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Phuket’s Laguna win the JLL Hotels cricket league



PHUKET: It was a much anticipated match between Patong CC and Laguna last Sunday as they met to decide Phuket’s Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels Cricket League champions 2013, at the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG).

In a thrilling game Laguna got off to a terrible start, but they dug deep to post a defendable total of 165 runs against a very slick Patong bowling and fielding display.

Patong appeared to be cruising to a comfortable victory with only three wickets down and only 34 runs required to reach their target.

With Patong on the brink of victory and Laguna looking like they would not be able to defend their title, the Laguna side, utilizing their opening pace man Sami Ullah, ripped the heart out of Patong’s innings with one of the best displays of pace bowling seen at the ACG. In just two overs Sami decimated Patong’s batsmen, picking up five wickets for just six runs and creating the platform for a stunning victory for the defending champions.

For an unfortunate and disappointed Patong side, who have been consistent all season, their last seven wickets fell like pins for just nine runs, all out for 141 runs, 24 runs short of the target. For the Laguna side, many of whom had their heads hanging low for much of the day, the victory was probably their sweetest yet.

After winning the toss, Patong elected to put Laguna into bat knowing the conditions would prove difficult for batsmen. Their decision paid immediate dividends when Laguna captain Stuart Reading (2) was clean bowled by Kishor Jhagtar in the very first over. Fellow opener Val Guiraud (1) also fell victim to Jhagtar in his very next over and with two wickets down for only five runs, Laguna looked like capitulating.

However, Andrew Cole (11) mistimed a shot and was caught and bowled by Dave Watson. When Sameer Khan (7) came to the crease, he looked in good touch and sought to attack the bowlers, hitting Jhagtar towards the clubhouse at deep mid-wicket for what looked like a certain boundary. However, Richard Desmond plucked the ball one-handed in mid-air while simultaneously running backwards towards the boundary to pull off the catch of the season.

Laguna were now looking to at least make a contest of the final by not being bowled out for less than 100 runs. It was ultimately a 94 run partnership between Shoeib Mushtaq (44) and Michael Ayling (36) that restored some pride to the Laguna innings, taking the total along to 135 before Ayling fell to another sharp catch from Desmond.

In the following over, Laguna lost another two wickets including that of Mushtaq and at 8 for 143, they were simply looking to bat out the remaining overs to post a more defendable total. Roly Cooper (18 not out) provided a glimmer of hope playing aggressively, including a pull shot for six, but eventually he ran out of batting partners with the score on 165 runs.

Pick of the bowlers for Patong were Kishor Jhagtar (3 for 26), Dave Watson (2 for 22) and Richard Desmond (2 for 29).

After the lunch break, and in improving conditions, the Patong side began their run chase in swift fashion, assisted by some wayward bowling by Sami Ullah in his first two over spell.

With Patong already reaching 30 without loss after just four overs, it was time for a bowling change from pace to slow in an effort to stem the easy flow of runs. This proved successful when Mike Khan (9) was dismissed in the 5th over with the score on 36. Laguna were back in the hunt when they struck again capturing the wicket of Paddy Morton (1).

Opener Seemant Raju (23) and Dave Watson (36) then combined and seemed to be taking it all in their stride, working the ball around the ground to accumulate a steady flow of runs until Raju finally fell after a 54 run partnership with three wickets down for 91 runs. Neil Quail then joined Watson at the crease and continued along in much the same fashion. At the 20 over drinks break, Patong headed back to the clubhouse with 105 runs on the scoreboard, seven wickets in hand, and 61 runs required from 15 overs, a required run-rate of just four runs per over.

After such a wayward opening spell, the pace attack of Sami Ullah and Val Guiraud were re-introduced. Watson and Quail continued on their way until Ullah made the breakthrough in the 25th over, taking out Quail’s middle stump with the score on 132. At this stage there was no reason to panic, as Patong still had capable batsmen in hand and only 34 runs required for victory from 10 overs.

However, two balls later, Ullah struck again when Watson skied a high ball which was well taken by Faisal Mir at mid-off. With five wickets now down, the Laguna side could see a glimmer of hope, albeit very slim. Ullah’s next over proved to be the decisive match-winning performance. Steaming into captain Anthony Van Blerk (1), he beat him with a cracker of a ball uprooting middle stump. He then followed this up three balls later, sending Pao Suttiprapha’s middle stump tumbling end-over-end. Not content with this, on the last ball of his over, he trapped Richard Desmond in front and the Patong innings had been decimated to eight wickets down for 135 runs.

Manish Sadarangani (5 not out), who had been watching this from the non-strikers end since coming to the crease after the fall of Quail, was in a state of shock, like many others who had witnessed the event. With him being the last of the recognized batsmen, the pressure was mounting to get the few remaining runs required for victory. However, Sameer Khan, took his opportunity when Soton Alamin (0) took strike and he trapped him lbw just one run later with the score on 136 in the 30th over. With 30 runs required and just one wicket remaining the balance of power was now well and truly with Laguna. Khan eventually mopped up the innings and a thrilling victory in his next over when he took the last wicket of Kishor Jhagtar (1), and incredibly, Patong were all out for 141 runs.

Pick of the bowlers for Laguna were Sami Ullah (5 for 31), Sameer Khan (2 for 19) and Shoeib Mushtaq (2 for 29).

In addition to the trophy presentations to the finalists, the Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) presentations took place with Craig Murphy (The Village) winning the MVP and best bowler awards, Ali Khan (Jabudays) won the best batsman, and the ‘spirit of cricket’ award went to John King for his outstanding contribution to the development of cricket in Phuket, as both an umpire and coach of the PCG Youth Academy.

After a short break, the cricketing action will resume at the ACG with the T20 league scheduled to kick off in July. Anyone interested in playing or fielding a team should email

Keep checking our online Phuket Sports pages or join our Facebook fan page for the latest local, national and international sporting news.

— Phuket Cricket Group


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