CRICKET: The ACG hosted the final games of 2021 last week as the Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) team faced Pakistan’s Hat Yai Academy in a 30-man double-face.
The host entered the competition with confidence after winning the previous year’s three-game series 2-1, though it was the visitors who struck first in the opening game on Tuesday, December 28 with an impressive victory of 31 points in front of the local team, supported by the addition of new players, the honors were shared the next day with a victory of 2 wickets.
With a strong bowling team at his disposal, PCG captain Curt Livermore chose to go first after winning the toss. After a few loose bowling openings, Tourists would have been the happier of the two teams before Waseem Mir found his lineup to cut visitors down to 40/1 after 5 overs.
The next 10 overs saw PCG use their quality offense. As Sami Pir started a tight spell to dry out the lanes at one end, his bowling partner Dom Judge capitalized on the pressure by scooping up 3 wickets in an excellent first spell as the score was 91/4 on 15 breaks around. of a glass.
An acceleration of the pace was applied following the aperitif to try to dismiss the captain of the tourist Asif Butt (63) who was quietly building a good race. As the bowling of spin duo Livermore and Simon Wetherell made sure the run rate stayed under control and the wickets continued to drop, the hosts had to wait for the final delivery of the innings to get their man while Livermore held a hold. long- off to remove his counterpart from the bowling alley of Sajal Gaur. Visitors posting 192-all out.
Chasing a healthy but achievable 193 for a win, forerunners Guddu Manoj and Stuart Hamilton seemed to take the advantage early. Unfortunately for the pair, however, they were soon back in the hangar for just 2 runs per piece as visitors demonstrated their class early in the bowling and fielding departments.
Michael Rhys Thomas (10) and Michael Flowers (37) combined for some stubborn resistance before the former was beaten in the 11e on. Wetherell (0) was next to go similarly, defeating just four balls later thanks to a clever change from remarkable player Saajidh. Host wobbles at 59/4 by the end of the 12e.
Demanding a much needed partnership to bring the home team back into the competition, Andrew McMillan (39) joined Flowers at the crease and the pair began rebuilding innings with minimal risk by capitalizing on their speed and understanding to run. between the counters. . The pair looked good to see their team at home ahead of a timely wicket from Asif Khan in the 21st sparked a batting meltdown in which 6 wickets fell for just 33 points, seeing the away team take a 1-0 lead.
Asif Butt’s captains hit 63 of 62 balls to earn him a Clear Man of the Game as he was backed by his pitchers, especially paceman Muhammed Bilal, who posted a 2-14 of 4.4 return .
Other notable performances included Hani Kahn’s 3-36 from 6 overs as well as Asif Kahn’s 3-32 from 5 as the youngster Dom Judge made a good comeback in Phuket cricket with a solid display of 3-34 from 6 overs in a losing cause.
With little time to heal their wounds, the PCG team returned to the ground in the morning in an attempt to save a draw as Pakistan Academy appeared to end the year strong with a 2-0 victory.
This time it was Butt who won the draw with the Pakistan Academy skipper choosing to try and repeat the performance of the previous days by choosing to strike first.
On this occasion, PCG improved a lot from the start as Mir’s tight opening allowed Seemant Raju to take advantage of the early pressure into the straight with a good grip and bowling. Mir would also be rewarded for his perseverance in the 9e finished, joining Rhys-Thomas at the ravine for a well-taken hold before Flowers also rejoined his next namesake, leaving the visitors to struggle to 69/4 at the 10 mark.
After Flowers won their second match, trapping Azeem Butt (27) LBW in the 14e finished, it would fall on the skipper Asif Butt (18 years old). The batsman looked good to repeat his exploits from the first game before Paddy Ledeboer made a smart take in the middle of the wicket at Livermore’s bowling alley, leaving Tourists 123/5 after 22 overs.
The next 6 overs would see the remaining 5 wickets drop for an addition of 51 points as the Tourists’ rounds ended once again, this time in the penultimate.
Reinforced by a few big players in the middle order, the hosts would have hoped to reach the goal of 181 points. However, it seemed to be a case of dÃ©jÃ vu as PCG drummers Anthony Van Blerk (9) and Rhys-Thomas (2), perhaps channeling their inner English, both fell cheap, leaving the home team in a precarious position at 10 on scoring with the score reading 39/2.
Opener Raju (41) was joined by Ledeboer (30) at the crease and the pair immediately sought to aggressively rebuild themselves with the duo crushing 6 limits before the latter skied into Zakir’s hands. Kahn from Saajid bowling alley.
There was still time for Raju to strike another blow before he too was thrown, this time by Hani Kahn. The home side will always have felt confident to take the win as fit Craig Morgan (32) looked to forge a winning partnership with Simon Bailey (12).
The pair combined for a 56-point stand which brought the team’s total to 147/4 when Morgan was knocked down by big man Muhammad Bilal in the 23e before Bailey was unfortunately forced to retire.
Sensing another meltdown was on the horizon, visitors pushed hard for more wickets and were rewarded when Jamie Robinson (2) and Richard Clarke (7) both ran out in the 26e after a useful partnership, thus leaving the door open to an improbable victory for the Pakistani Academy.
Luckily for the hosts, Flowers (3 *) and Livermore (9 *) combined for the remaining races to ensure the hosts were able to save a draw in the series.
The man of the match went to Raju for his 41 of 41 ball contribution as well as the two openers going out with the ball.
Morgan’s 32 of 22 and Ledeboer’s 30 of 23 were crucial innings with the bat as Flowers appeared to have the Pakistan Academy firmly in his pocket with his 2-29 spell from 5 overs played.
Michael Rhys-Thomas was the most outstanding performer on the pitch with 3 catches to his name with a special mention to Sajal Gaurs, a pair of direct hits.
Asif Butt was the tourist’s most notable performer with the bat in both games with 81 of 83 balls facing while Saajid’s numbers of 3-51 from 9 overs just edged 3-40 from Bilal on his 10 overs in the bowling department.
Sajal Gaur and Livermore were Phuket’s bowlers’ pick in both games with returns of 3-55 from 9 overs and 5-69 from 10 overs respectively.
Phuket Cricket would like to thank everyone who made the effort to ensure that the series continues and looks forward to welcoming the Pakistan Academy to our shores next year for another cheerful tour.
This Sunday, January 9, ACG will host the Alan Cooke ‘MBE’ Memorial Game in what will hopefully become an annual event following Alan’s sad passing last month. If anyone would like to get involved, please do not hesitate to contact ACG for more details.