Your correspondent had never before played in or seen a club match as early in April as this but given the weather it was obviously an inspired decision. The visitors included Gareth Delany of Leinster and Nitin Naik of Phoenix while captain Sayed Shah would get his first look at two Phoenix debutants. There was one change to the selection announced during the week with Ian Anders coming in to replace Graham Morris. In a 45 overs each match Phoenix were to be in the field first. The Phoenix team was : Captain Sayed Shah, wicket keeper Jonathan Wardell, Vish Vaidyanathan, Aaron Joseph, Ian Anders, Andy Brawders, Amit Battan, Naeem Shazad, Asim Jan, Shahzaib, Saraanavan.
Jan and Shahzaib took the new ball. The opening stand between Jack Balbirnie and Cotter had realised 26 when Shahzaib got his first wicket for Phoenix with Shazad taking the catch. Joseph bowled an unbroken spell of 9 overs from the Pasley end and clean bowled both no. 2 Balbirnie for 25 and no. 3 Kashif for 24. Naik batted for a long time to finish as leading scorer for the visitors for 63 as he and Adeel both fell to Battan. Phoenix managed to run out both Mannan and Delany. Despite the exhortations in the pre match huddle by Wardell about the line the bowlers should be looking for some of them struggled at times and Phoenix conceded 32 wides. Joseph ,playing arguably at a higher altitude than he might usually play at ,was the pick of the bowlers. Although Battan matched his 2 wickets his economy rate of 3.33 was unbeatable as the visitors overall scoring rate was just a little under 6 runs an over.
Needing 263 to win Captain Shah and Shazad began the reply. Kashif and Zain were a little more accurate than Phoenix had been earlier but there were some positive shots from Phoenix with Shah hitting 2 boundaries from his first 6 balls and Shazad hitting 3 boundaries from his first 6 balls. The stand had reached 43 when the skipper was caught at extra cover for 16. Ian Anders was the next in and it seemed that Shazad would get to 50 before he was unfortunately run out for 47. The exit of Anders for 11 brought Wardell and Vaidyanathan together with the Galwayman proving an adhesive foil to the Indian’s stroke play. A stand of 69 left Phoenix still needing 108 with 6 wickets in hand. Battan took on the role of supporting Vaidyanathan until the latter fell on 62. Brawders was next in and he took on the aggressor role with Battan varying between blocking and taking what singles were available. They were probably both frustrated not to be there at the finish as they ended with 42 and 25 respectively with Shazaib hitting a six to end on 12 not out while at the other end Joseph was not required to face a ball and Jan was not required at all. Phoenix won by 2 wickets with 8 balls to spare.
Best Bowler A Joseph 9-3-30-2
Top Scorer V Vaidyanathan 62
Man of the Match A Brawders 42 (given the position of the match at the time he came to the crease)