The Chiang Mai Senior League is proving to be a highly exciting competition with the title decided on net run-rate in the last two years, and the league is even more closely contested in 2015/16 after a brilliant 140 from Ubaid took CMCC to a convincing 72-run victory over Lamphun at Royals.
This result means that all four teams in the league have four points having played two, won one, lost one with the order again being determined by net run-rate. The two remaining matches will see Lanna play CMCC and Lanna Thais face Lamphun with every team still able to win the league depending on the results.
The match between CMCC's veterans and Lamphun's juniors was enriched by a wonderful innings by Ubaid who is building a case to be regarded as the best batsman in Chiang Mai. He is sometimes susceptible to an early dismissal but he played with care against the new ball before beginning to send anything short well over the modest square boundaries at Royals.
Lamphun had claimed two early wickets as both Por and Chanchai hit the stumps to remove the openers but this never looked likely to happen to Ubaid as he was compact in his defence against anything straight and pitched up but merciless on anything short and wide. Unfortunately, there was plenty of short bowling for him to feast upon as he hit 11 fours and 12 sixes as the boys had long distances to fetch the ball time and time again.
Burhan struggled to find the middle of his bat apart from hitting one straight six but he battled on to make 26 in a partnership of 162 for the third wicket. Ubaid had only faced 67 balls to make his 140 when he was caught by Choo off the bowling of Beer with the total on 195 for 4.
It was a good effort from Lamphun to bowl out 10-man CMCC as the rest of the batting was nowhere near up to Ubaid's standards. Tanveer made 26 before he was last out with the score on 255 in the 30th over. Chanchai struggled with his line against left-handed Ubaid but bowled well against the right-handers to finish with 2 for 30 and Por bowled with pace to take 3 for 37, but Lamphun suffered from the absence of Cher who was taking an exam.
Lamphun clearly needed a good start from openers Bunchuai and Chanchai and they had shared a partnership of 52 when Chanchai was caught at mid-off for 26 which was a disappointing end to a sensible innings with several classy drives. Bunchuai was quick to punish the short ball but could not do so as productively as Ubaid had so Lamphun were falling behind the rate when he was out for 35, Ubaid taking the catch.
Champ and Por don't often get the chance to take centre stage but they both batted impressively as they built a partnership of 82 for the third wicket that was ended when Por was caught behind for 42. There was then a chaotic passage of play when Champ and Beem both retired hurt after the same ball, Beer and Ton were then both out for ducks, and Champ was dismissed first ball on his return for 40. Beem then also came back to the crease to complete a taxing day for the scorers. Pin and Puy were up to the task as Lamphun finished on 183 for 6 as CMCC won by 72 runs.
Man of the day Ubaid also bowled six overs, taking the new ball in his first spell then trying out his left-arm spin at the end, but he finished wicketless as Arshid took 2 for 35 and Aasif 3 for 16 in a comfortable win for CMCC which means that all four teams in the league are still in contention for the final.
CMCC 255 (29.3 overs)
Ubaid 140, Burhan 26, Tanveer 26; Chanchai 2 for 30, Por 3 for 37
Lamphun 183 for 6 (30 overs)
CMCC won by 72 runs
Bunchuai 35, Chanchai 26, Champ 40, Por 42; Arshid 2 for 35, Aasif 3 for 16