An incredible day of cricket at the sweltering Thai Polo Ground last weekend saw Pattaya Cricket Club chase down a record breaking total against the Southerners to claim the most improbable win in the Eastern Seaboard Cricket League.
The Southerners captain, Nadeem, had no hesitation in batting first when winning the toss and under a baking sun and on a hard, flat wicket the PCC bowlers knew it could be a long afternoon. Early control from Andy Emery and Wezley Masterton restricted the Southerners to just 25 runs from the opening 5 overs. PCC made the breakthrough as Nishanth had Elder (15) caught behind with the score on 34, but Anil (17) ran well before he was adjudged lbw to Mo, making his PCC debut.
Andrew Langhorn and the surprise Southerners debutant Pathan then went on a scoring festival as anything with width or full length were dispatched to all parts. Andy Emery returned to be unceremoniously launched for 34 runs from his 6 balls as both batsmen passed 50. Andrew was finally bowled by Wezley for an excellent 76 but Pathan continued the onslaught as he brought up his century from only 41 balls. It was an innings of sensational clean hitting that enabled the Southerners to finish on 235/4 from their 25 overs and left many PCC bowlers with sore necks and bemused looking faces.
The run chase had to be positive from the start and Manik and Wezley ensured PCC got off to a near perfect start. Maximising the power play both batsmen found the boundary regularly as the score raced to 102 without loss from the opening 8 overs.
Exhaustion was a significant threat and particularly as Manik had kept wicket the Southerners were always confident a mistake would be made. But the batsmen were in no mood to give up their wickets as the runs continued to flow despite fielders now patrolling the boundary. Both passed 50 and at the drinks break after 14 overs the score was a remarkable 162/0. Finally, Manik was bowled for a masterful 73 but the 187 partnership was a club and league record and put PCC in complete control of the game.
Wezley agonisingly missed out on a deserved hundred as he was caught on the long off boundary for a wonderful 94 runs. Mo (14no) and the PCC captain Simon Philbrook (17) guided PCC to victory with 6 balls to spare to record a truly astonishing 5 wicket victory and the PCC barmy army, led by the vociferous Bob St Alben, revelled in the spectacle.
Wezley was rightly awarded the man of the match trophy and the win secures second place in the ESCL with just two remaining fixtures left, the next of which is on Sunday, July 22 at the Thai Polo Ground when the top spot beckons.