Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Cricket: Indians in startling turnaround

There were a few sore heads among the Indian cricketing community yesterday after a startling turnaround in form saw them dominate East Bay United.

Round six of the Williams Cup Premiership 50-over competition was played on Saturday, with the Bay of Plenty Indians taking on Whakatane's East Bay United on a typically low and slow Smallbone Park pitch.

Batting first, the Indians looked like posting another sub-par total when their top order were removed cheaply, leaving them at 51 for 4 after 14 overs.

But middle-order batsmen Shyam Bhimjiyani (96 off 124 balls) and man-of-the-match Prashant Dhanjee (92 off 96 balls and 5 for 32 from 10 overs) turned the game around with a 197-run, fifth-wicket partnership to help their team reach 283 for 8 off 50 overs.

Both batsmen scored 12 boundaries but were unable to reach their centuries.

But, by then, it was too late for East Bay who had let the Indians off the hook.

East Bay's top wicket-taker of the season, Joel Matthews, asked plenty of questions early on, taking two wickets in his fifth over, but the Indians recovered well to post an imposing total - even without the services of their top batsman, Bharat Popli, who was playing Hawke Cup cricket for the Bay of Plenty.

The 135-run win leaves the Indians at the bottom of the table but with renewed confidence for their remaining games. Indian opening batsmen Sanjay Unka said a few of the boys were in the dog box yesterday after a long night of celebrations.

"It's a pretty good feeling. A few of us celebrated into the night and it was great to get a win at the bone. "It was a wicket that if you got yourself in you could get set and score some runs."

East Bay did themselves no favours with the ball, with a total of 18 wides and five no-balls bowled in their 50 overs.

None of their batsmen stayed in the middle long enough to provide support for No 5 batsman T Yates, who was left stranded on 38 not out from 44 balls.

East Bay lost an early wicket and had looked to recover with a second wicket stand of 61 but lost their remaining 9 wickets for just 77 runs after a sublime spell of bowling from captain Prashant Dhanjee, ably supported by Praful Morarji, who took 3 wickets.

It was a fine all-round display by the Indians, who proved they could compete at the premiership level.

Bay of Plenty Indians 283 for 8 from 50 overs. B Das 23, S Bhimjiyani 96, P Dhanjee 92. S Ford 45 for 4 from 10 overs, J Matthews 53 for 2 from 10 overs; beat East Bay United 148 from 33.4 overs. M Carter 32, S Ford 24, T Yates 38 not out. P Dhanjee 5 for 32 from 10 overs, P Morarji 3 for 25 from 6.4 overs. Indians won by 135 runs.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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