Undeterred by the early wicket, Joe Ninan (24) and Manish Sadarangani (51) continued to play their shots freely as the pair racked up a 43-run stand before Shakiel Raja lured the former into one shot too many in the 9th over, Saif taking the catch.
With both openers removed, Manish and Ashan Fonseka (64*) knew their partnership would be key in posting an above par score and the pair didn’t disappoint as they found the boundary with regularity to notch up a 78-run partnership and boost the score to 140-2 after 15 overs.
With only 5 overs remaining and after reaching his half-century, Manish looked to up the scoring only to be beaten by the flight of another Raja delivery as Ahmad Mughal made no mistake with the stumping.
This triggered a mini-collapse as a further 5 wickets fell with no other batter reaching double figures. Fortunately for the the batting side, however, Fonseka was still going strong and the Sri Lankan used all of his experience to maintain the majority of the strike to ensure his side reached an impressive 192/9 from the allotted 20 overs.
Following the interval the run chase began in disastrous fashion as the Warriors saw their skipper Ahsan Ali fall for a golden duck in the first over before Mughal was trapped LBW the following ball, Mayur Deuskar doing the early damage for his side.
The pressure continued to mount as Sajal Gaur’s sharp in-swing proved too good for Yassir (10) in the 6th over before Shivam Sachdeva’s out-swing was Abubakar’s (23) undoing the following over, wicket-keeper Ninan claiming his second catch of the innings. Saif (20) played a handy cameo for his side before he too fell to Sachdeva in the over before drinks with the score reading 69-5.
Post-drinks saw ACC look to assert their dominance further on the game and knew just on or two more wickets would all but seal a victory. Incredibly, however, no further wickets would fall as Raja (47*) anchored the innings from one side whilst Adeeli Ali (66*) pasted the boundary with ease from the other, including a match-clinching four from the final ball of the game to send his teammates and much of the crowd into wild celebrations.
Adeel Ali’s match-winning knock of 66* from 33 balls faced in addition to his 2 wickets earned him a well deserved man of the match whilst Shakiel Raja’s 47* from 41 and 3-30 bowling returns provided a crucial supporting role for his side. Manish Sadarangani and Ashan Fonseka’s half-century milestones were valiant efforts in defeat.
Following the break, and with the crowd thirsty for more nail-biting action, Penguins’ captain Curt Livermore and Kashmiri Cricket Club’s (KCC) Imtiyaz Mushtaq took to the middle to conduct the toss, with the former electing to bat first as the temperatures continued to soar.
The Penguins were looking to post an above par score after succumbing to defeat the previous week and needed more of their experienced campaigners to step up to the plate. The innings would ultimately be about one man, however, as debutant Mikey Atkinson (105) put the bowlers to the sword in notching up his maiden century in Phuket with an incredible knock that included 17 fours and 1 six. Handy cameos from Craig Morgan (20), Jason Robertson (13) and Livermore (20) provided decent support as the Penguins felt confident in defending their total of 186/7 at the half-way stage.
A frantic start to the chase ensued as some sloppy fielding as well as solid ball striking got the KCC openers off to a quick start before Michael Flowers found the breakthrough to remove Zahoor Mutto (22) in the 5th over with the score on 44-1.
Arif Mushtaq (33) looked in good touch and could count himself unlucky when the ball ricocheted off the bowler onto the stumps with the batter caught short of his ground in the 9th.
The game seemed in the balance at the 10 over drinks break with the score reading 93-2 and the batting side still 94 runs short of their target. The game quickly swung in the KCC’s favour, however, as a brutal 93-run stand between Imtuyaz Mushtaq (81*) and Shad Wahid (39) took the game away from the Penguins.
Livermore removed Wahid in the 17th over but the damage had already been done and Mushtaq fittingly hit the winning runs in the following over to secure both a 7-wicket victory for his side and a man of the match award.
This Sunday (Feb 19) sees the Penguins aiming to do the double over Patong rivals Warriors at 10:30am before ACC look to bounce back against KCC in the afternoon. For more information please visit the ACG Facebook page.
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