In the final league game of the current season between the top two teams, Pattaya Cricket Club and the Asian Stars faced off at the Thai Polo Ground in Pattaya last Sunday.
The toss was vital and after winning it, Asian Stars captain Dimple had no hesitation in bowling first with the wicket looking very green and juicy following an early morning downpour. And so it proved. Despite two early consecutive sixes from Wez Masterton (17), PCC crumbled in the face of some lively swing bowling led by the excellent Bilal (0/6).
PCC captain Simon Philbrook (21) could only stand at the non-strikers end as partners came and went and the home team slumped to 57/5 at drinks after 15 overs. It did not fare much better after the break either as the hosts were skittled out for a sub-par 93.
Not wanting to roll over, the PCC bowlers immediately applied some pressure of their own as Mo Sheik (1/12) and Ian Liddell (2/14) made early inroads. Nishanth and Andy Emery each picked up a wicket and then a controversial moment swung the match. Mazhar, the opening batsman who was expertly anchoring the Asian Stars innings, cut a ball to backward point where PCC captain Simon belied his years, picked up one handed and threw to the keeper. The quality of the fielding caused confusion between the batsmen as both were stranded mid wicket. PCC were certain they had not crossed and that they had the prize wicket they were after, but following a lengthy debate the batsmen decided they had crossed and Mazhar survived….just. He continued until the final runs were scored to finish 53 not out and Asian Stars secured a hard fought 3 wicket victory at 97/7.
It was a somewhat disappointing finale for PCC but they should be proud of their achievements that included memorable victories and notable performances, in particular from Manik who had a magnificent season with the bat.