Philippines: Manila Sixes on this Saturday

The main event of the Filipino cricket season takes place on Saturday when six teams contest the annual Manila Sixes

Two Bahrain-based teams representing Gulf Air will join four teams from the local expatriate community, including three from the hub of Manila cricket, Nomads Cricket Club.

The teams are split into two groups of three, playing a round-robin, before the top two in each group play the runner-up in the other group in the semi-final. Last place getters in eac group play off for the wooden spoon.

On Sunday, an 11-a-side match will take place between Nomads CC and Gulf Air.

Manila Sixes detailsLeague A: ANZACS, Cavaliers, Gulf Air (2)League B: Rest of the World, Gulf Air (1), Yorkshire
Saturday 10th March 2001 9.00am ROW vs. Yorkshire; 9.45am Cavaliers vs. Gulf (2); 10.30am Yorkshire vs. Gulf (1); 11.15am ANZACS vs. Gulf (2); 12.00pm Gulf (1) vs. ROW; 12.45pm Cavaliers vs. ANZACs. Semi-final 1: 1.30pm Winner League B vs. Runner-up League A; Semi-final 2: 2.15pm Winner League A vs. Runner-up League B Wooden Spoon Decider: 3.00pm Third placed teams play-off 3rd-4th Place Play-Off: 3.45pm Loser semi-final 1 vs. Loser semi-final 2 Final: 4.30pm Winner semi-final 1 vs. Winner semi-final 2

Meanwhile, Manila Nomads won its second game in succession with an 11 run win over AIM in Manila on Sunday, February 25.

Bill Bailey provides this match report:

Sunday 25 February 2001 saw another meeting of the Manila Nomads and AIM at the Nomads Stadium. Despite the all-round excellence of AIM captain, Pankraj, the Nomads grabbed victory by 11 runs in a close and tense climax to an enthralling game.

Nomads cricket section head Hartley, claimed one of his regular Sunday morning illnesses and the reigns were handed to the returning and much maligned Bailey.

The Nomads skipper got his side off to the best possible start with a comprehensive winning of the toss and an election to take first knock on what looked to be a green but even surface.

In a subtle change of direction, Nomads opened with the prolific Barker and the somewhat de-railed Faisal. This dashing duo set the Nomads on the right path from the word go, with the added responsibility of opening proving to be the perfect catalyst for Faisal. A mixture of application, sharp running and controlled aggression saw the opening partnership realise 39 runs before Faisal holed out to deep mid-wicket from a rather high full-toss for a well-made 28.

Hartley joined Barker at the wicket and was lucky to be there at all after just 3 balls. The batsman felt that he had faint-edged his first ball to the keeper which was grassed and then lobbed a simple chance to short mid-wicket with his third - that this chance was not claimed was to prove costly for AIM. The fourth ball to Hartley was driven straight down the ground for 4 and that set the tone.

Barker moved remorselessly towards yet another retirement, content for much of the time to accumulate his average in singles. However, as confidence grew, he began to use his feet to the bowling and played the shot of the day by turning a length ball into a half-volley and crashing it off his toes through wide mid-on.

His retirement came at 38*, but this was far from the last that we were to see of Barker in the day.

Undeterred by the early losses of Powell and Wadds Jnr, Hartley (38 retired) motored on and was given excellent support from Smith (22) who played an aggressive and energy-sapping innings at no. 6. With the exception of the excellent leg-spinner, Gana, there was little that troubled the Nomads' batsmen during the middle of the innings.

On the retirement of Hartley, Paling (12) came in to play another important innings that kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely. However, the introduction of the captain, Pankraj, to the attack changed the course of the innings dramatically. With deceptive and regular changes of pace, he cleaned up the lower Nomads order and finished with the startling figures of 5-29 from 5 overs.

Only Wadds Snr (11*) was able to deal with the pressure and again comprehensively outscored his son. The returning Barker continued where he left off and moved his score to 47* before the innings closed at 178 from the alloted 30 overs.

During the innings break the Nomads skipper carefully weighed up tactics and made the bold move of opening the bowling with Barker and himself. The AIM innings could not have got off to a worse start - an array of rash shots saw wickets tumble in rapid succession. Bailey took 3, Barker 2 and a run-out, engineered by the fleet-footed Learmonth ensured there were 6 wickets down at the 10 over mark.

However, by that stage, Pankraj had arrived at the crease and demonstrated that he meant business with the bat as well. Bailey and Barker had already suffered with good-length balls sailing into the car park and beyond. He rapidly moved to the retirement mark of 35 and had set the run-rate ahead of schedule. The change bowling of Hartley (1 wicket), Paling (1 wicket) and Learmonth did their job well. When Pankraj returned, some 72 runs were required with plenty of overs, but only two wickets remaining. The other batsman, Nishant was struggling with leg cramp and required the services of a runner.

The game now turned into a tactical battle with Bailey looking to his strike bowlers, Wadds Jnr and Faisal, to take the attack to the opposition and the AIM batsmen changing their approach, gloves, bats, shoelaces and headgear at regular intervals. Pankraj (62) hit some more mighty blows, but chanced his arm once too often at Faisal and sent a huge skier out to mid-off, where Wadds Jnr took an exceptional catch at full-tilt. This piece of magic in the field seemed to be the turning point as some 42 runs were still required and AIM were down to last-man-stand with only the injured Nishant at the crease.

He placed his shots well and chipped away at the target. The running from the substitute runners was excellent and the Nomads, for once, began to look a little ragged in the field. With just 12 runs required for victory, the irrepressible Wadds Jnr in his last over, produced the perfect ball that nipped back and clean bowled Nishant for a valiant 37.

Two Nomads victories on the trot and another excellent day of cricket was had by all.