Monday 10th Oct was the penultimate round of the Pattaya-RS Indoor league and the results would help clarify the likely positions for the final leg. It did, but not in the way expected. Pattaya opened with a woefully wayward, wide-ridden (33), and ineffective bowling attack which allowed SRF CC to amass 104 for 0. PCC was on track for chasing the total down, but Navindra had a brilliant spell with 2 wickets and PCC fell 9 runs short. The loss gave SRF a well-deserved first win and meant that Alibaba could not be chased down in the League.
Dinesh (SRF) lost the toss and Jainish (PCC) decided to bowl first. Kush (13) and Ricky (7) opened the batting against Wez who started with an expensive 17 off the first over. Habby was the same and included his usual front foot no ball which also went for 3 byes. Things did not improve as Jainish bowled 5 wides and 3 leg byes to bring the first pairs’ contribution to an impressive 46 for 0 in 3 overs. Sataya (7) and Dinesh (14) bated the next three overs and it was Wez’s turn to suffer from wobblyitis of the bowling arm with 3 wides.
Habby finally got into his stride and kept Sataya pinned down for just 2 runs but Dinesh managed to score freely against Amit’s first over. The pair managed to push the score to 77 for 0 and protecting their wickets would prove to be crucial. PCC needed wickets and they did not look like getting one. The final 3 overs were faced by Navindra (10) and Shiv (4). Animal bowled one over for 12 runs, including 2 wides and Amit leached 11 mainly via leg byes. The last over was left to Habby to bowl and was very tidy with only 4 scored but the total had reached a whopping 104 for 0. Only a record-breaking chase would reach that total.
The chase started with Amit (14) and Animal (8) against very rapid bowling from Kush. It was imperative that the batsmen retained their wickets and they did as ordered. Navidra bowled a very tidy over with 4 dots for 5 runs and PCC was being kept under control. Animal and Amit managed to score off Ricky and got to 30 for 0 after their 3 overs. A commendable effort with first-team batsmen to come. Jainish (7) and Habby (26), with his borrowed and oversized shoes, arrived and fireworks were expected. I happened on the first ball when Kush clattered Jainish’s off stump.
That was not what the doctor ordered. Ricky had Habby caught in the next over, but the ball was an over-height full toss and called as a No Ball by the square leg umpire (me). Habby then smashed Ricky for 6. Dinesh bowled the final of their 3 overs and was slayed for 17 including another 6 from Habby and the score moved on to 64. PCC was catching up. Could Wez (17) and Luke (21) pull off a miracle? Navindra bowled the first of their 3 overs. Luke was bowled on the 5h ball and Wez immediately followed suit on the 6th. -4 from the over and things were getting serious. Shiv was hit for 19 as the boundaries flowed and there were 24 needed off the last over from Kush. Kush went for a solid 15 runs but it was not enough at 96 for 3 and PCC took an unexpected loss. Their hopes of catching Alibaba evaporated due to 49 extras and 3 lost wickets.
The other match of the evening was Alibaba v RST. RST batted first and steadily lost wickets including 2 suicidal runouts. They concluded with 67 for 6 – not enough to defeat Alibaba. Alibaba started poorly, losing 3 early wickets and an RST upset looked feasible, but the wickets dried. Alibaba won by 9 runs.