By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 42nd Anniversary – Match #1183):- Akash Rahim kept his cool and played a steady hand on a tricky track as Cosmos scampered home to a 6-wicket victory in a last over thriller over Phoenix last Sunday at Baisley Pond Park in the New York National Cricket League Deo & Sons T20 competition.
Rahim, one of Cosmos’s young guns, was obviously in some discomfort after suffering a groin injury in the first inning when he slipped on the damp outfield, but he soaked up his pain and showed his ability to create some highlights as he rallied deep into the inning and posted a crucial 27-runs partnership with Devindra Balgobin.
Phoenix bowled a tight line in defense of a reasonable 112 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs on a tricky wicket with patches of wet areas on the matting. Both teams were there to play at 10am, and we did, even though, play was possible only from one end. Himalaya Darji made a crucial 34-ball 37 with 4 4’s, A. Mohamed got 20, and S. Sookdeo got 12. S. Ali took 2 for 23, D. Palmer 2 for 28, while, D. Chunilall, G. Shangie and A. Rahim took 1 wicket each for 24, 12, 22, respectively.
But Phoenix was ably led by S. Sookdeo in a fight to the end as Cosmos kept loosing wickets at crucial times at 12 for 2 in the 3rd over, and the 39 for 3 in the 8th over. Rahim however kept is head and the inning in balance with three crucial mini partnerships. The first, 22 runs, with Daniel Chunilall who added some momentum to the inning with a breezy 15-ball 26 runs before Chunilall tried to cut or do something to pitched-up a faster ball, 61 for 4 in 9.1 overs, then a 24 runs with Dixeith Palmer before Palmer holed out on the mid-off boundary, 85 for 5 in 16 overs.
The hard-hitting Kevin Balgobin joined Rahim and they kept Cosmos in the hunt while the Cosmos camp was looking a bit worried with 27 runs needed in 3 overs and then 22 runs needed in the last in 2 overs. Rahim though was still there and was playing a rather watchful knock thus far until he switched gears in the 19th over that was bowled by S. Raghubir. Two singles from the first two balls, the 3rd was slightly shorter and, Rahim picked it perfectly and dispatched it over mid-wicket for a huge six. The next ball was a faster one, but Raghubir missed his length and delivered juicy full toss, Rahim was equal to the task and feasted on it for a stress-reliever, tension-breaker maximum. With eight runs to get in the final over Balgobin wanted to be in the match highlights, he flicked one to the square leg boundary and suddenly the boys took in all the oxygen they can. Rahim then slashed another to the cover point boundary to let the oxygen out and give his team a nice win.
It was nice to see the hardworking NYNCL president Ramesh Arunsalam at the park as he make the rounds to ensure that all is well at the cricket ground. This league president is a strong personality. And after listening to what he has to say about the season so far, clearly, he does not minced words, or appeared as someone who would cower to or influenced by anyone who will try to cheapen the administration of the league’s business or intimidated by any attempt to blight the future of the NYNCL. He takes the interest of the teams and his league seriously while he still takes the time to enjoy the cricket, refreshments and shared a few good laughs with the boys.