Sunshine United is swaying at the precipice of the VTCA north west division top four.
The Tigers have some work to do to avoid going over the edge as they face Footscray United on the second day’s play at Selwyn Park on Saturday.
In a game most felt the Tigers could bank on, they found themselves in an uncomfortable position at stumps on day one, having frittered away a hot start.
The Tigers had a rock solid foundation of 0-82 approaching tea, but they lost all 10 wickets for 65 runs to be all out for 147.
“In hindsight, we would definitely have wanted a lot more, especially with the start that we got,” Tigers’ captain Neeten Chouhan said.
“Having said that, the outfield is slow and the wicket is playing slightly slower than normal, so it’s probably a par score, I would think.”
Chouhan led the way for Sunshine United with 54 off 104, including six fours – the only player to raise the bat for a half century on a tough day for batsmen. He featured in a superb 82-run stand with Daniel Pace, who made 31 off 142.
“We got off to a good start,” Chouhan said.
“We had to really make sure we got ourselves in before we start playing any attacking shots.”
Leigh Sheridan put up a bit of resistance for Sunshine United with 19 off 70 balls, while Henry Popinski hung in, making 16 off 54.
But the Tigers’ progress came to a halt when Footscray United leg spinner Mohammed Pardesi snared 5-53 off 29.1 overs, including the big wicket of Chouhan.
Yaditha Ushan bowled tirelessly for the Bulldogs as well, taking 3-40 off 26 overs.
“They had two really good bowlers, who bowled quite long spells,” Chouhan said.
With a number of teams snapping at Sunshine United’s heels, this is simply a must win game, particularly against a bottom side on the ladder that has yet to notch up a win.
“Every game is important, and this game is just as important,” Chouhan said.
“Regardless of the team’s position, we need to make sure we are playing at our best.
“It’s just about making sure we stick to our disciplines and worry about what we can control.”