Thalang lights up Laguna, will face Patong in cricket grand final

PHUKET: The Thalang Cricket Team (TCT) made light work of a depleted Laguna cricket side in Sunday’s Phuket Cricket Group semifinal. After dismissing Laguna for only 114 runs, TCT passed the total in the 22nd over with seven wickets still in hand.

The coin toss fell the way of Laguna’s captain Stuart Reading who chose for his team to bat first on a drying pitch. Heavy rain overnight had left the manicured surface of the Alan Cooke Ground standing upright and, although there was no visible water, it was a little slower than it’s been in recent matches.

Both teams had made some adjustments to their respective sides. Laguna were a man short on their team sheet without regular all-rounder Arif Mushtaq, Sam S and Thai player Karn.

But Laguna had regained key bowling all-rounder Iqbal Malik and crafty tail-end batsman Kishore Sadarangani. For TCT, Craig Murphy was a late withdrawal with an injury and was replaced by medium pacer Anthony Dupont.

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Neil Culpan bowled the first over of the match which produced two leg-side boundaries to Laguna’s Manish Sadarangani. From that point onwards the runs dried up quicker than the outfield. At the 10 over drinks break Laguna were 0-32. After the break Laguna attempted to hit themselves back into the game and lost both opening batsmen in the process.

Laguna were 45-2 (12.3 overs) before Iqbal Malik strode out to the crease. Malik looked at ease out in the middle until Simon Wetherell ran around the boundary line to take a juggled catch just a whisker from the boundary rope. Laguna’s Damien Clowes and Nadeem Yousuf looked to consolidate the innings and with the handy addition of a fist full of wides from TCT bowler Pao, Laguna were 79-3 after 20 overs.

Just two balls after the break and the batting pair had a running mix up. A direct throw at the bowlers end from TCT’s wicket keeper Andrew McMillan saw the end to Clowes seven (23) and brought dangerous batsman Ali Khan to the crease. Ali plundered 107 runs against TCT the last time the sides met and it only took 5 deliveries before he had the umpires calling for a replacement ball after dispersing TCT’s paceman Neil Culpan over the fence and into the rubber plantation.

With the next delivery Culpan had the last laugh after Ali slashed hard again and was well caught at third man by TCT’s captain Bill Stahmer. Laguna were 90-5 (22 overs) when Garry Lane was introduced into the bowling attack. Lane picked up the wickets of Sameer Khan and Roly Cooper in his first two overs while Martin Hill chimed in with 1-1 from his two overs up the other end.

Playing one man short, Laguna were 92-8 with their last pair at the crease. Their tail wagged on for another four overs before Lane picked up his third wicket and ended Laguna’s innings at 9-114. Stuart Reading finished on 18 not out while Lane was the pick of the TCT bowlers with 3-13 (3.5 overs).

TCT’s opening pair didn’t waste any time with the run chase racing along to 0-17 in two overs. Andrew McMillan hit 12 runs from Iqbal Malik’s short pitched over before Malik found his length in his second over and the edge of McMillan’s bat. TCT 23-1 (3.4 overs). Fresh from 48 not out against the Village team 2 weeks ago, TCT’s Stahmer eight runs (13 balls) looked in fine touch before a strong throw from the deep found him short of his ground attempting a third run.

At 37-2 (seven overs) TCT had a partnership of 38 runs between Justin Thomatos 19 (34) and Neil Culpan before Thomatos sliced a catch to point with the score on 75-2. Laguna’s bowlers all toiled hard for their team, creating a few chances that were dropped. Neil Culpan 41* (46) and Simon Wetherell 22* (23) took TCT beyond the required 115 run target and into the Phuket Cricket Group grand final.

— Andrew MacMilan

Phuket News

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