by Conor Dillon
Apart from the friendly against Civil Service and the two bowl outs at Rush Phoenix had not seen competitive action since their 60 overs exit at the hands of Pembroke. The team now proposed to boost its promotion prospects with a victory at the Cabra Oval. The wicket appeared to most of the Phoenix team to be a pudding and there was surprise when the home team chose to bat on winning the toss.The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were: Captain Conor Kelly, wicket keeper Syed Ali, M D Masud Ahmed, Joe McKay, Jan Hendrik Steenkamp, Corie Dickeson,Thomas Anders, Chris Cavanagh, Sadaf Raza, Jonathan Wardell, Coach Matt Lunson.
Opposing skipper Gulab Singh initially took on the task of keeping the scorebook while the home innings was opened by Khurshid and Tayyab against Steenkamp and Cavanagh. Steenkamp was not at his best on this wicket and captain Kelly deemed it prudent to take him off after 3 overs and bring him back on after Cavanagh’s spell of 7 overs had ended. The big Scot made the first inroad for Phoenix and finished with figures of 7-3-10-1. Captain Kelly kept a good economy rate but he too had to settle for just one wicket. Steenkamp had a spell of 0-4 from 3 overs at the far end and Masud was tried for 3 overs but it was Anders and Raza who would prove to be the main men for the day as Anders had Ahmed caught by Ali and Bakar caught by Dickeson. Dickeson showed a good piece of coordination as he took a catch on the run to give Raza his fourth victim after the Colonel had bowled Dar and Asad and trapped Hossein lbw. Dickeson’s understanding with Kelly contrasted with an earlier mix up between Wardell and Anders which cost several runs in the field. Steenkamp ended the home innings when he bowled Singh for 8 after the latter handed over the scorebook to U Tiwari.The target for Phoenix was 144.
Could Phoenix complete the victory? One had an uneasy memory of defending an identical score to win a tight match by 4 runs in 2009. After an opening stand of 14 Mckay was lbw to Asad in the third over. Ali proved adhesive but struggled to find the bad ball. Contributions of 20 and 22 from Masud and Captain Kelly left Steenkamp with a lot to do and the big South African made just four singles before he too fell. Ali finally found the boundary but it proved to be his last scoring shot and Dickeson’s exit for 10 left Phoenix on 86 for 6. Wardell defended his wicket for a long spell, Anders stayed long enough to make 6, Raza could not get going and the last pair of Coach Lunson and Cavanagh were left with too much to do as Phoenix closed the deficit to 32 runs before their stand ended. Phoenix took 4 points out of a possible 25.
Home bowling: F Ullah Yousuf Zai 3-18 H Asad 3-35
Phoenix bowling: S Raza 4-29 T Anders 2-23