The Ray White AKG – Alan Kuss backed Cane Toads LMS have qualified for this coming Sunday’s Grand Final day, following a thrilling victory over The Trouble Makers at Malling Park on Sunday. Their charge led by a brilliant 52 from 18 deliveries by raising star Mitchell Le Prou.
One has to ask themselves if there is nothing Mitchell Le Prou can’t do. Notching yet another half-century for the Alan Kuss backed Cane Toads LMS side, his 52 from 18 balls coming at a strike rate of 288.89 and including two boundaries and four sixes.
It wasn’t just the innings that was important it was the context – the Cane Toads were struggling early in their run chase after being set 164 for victory, after the Cane Toads elected to field first.
Things looked ominous for the Cane Toads earlier in the contest when while fielding first they struggled to get the breakthroughs they needed to stem the flow of runs.
Brett Hayward and Jason Hart dominated the early proceedings, taking the time to get their eye in against the opening line up of Mitch Le Prou and Evan Gudge.
The pace of the opening Cane Toads bowlers both working in their favour, with the batsmen sometimes hurried for their shots or caught off guard, or against them with the ball catching the edge and flying to the boundary on the Malling Street Oval.
As has become part of the enjoyment of Last Man Stands cricket despite the match being an Elimination final the game was played in good spirits, friendly banter – primarily between our own players, and with the aim of having fun.
When the usual wicket takers failed to make early in roads the skipper turned to Yarrabilba Cricket Association President Brendon McCoy to bowl through a quick over. It was then that Hayward skied a ball back early in the over to the President who put the opportunity.
This proved costly as both Hayward (53 from 33) and Hart (50 from 34) continued to find the boundary as the fielding tired, as the match look to slip away from the Cane Toads.
It was then that a delivery was smashed by Hart towards wide long off looked destined to reach the boundary was stopped by the President, otherwise known as ‘The X Factor’, who dove at fall strength in which Cane Toads LMS skipper Callum Whiting would later describe as “majestic as f**k from where I was standing, stopping the ball and keeping it to just two runs.
With Hayward retiring at the end of the over after reaching 53 from 33 deliveries, including four boundaries and two sixes, Mick Mckay was the new man in and struggled to get the ball away.
McCoy was called upon to bowl again, with tight bowling the breakthrough soon came for The X Factor bowling the new batsman for seven from 10 deliveries.
It would however be the only joy for the Cane Toads bowlers, who would be the first to admit they under performed, as Hart retired for 50 from 34 deliveries, Nathan Zveglic (32 from 15) and skipper Leith Carroll (16 from 16) were the not out batters as The Trouble Makers set an imposing one for 163 from their 20 overs.
As reported earlier, Callum Whiting notched his 1000th LMS run in under 50-games, when he opened the Yarrabilba Cane Toads batting alongside Gavin Andrews, who himself has scored almost 2300-runs in total LMS Cricket, and had navigated his way to 14 from as many deliveries before he became the first man out.
The celebrating of the breakthrough was short lived however as Mitch Le Prou came to the crease – Le Prou blasted a staggering 52 from 18 deliveries, including two boundaries and four sixes at a strike rate of 288.89, and this came after not timing his first couple of balls faced and becoming frustrated with himself.
Gavin Andrews looked set to bring up his half century also, until he was “one short”, and had his innings brought to an end on 49 from 32 deliveries – including six boundaries. It was not long before Le Prou was forced to retire upon reaching his fifty leaving two relatively new batters at the crease in Daniel Muller and Evan Gudge.
While the scoreboard remained a problem the pair were good together and had kept the Cane Toads in the hunt after they had slipped behind the required run rate – nerves began to grow however when Gudge was caught, his innings of 11 from 10 deliveries, coming to an end.
Almost more importantly Muller was able to steal two-valuable runs in the process of Gudge being dismissed, meaning the Cane Toads required 12 runs for victory off 11 balls.
Daniel Muller, the Yarrabilba Cane Toads 2020 Player of the Year, continued his fine form showing why he is a crucial piece to the Cane Toads middle order, was joined by Brendon McCoy, who was still struggling to breath from the early dive in what would later to be discovered resulted in two broken ribs.
Muller had made his way to 26 from 23 deliveries, including a boundary and a six, to do his part to get the Cane Toads to within victory – but with five-runs required off five balls for victory McCoy struggled to get bat to ball, and thus Muller on strike for the first two deliveries of the final over.
McCoy finally managed to get bat on ball, however with match awareness of what was needed the batting duo ran two – unable to take the third.
The next ball McCoy square cut, some on a bad angle may say edged – but those with front row seats remember it as an elegant square cut, that went for four – the winning runs with two balls to spare.
Muller was not out on 26 from 23, McCoy not out on 10 from seven.
The win moving the Cane Toads into an Elimination Match against Ump Yours on Sunday 25th at Malling Park Oval at 9am, a win will see them play that afternoon at 2pm in the Grand Final.
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