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Lanna go top of the league after close-fought battle with CMCC

CMCC v Lanna at Prem Sunday, 28 February 2016

Lanna beat CMCC by five wickets in an engrossing contest played on a Prem pitch drenched by overnight rain, and moved to the top of the Chiang Mai Senior League after being made to work hard by old rivals CMCC.

Lanna had the advantage from the start as they won the toss and chose to field first on what was expected to be a helpful wicket. There was not much help for leg-spinner Russell Ward who was hit for 13 in the first over by Amar but CMCC's positive brand of cricket proved too ambitious for the conditions as Faisal hit the ball straight up in the air was well caught by Hamish Weir at cover, and Russell then tempted Amar to alsto hit in the air as he was out for 17 from just 10 balls. CMCC were a perilous 17 for 2 in the third over.

Tanveer and Aasif tried to rebuild the innings but both were out to sharp stumpings from Richard Cowles as they strayed out of their crease, and Shaffi followed in the same way as CMCC's batsmen regularly lost patience with Lanna's battery of slow and medium paced bowlers. When Arshid was bowled by second leg-spinner Hamish Weir CMCC were in trouble at 76 for 6.

With Ubaid playing in Bangkok and Basharat unwell CMCC were down to nine players so Lanna needed only two more wickets to finish off the innings but Burhan stood firm to play an outstanding innings. He had been the junior partner the previous week when batting with Ubaid but here he took control to make an unbeaten 68 as the last two wickets more than doubled the score.

Suhail helped Burhan add 52 for the seventh wicket before being drawn down the wicket by Tom Salusbury's flight to give Richard Cowles his fourth stumping of the day and Nisar was extremely resolute as the eighth wicket produced another 28 vital runs. Eighth bowler Walter Persaud finally ended the innings when he bowled Nisar by throwing one up which proved just too tempting.

In the circumstances a total of 155 was a very good effort by CMCC but Lanna's bowling attack hadn't quite taken advantage of the conditions. CMCC's bowlers all have a bit of pace so could they exploit the drying pitch which would offer movement and uneven bounce?

The answer was yes as Wlater Persaud endured a testing first over and partner Adam Green was out first ball as he was caught at first slip by Richard Young who had volunteered to field for CMCC as substitute fielder and was quickly in the game. Walter then tried to hit his way out of trouble but was caught by Faisal off the bowling of Arshid.

Martin Cardno had been hoping for a reasonable target on the board so he could play a substantial innings but he would not have been expecting to be in such a testing situation with two wickets down on a difficult pitch. He rose to the challenge and got his head down knowing he couldn't try to play any over-ambitious shots.

Hugh Williams found batting a difficult exercise but survived to make 16 in a partnership of 48 before he edged to wicket-keeper Burhan off the bowling of Suhail to leave the score on 57 for 3. Richard Cowles came to the crease after making 66 on his last appearance at Prem when playing for Southerners against Siam CC in the Colonel's Cup.

Captain Cowles tried to bat in the same fashion but it was a different pitch on a different day and he regularly skied the ball into the air only to be let off by CMCC's fielders. He managed to control his attacking tendencies and survived CMCC's ferocious appealing, while Martin Cardno hardly played a false shot as he made his third fifty in three league matches.

37 runs were still needed when Cardno played his first pull shot of the day and was lbw to Arshid for a well made 65 but Chris Coombes was a reliable man to come in at number six as an afternoon in the field had helped his recovery from the previous night's reveling.

Richard Cowles finally found the middle of his bat as the ball sailed over into the lake just beyond the wall at deep mid-wicket but soon afterwards Aasif finally clung on to a skier as he was dismissed caught and bowled for 34 with just 15 runs needed for victory.

Hamish Weir helped Coombes prevent any late drama to see Lanna home to victory by five wickets with three overs to spare as the journey to Prem and the delay because of overnight rain proved well worth while as an intriguing battle was provided on a lively pitch. Two impressive innings were played by Burhan and Martin Cardno as they showed that good technique and sensible batting were required in difficult conditions.

CMCC 155 for 5 (27 overs)
Tanveer 29, Burhan 68*; Russell Ward 2 for 38, Hamish Weir 2 for 11

Lanna 156 for 5 (27 overs)
Martin Cardno 65, Richard Cowles 34; Arshid 2 for 15

Lanna won by 5 wickets