In what turned out to be a nerve-jangling second day’s play, Sunshine found a way to overcome a stubborn Williamstown Imperials in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association division 2 semi-final at Dempster Park on Sunday.
The Crows took a long time to shake off the typical nervousness and apprehension that faces a batting side chasing a small score in a cut-throat final, but they eventually found a way to win by four wickets.
“It was pretty intense cricket to be honest,” Sunshine captain Troy Stone said.
“We turned up needing 40 runs to win and it took us 30 overs to get them.
“It was good, tough hard cricket from both sides.”
Williamstown Imperials were so confident in the pitch that it won the toss and batted.
Stone described the deck as batsmen-friendly and would not have been too fussed if his side was sent in to bat.
The Imperials did not cope well at all on the first day though, all out for 85 in 49.4 overs.
“The scores don’t tell the story,” Stone said.
“It was an absolute road, the wicket, on both days.
“It was just good bowling from both sides to be honest.”
Stone praised his opening bowlers Josh Michetti and Charith Fernando.
Michetti, in particular, was a constant thorn in the side of Williamstown Imperials.
He continued his recent strong form with the ball to take 4-21 off 14 overs. Since Christmas, Michetti has taken 10 wickets at 8.2.
“He was outstanding,” Stone said.
“He’s been under bowled most of the season and I put it on him to open the bowling.
“Since then he’s taken a three-for and a four-for, he’s bowling a consistent line and length, outside off stump, making them play.”
Fernando finished with 2-26 off 12 overs.
Similar to Michetti, Fernando squeezed the life out of the Williamstown Imperials batsmen.
“He’s someone I can turn to and he’ll be very reliable,” Stone said.
“He’s averaging under 10 with the ball, which is outstanding.”
Sunshine made hard work of its run chase. The Crows scored at a snail-paced 1.54 run per over, taking 56.4 overs to chase down the 86 target.
Stone believes the occasion got to some of the batsmen on both sides.
“Some guys tend to go in their shells and play a little bit defensive in finals,” he said.
“That resulted in a low-scoring game.”
Given the small target, Sunshine could afford to take the shine off the ball and work into its innings.
It played into the hands of Crows opener Sam Magnano, who is noted for his incredible patience. Magnano finished with 25 off 138.
“He always chews up balls and takes time out of the game,” Stone said.
“In that situation, he was outstanding.”
Matthew Taaffe was the other Sunshine batsman who provided nuisance value. He finished with 16 not out off 91 balls to guide the Crows to victory.
Two late fours from Fernando was the icing on a sweet cake.
Sunshine has a chance to make it two flags in two years and standing in its way will be Point Cook. As the Crows finished on top, they will have hosting rights for the grand final.
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