PHUKET: Fiery old rivalries were reignited on Sunday when Patong CC faced Island CC in the second fixture of the 2014/2015 Senior League season at the Alan Cooke Ground.
In a match that saw the T20 finalists face Patong’s players hoping to exact retribution after their defeat in September, it was the Islanders who claimed victory by a solitary run with two overs to spare.
Wasim Bhatt, Patong’s new pace bowler, combined well with Imtiaz Mushtaq to stifle ICC and have their batsmen reeling at 3 for 21 by the end of the seventh over. Indeed, both Bhatt and Mushtaq finished on almost identical figures of 4-27 and 4-26 respectively from their allotted eight overs.
Desperate for stability, Shah Ullah (45) and Ravi Naik (37) put their heads down and notched up a partnership of 108, but both were lucky that Patong’s fielding was particularly dismal.
With the score on 129, Naik and Ullah both lost their wickets to Patong’s openers, which brought the ever-threatening Pir Sami to the crease. His quickfire 22 off 23 balls helped boost the total to 8 for 163, before Neil Quail wrapped up the ICC innings with two wickets from three balls in the 39th over.
Chasing 168 to win, Captain Seemant Raju and Mushtaq’s start offered promise, but the game was soon thrown into controversy when Sami clean bowled Mushtaq — with the Patong batsman claiming that his concentration was broken by comments made during the bowler’s delivery.
Following a few stern words from umpire John King to several ICC players, the game resumed with Stuart Hamilton (26) going on to support his skipper in a partnership of 70 and taking Patong to a score of 77. ICC captain, Anand Chand removed his Patong counterpart, bringing Paddy Morton (14) to the center.
Hamilton’s resolve ended three runs later, which brought the pairing of Quail (32) and Morton who took the score to 100 when an uncharacteristic loose shot gave an outside edge for wicketkeeper Junaid to breezily send Morton back to the clubhouse.
Justin Swart (8) and Quail hoisted Patong’s tally to 132 before Naik caught Swart in the deep off the bowling of Chand. The same combination combined to then remove Quail 12 runs later.
The partnership of Bhatt (13) and Mike Khan (6) yielded another 16 runs before both succumbed to the bowling of Sami, but with two wickets in hand and only 8 runs to seal victory, ICC’s fate looked comfortable.
Fate, however, had not read the script, and once Anthony Van Blerk brought the score to 166 before lofting a catch to Junaid, Patong’s tail enders offered no resistance and they fell one run short of ICC’s total.
The adage of ‘Catches win Matches’ will certainly be haunting Patong’s post-game deliberations. In total, seven opportunities were put down along with the added disappointment of handing 38 extras to the opposition.
Ravi Naik was awarded Man of the Match by virtue of his batting and fielding performances.
Next Sunday’s game on December 21, will see Village CC take on Laguna CC before the league breaks for Christmas until January 4.
— Neil Quail