Cricket: Thalang surge to vie for place in semi-finals

PHUKET: Thalang (TCT) claimed an unlikely outright victory by an innings and 93 runs over a heavily depleted Village Cricket Team at the Alan Cooke Ground last Sunday.

Both teams had multiple changes for their last match of the regular season. TCT regained their captain Bill Stahmer, opening bowler Barrie Buck and debutant Hossain Sylar. Village were without the

ir captain Mudasir Rehman and several of their regular players, but gained some very promising talent in Aneel Mughal and debutants Zohaib, Kafeel Mughal and MM Ghadge.

TCT won the toss and elected to field. Neil Culpan delivered a wayward first over, but also found the edge of the bat and the wicket of Village opener Mike Khan (4 runs).

Debutant Kafeel Mughal (8 runs) never looked comfortable at the crease and edged to first slip in the 7th over. Syed Shahnaz (16 runs) made a half-century against TCT earlier in the season, but on this occasion the spin of Martin Hill brought him undone on the last ball before the 10-over drink break with Village 45/3.

In the 12th over, Andrew McMillan struck with two wickets, and when Olly Wingate played on in the 14th over the Village were 54/6.

Andy and MM Ghadge put up a good contest until Bill Stahmer broke through with two wickets to end the Village innings on 8/74. As two cricketers failed to show at the ground, Village were limited to bat with just nine players.

McMillan 3/13 and Stahmer 2/9 were the pick of the bowlers with Andy Ghadge 19 (*not out) the pick of the Village batsman.

TCT got off to a cautious run chase with the high run rate coming largely from the 27 sundries in the first 10 overs.

Just before drinks, TCT had taken first-innings points and directly after the break McMillan (29 runs) hit a catch to gift Kafeel Mughal his first Phuket wicket.

Justin Thomatos and Stahmer enjoyed the free flow of runs with only five fielders after Stahmer denied the Village any substitutes when Wingate and Shahnaz called a premature end to their seasons. Thomatos (59 runs) was eventually caught after being let off a couple of times attempting to push TCT’s lead out over 100 runs.

After 24 overs and 216 runs, Stahmer (48* off 35 balls) declared TCT’s innings with a lead of 142 runs.

Kafeel Mughal was the best of the bowlers with two wickets, meanwhile 48 sundries had done a lot to place TCT in a strong position.

Village had thwarted a couple of outright attempts already this season, but without their stonewall Martin Platts there was a vulnerability to the batting line-up.

With 31 overs still to be bowled, Kafeel Mughal (3 runs) was the first Village wicket to fall. He was out LBW in the 7th over off the bowling of TCT’s Bangladesh recruit Hossain Sylar. Mike Khan was then bowled off the last ball of the same over, leaving the door wide open for an outright victory.

Bill Stahmer added to his highlight reel with a one-handed diving catch to dismiss Andy Ghadge. The last two wickets fell in quick succession, with TCT’s Sylar picking up the remarkable figures of 4/2 from four overs as TCT claimed the six wickets required for an outright win in just 15.4 overs.

The result has catapulted TCT up the table and all but guaranteed them a place in the semi final.

Laguna will play ICC this Sunday from 10am in the final match of the regular season in what is shaping to be a knockout match.

— Andrew McMillan

Phuket News

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