One wicket victory takes Pattaya to verge of ESCL title

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Once again it was a dramatic game of cricket at the Thai Polo Ground last weekend as Pattaya Cricket Club faced the British Club in the penultimate Eastern Seaboard Cricket League.

Electing to bat first, British Club batsmen Denzel Allwright and Rahoul Gupte got off to a flying start but two wickets in successive deliveries from Nishanth checked the early run rate. Mo Sheikh, after conceding 10 runs from his opening over, then trapped Dale Lamb (3) and Graham Rowell (5) to seemingly put PCC in control at 46/4 from 7 overs. However, Denzel was joined by Shriyanth and the boundaries continued to flow. A regulation dropped catch on the long on boundary by Bernard Lamprecht proved costly as both batsmen accelerated the run rate and the score was 122/4 at drinks after 15 overs.

The break was timely for the rattled PCC bowlers who had time to regroup and rehydrate in the sultry conditions. Himmeth (2/23) and Reds Liddell (2/16) then bowled superbly to wrest the initiative back in favour of the home side as both Denzel (60) and Shriyanth (46) were dismissed. Bernie (1/8), smarting from his fielding faux pas, ensured the lower order were not a significant factor and coupled with a needless run out the British Club were efficiently hustled out for 172.

In reply, PCC made a disastrous start as Venky (0) was clean bowled and captain Simon Philbrook (9) soon followed to leave the home team 28/2 from 6 overs. Mo strode to the crease and immediately struck the ball all round the park for a quick fire 30 from only 19 balls faced. Reds Liddell maintained the momentum with 22 and Nishanth (19) put PCC in command of the run chase. All the while, Manik was at his reassuring best at the other end as he calmly reached his half century from 47 balls.

A flurry of 4 quick wickets, including the prize of Manik (54), then swung the game dramatically in favour of the British Club and PCC were seemingly down and out at 154/9 in the 22nd over. Three singles a piece kept the PCC hopes alive and the PCC Barmy Army, led by the ever excitable Bob St Aubin, began to believe.

The match turned again in the space of 2 deliveries as first Peter Gangur clipped a ball off his toes to the fine leg boundary and Hamza then straight drove a ball back to the long-on boundary. Suddenly PCC needed just 5 runs for victory and like two seasoned old pros (well Peter is definitely one) the pair ensured victory as they nudged and nurdled their way to the target.

It was a nail biting finale to a game of many twists and turns that ensured PCC go into their final match on 5th August where a win will see them crowned ESCL champions.

Manik was awarded the man of the match trophy for the fourth time this season and is having a wonderful year with the bat.