Formosa Cricket Club retained their champions crown in yesterday’s ninth Taiwan Annual Cricket Competition after beating Pakistan Cricket Club Taipei (PCCT) in a repeat of last year’s final at the Yang Ming Baseball Park in Kaohsiung.
South African Charl Esterhuizen was the hero for Formosa, playing a captain’s role with bat and ball as he took three for 12 off four overs, before knocking an unbeaten 42 to take Formosa past PCCT’s modest total of 72 for 7.
PCCT were confident going into the final as they had won all three games in the tournament’s round robin stage, including a victory over Formosa on Saturday.
But the form book went out the window as PCCT found it difficult to recover from a devastating opening spell from Formosa opening bowlers Esterhuizen and 17-year-old Australian Mark Turner (2-13 off four overs.)
First, opener Asif Iqbal Tanoli fell to a stunning catch from Andy Gupta off the fifth ball of Esterhuizen’s first over for just 1. But worse was to follow, as another four wickets fell quickly to leave PCCT reeling at nine for five off just four overs.
Moin and Shoaib Meer then came together to steady the ship and trouble the scorers with a succession of boundaries over the next 11 overs.
But Formosa’s Ikdeep Singh halted the momentum for PCCT with two quick wickets in the 15th over, restricting them to just 72 off their 16 overs.
PCCT required a good start and to put Formosa openers Paul Turner and Esterhuizen under pressure to stand any chance of victory, but that failed to materialize as some wild bowling from star all-rounder Shazad saw 16 runs come off the first over.
Formosa managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over despite losing Turner for 6 off the last ball of the third over. And when wicketkeeper Maidul Islam fell to the day’s best piece of cricket shortly after — run out for a duck by a stunning throw from mid-wicket — it looked like PCCT were in with a chance.
But Mark Turner (4 not out) arrived at the crease to provide solid support for man-of-the-match Esterhuizen, who finally finished the game off with a big four to long-on in the 11th over, bringing an end to the two-day, four-team tournament.
Taiwan Southerners Cricket Club (won 1, lost 2) came third, while new boys Pakistan Badshahs took home the wooden spoon (won 0, lost 3).