Weather: Dry. Warm with a strong South-westerly wind.
Phoenix 4s entered the game needing a win to get their season off the ground. A six run defeat in their opening game was put firmly to the back of their minds as Captain Godwin outlined to his tactical master plan in the dressing room.
Having lost the toss, Phoenix would bat first another superbly prepared pitch. White, Gopal and Khan all got starts without kicking on to that really big score. But at 95 for 2 off 19 overs and with the captain at the crease, a score of 220+ looked on the cards.
However, the curse of the drinks break struck. 95 for 2 became 103 for 6 in the matter of two overs. While there were nerves from the players and spectators, we all know that the lower middle order was well equipped to keep us in the game. John Anders and Nitin Naik batted with skill and guile deep into the final overs.
But the dismissal of Nitin, the speed merchant himself, Monjur ‘Usain’ Ahmad, came to the crease. Within the space of one over, he and John had run 3 all run fours. Monjur finished on his now customary 9 not out.
188 for 9 off 40 overs represented a good recovery but was maybe 30 runs short considering the start.
After a fine and hearty tea and with the words of Captain Godwin ringing in their ears, the 4s took to the field. Clarke struck with his second ball to the innings off to a flying start. Despite some excellent bowling from Clarke and Naik, the wickets did not come.
Godwin replaced Clarke at the Magazine Fort end. Unfortunately, his first over was expensive but better things were to come.
Monjur replaced Naik at the Chesterfield Avenue end.
Godwin’s second over was another case of too short but thanks to his pleading to a greater power, Clarke took a simple catch running around from mid-off. This wicket seemed to revive Godwin who continued to bowl short in the hope that the batsmen would repeat the aerial shots. And this approach worked in spectacular fashion. A short ball from Godwin was pulled over the mid-wicket fielder’s head. Then a moment that will be remembered forever by all present. Charlith took off after the ball, keeping an eye on it over his shoulder. Having run 30 metres to get under the ball, it came down over his right shoulder and he held onto a stunning and match changing catch. The celebration from the the team reflected the quality of the catch.
Next ball, Godwin confused the batsman by bowling full and straight. This resulted in his third wicket and a possible hat-trick. His plan of a short and wide hat-trick ball was unsuccessful.
Monjur then chipped in with a few wickets to put Merrion in deep trouble.
At 9 down and needing 70+ to win, the game changed. One of the batsmen decided to swing the bat and swing it he did. Some powerful cover drives and some loose bowling saw Merrion pass 160. With 13 overs left and 29 needed, the nerves were starting to show. But the introduction of White, having his first bowl in over 2 years, saw the pendulum swing back in Phoenix’s favour.
Withe the established batsman showing no faith in his number 11, it was only a matter of time before the end came. A drive in the air off White to mid-wicket but Charlith dropped the simplest of chances. But, and this is a listen to all, he kept his concentration, picked up the ball and ran the non-striker out to give Phoenix 4s their first win of the season by 28 runs.
Man of the match – John Anders. His coolest with the bat allowed Phoenix post a score of 188.
Mentions – Michael Godwin. 3 for 47 and 15 with the bat.
Charlith W. Catch of the season, enough said.
Champagne Moment – Charlith’s catch.
Circus Moment – Charlith’s throw that ended up 5 metres beyond him.