Etihad beat favourites in Phuket Sixes
The plot for finals day became much clearer on day three of the Phuket International Cricket Sixes, as Leeming Spartans, Etihad Airways and Bahrain Camels eased through to the Cup semi-finals.
23 teams from eleven countries are competing for honours at this fifth annual Phuket Sixes, winner of the ICC Global Award for cricket development.
Etihad had a wonderful day today, beating both Corner Tigers of Pakistan and one of the form teams, Lamma CC of Hong Kong. The Tigers were restricted to a meagre 60 against the pumped-up Airways, with only Imran Idrees making his mark with a classy 35 not out. Etihad then knocked off the total without losing a wicket with 4 balls to spare, Azam retiring on 30 and Sanket – the dangerous left-hander - not out on 18. Then Etihad defeated Lamma CC, knocking off a challenging target of 79 to win with both Azam and Sanket again getting in the runs. Sher Lama had retired on 30 not out for the Hong Kong outfit. Lamma later defeated Corner Tigers to keep their hope alive of a place in the semi finals Sunday.
In Plate action The Entertainers faced the biggest challenge of the day as they chased the Uni Wanderers total of 105, the biggest score of the day. They gave it their all, but ran out of overs still 34 runs short of the target. Both Mark Parry and Trevor Higgins had retired for the Wanderers, each making an unbeaten 31.
The Plate semi-finals will now be played by Uni Wanderers, Weraroa CC from New Zealand, Toorak Prahan CC of Melbourne and the Entertainers as the doctors of the Delhi Medical Association and the Calcutta Old Boys both missed the cut.
The Bowl and Spoon divisions are still open with Wild Men from Borneo looking good in the Bowl and Gauhati Town from India playing well in the Spoon.
An entertaining Twenty20 match was won on Friday night by the Trevor Chappell XI over Kenny Jackson's World XI at the Karon Stadium. A raucous crowd applauded and barracked for three hours as twenty two of the best players in the tournament battled for pride and for charity under floodlights in what was a wonderfully atmospheric evening.
Finals Day gets underway at 9.15am with a Cup fixture featuring the Liquid Lounge Lizards and Calcutta Cricket & Football Club in what will be a decider for the final place in the Cup semi-finals.
Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo