Opting to bat first on a slow wicket, ICC’s captain, Divan Mydeen, sent Prakash Jha and Arun Virdikar in to face the pace attack of Matthew Kohler and Shivam Bhattcharya in the hope of setting a challenging total for a hungry Patong batting line up.
While expectations may have been high to force an early breakthrough, ICC’s opening pair were clearly undeterred and began racking up a sizeable run rate, aided by decidedly complacent fielding from the Patong side.
By the 10-over drinks’ break, ICC had established a commanding 80 run lead without loss, dashing any hopes that this would be a walk-in-the-park for Patong, and that this game would be a struggle, especially if Jha and Virdikar were allowed to continue their free-flow of run scoring.
Matters certainly did not improve for Patong on resuming play, with Jha sublimely pummelling each Patong bowler faced over boundaries in every direction. Indeed, there was concern that the game would have to be suspended due to the amount of match balls being dispatched into the surrounding lake area to the extent that umpire, John King began running out of replacement balls and – in jest – even threatened the batsmen with fines for losing any more.
Eventually, and with his personal tally on 112, Prakash swung wildly at a delivery from Neil Quail that uprooted both off and middle stumps ending a fine innings of only 49 balls faced, and a substantial few of which can still be seen bobbing in the local lagoon.
Soon after, with the score on 166, Virdikar (54) decided to unselfishly retire – after also taking a vicious blow to the chest from a cracking on-drive by Jha – in order to give his teammates an opportunity to add their mark on the game. This they did, boosting the total with an additional 30 runs for the fall of three wickets, those secured by the bowling of Bhattcharya and Michael Flowers before their 20-overs innings concluded.
Patong’s chase began with Kohler and Flowers, but any hope of competition was soon quashed with the cheap dismissal of the big hitting Kohler. Flowers (15) admirably backed Anthony Van Blerk (25) then skipper, Seemant Raju for a time before succumbing to the slightest of edges taken by ICC’s wicket keeper, allowing Ike Bekker to visit he crease.
By the 10-over break, ICC had restricted Patong to 60 runs for two wickets, but worryingly well behind on the run-rate.
For a brief time, Raju and Bekker (15) built a decent partnership, upping the run rate to a more respectable level, but the end result was never really in any doubt.
Entering the final over, Patong needed 55 runs to win, a mathematical and physical improbability, with the final result an emphatic 49 run victory for ICC.
Man of the match was awarded to Prakash Ja, while Shivam Bhattcharaya was the pick of Patong’s bowling claiming two wickets for 22 runs.
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