By Dyon Ravello
On Saturday June 18th Diplomats failed to capitalize against Knights, who made 146, losing by 19 runs. For Knight Abdullah Syed made 44 and Kasshief made 33. For Diplomats Gavin Smith snared 4 for 23 off 7 overs and Errol Thomas had 3 for 36 off 8 overs. In response Diplomats were restricted to a poultry total of 127 all out. Francis Mendonca made 31 and Romeno Deane 24. Bowling for Knights Mohammed bagged 5 for 35 off 7.1 overs and Nabil 3 for 22 off his allotted 8 overs. Diplomats removed Saturday’s dejection that drive and pump on Sunday as they face the unbeaten Panthers.
Diplomats won the toss and elected to bat first. The first 2 overs cost 22 runs, then in the third over medium pacer Adil Ali showed why Panther held their current record. First he had Allen Hind caught at the wicket with a short and rising delivery for 11 and in the very next ball Selwyn Ramphal too was caught behind off a short ball rising across his left shoulder, to leave the score at 22 for 2 after 3 overs. Romeno Deane joined his usual opening partner Francis Mendonca but his stay at the crease was short lived as he skied Ali to be caught at point for 1. Mendonca then followed in similar fashion attempting a pull, the ball ballooned into the air for a simple catch he made 12 with Diplomats reeling at 31 for 4 after 7 overs. Things did not get any better Kirton was caught at the wicket for 6 off Shehzad, 37 for 5. Eleven runs was added and another batsmen was walking back to the pavilion, D. Ravello bowled by Adil Ali for 2, the score now 48 for 6 after 9 overs and Diplomats in dire need for a recovery and Adil Ali in his glee with a five-for.
Captain Selwyn Smith took up the mantle and he found an able partner in Richard Coates, the pair add 45 runs to prop the Diplomats innings. With the Score on 93 Coates played a delivery which was too close to cut, caught at the wicket off Janal for 14. Diplomats continued the fighting recovery with Tegana Mc Kenzie stroking the ball around the park alongside his skipper Smith. The Pair saw the score past 150 and Smith too brought up his half century.
Smith and Mc Kenzie had a partnership of 63 runs before both were removed without a run being added. Smith caught at cover playing a lethargic cut he made 54 and Mc Kenzie caught for 25 Janal accounting for both scalps, Diplomats on 155 for 9. J Clarke batting at number 10 played a beautiful cameo before he was bowled by Imran for 21, leaving Gavin Smith not out on 2 Diplomats all out for 180 in 31 overs. Bowling for Panthers Adil Ali had 5 for 37 and Janal 3 for 30.
In reply Panthers were gifted with a healthy start with Shehzad taking 16 off Mc Kenzie’s only over of the match. At the other end Mendonca had Adil Ali caught at slip by a brilliant jumping catch by Ramphal. Salik Iqbal was bowled by Mendonca without scoring 27 for 2. Shehzad got in to a shell and could only sky Mendonca to mid off for Ravello to run around and take a simple catch 35 for 3, Shehzad made 26. S Salman and Salman added 33 runs before S Salman was caught at long off by Mendonca of the bowling of Kirton he made 16. Qayyum stopper the wicket flow alongside Salman as the pair added 37 before stock bowler Deane bowled Salman for 25, Panther 105 for 5 and game on. M Imran was scalped by Deane bowled without scoring 118 for 6. Qayyum’s stroke filled innings which included a six and 2 fours came to an end when his expansive square drive was brilliantly snapped up by Gavin Smith at point of Kirton.
Diplomats could sense that victory was close at Kirton removed Asim leg before for a duck and Janal caught Mc Kenzie at short extra cover for zero off Kirton 126 for 9. But Diplomats had to wait as H. Imran played a gallant supporting role as Shabaz tried to win the game for the Panthers. The pair took the score from 126 to 162 within 18 runs of victory with both teams feeling the intensity all game long. Hind had Shabaz leg before to cap off a well deserved will for Diplomats. A remarkable comeback lead by the captain with the bat, sure a match winning performance. Bowling for Diplomats Kirton was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 36, Mendonca had 3 for 41 and Deane 2 for 42. This coming weekend Diplomats face Imperial at Seaview in another titanic clash.