Thalang thrash Laguna in Phuket’s JLL League cricket
PHUKET: In the much anticipated JLL League match on March 30, the Thalang Cricket Team defeated Laguna by 90 runs and now have an insurmountable lead in the Jones Lang LaSalle League points championship. Laguna, last year’s champions, haven’t been beaten in a JLL league match in the past two seasons but had no answers to Thalang in this match.
Played at the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG) under a baking sun with little wind, Thalang won the toss and choose to bat first. Justin Thomatos and Andrew McMillan, already boasting two-hundred run partnerships from their last two innings together, went to another level.
The left and right handed combination hit the ball to all areas of the ACG and ran Laguna off their feet in a rare Phuket cricket display. A fumbled run-out opportunity was the closest that Laguna came to a wicket as Thalang raced to 93-0 at the first drinks break.
After the break Thomatos continued to bat like a cat with nine lives. His luck was again evident when he was caught at long on from the bowling of Sameer Khan, only for the umpire to call a no-ball due to Khan dislodging a bail during the delivery.
Laguna tried nine different bowlers prior to the 24 over drinks break, but couldn’t remove either of the batsmen, who by this point were well and truly out on their feet. In the 25th over Thomatos brought up his third century of the year and together with McMillan it was the first ever 200 run batting partnership on the Alan Cooke Ground.
Just a couple of balls after saluting the crowd Thomatos was dismissed for 102 runs from 83 balls.
Laguna then brought opening bowlers Pir Sami and Shoeib Mustaq back into the attack. Between them they picked up 5 wickets and the run rate fell to under 7.5 runs an over. Sami got the wicket of McMillan, trapped in front for 99 runs from 87 balls and was clearly the pick of the Laguna bowlers with 4-35. Aidan Keeble 17 from 10 balls, hit a few boundaries at the finish to see Thalang reach 274-6 from their 35 overs.
Requiring almost eight an over to win, Laguna made a good fist of it early with Manish Sadarangani hitting some nice boundaries through point and some valuable edges over the slips and the wicket keeper.
At drinks the equation for Laguna was one wicket down and still requiring over 200 to win from the last 23 overs. Laguna lifted their scoring rate through big hitter Sameer Khan, after Sadarangani 43 from 57 balls was dismissed, but the introduction of Neill Culpan in the 18th over put a stop to the free flow of runs that Khan was scoring.
Laguna were not without a chance of an upset on 146-3 heading into the last session with their two most experienced hitters Khan and Stuart Reading out in the middle.
One ball later and it was a different story when Thai youngster ‘Paan’ caught Reading on the boundary off the bowling of Bill Stahmer. It wasn’t to be for Laguna as Culpan dismissed Khan, two batsmen were run out in an over, and spinner Andrew McMillan grabbed 3-6 to have Laguna all out for 184 in the 31st over.
Khan was the top scorer with a well compiled 62 runs from 57 balls meanwhile Culpan was the pick of the Thalang bowlers with 2-22 from his allotted seven overs.
The JLL league points champion and second place has now been decided but who will finish 3rd and earn the right to play finals cricket?
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