Five runs to win with six balls to go – it seemed like a straightforward enough task for Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast’s premier league division three, but they hadn’t counted on Gareth Morgan and one of the most incredible and unlikely endings to a match in cricket history.
The Australian led his side to a highly improbable victory by taking six wickets in the final over, including that of a local sports reporter who had to cover the extraordinary feat.
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The Mudgeeraba premier third grade team’s cricket captain brought himself on to bowl near the end of the clash against Surfers Paradise on Saturday. Surfers Paradise needed five runs to win, with six wickets in hand.
“I didn’t want to let the winning runs come off the younger bowlers because they had bowled so well and didn’t want them to be down on themselves for it, if it was to happen,” Morgan told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“I knew I had a few overs spare up my sleeve, so I decided to bowl from that end and give one of our young quicks the other end.”
Although Surfers Paradise started the over in a good position at four for 174, they slumped spectacularly to be all out for 174, handing a miraculous four-run victory to Mudgeeraba. Morgan finished with figures of seven for 16.
The first batter to fall in the final over was local newspaper reporter Jake Garland, who was dismissed for 65. He said he started the over confident of victory.
“[Morgan] walked in, darted one but it was short enough for me to get plenty on it, middling it, flat and looked like it was sailing over the rope for six and the winning runs … for about half a second,” Garland wrote. “It went straight down deep mid-wicket’s throat.
“I couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t too worried, with five wickets left.”
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The second dismissal was again caught at mid-on, while Morgan’s hat-trick came via a sharp chance at short mid-wicket. His fourth, a catch to point.
By that time the game had swung towards Mudgeeraba, and Surfers Paradise needed five runs with just two wickets in hand. Morgan said he had to keep the team focused.
“All the players were jumping around celebrating and I just said to them that we are still one hit away from losing this,” he said.
In the end, Morgan did it himself. The fifth and sixth wickets were both bowled.
“It is funny, the umpire said to me at the start of the over that I needed to take a hat-trick or something to win the game,” the victorious captain said. “When it happened he just sort of looked at me.”
Garland said the collapse left his side in disbelief but the reporter was diplomatic in defeat.
“Gareth Morgan just claimed a quadruple hat-trick,” he said. “Take a bow captain Morgan.”
Morgan also top scored for Mudgeeraba, with 39 off 38 deliveries.