Atlantis Cricket Club – NY with a 4-1 record hosted Progressive Cricket Club also with a 4-1 record, last Sunday at Floyd Bennett Cricket Ground, Brooklyn, NY. It was a Father’s Day made for cricket, as wives, girlfriends and others came out, along with their offspring, to watch the ensuing battle of two of the top teams in the Metropolitan League’s 2017 Clement “Busta” Lawrence Premier League season.
At close of play with the sun gently settling beyond the western horizon, Atlantis quietly progressed to 5-1 with a 158-run victory over Progressive, and behind the bats of Alex Amsterdam, 123, and Prashanth Nair, 67 not out. The two batsmen emerged from the shadows and shared a 175 run partnership. It was a progressive partnership that climbed out of the hole with which Atlantis had found itself earlier.
Winning the toss and electing to occupy the middle first, Atlantis was in trouble early with the loss of Henderson Blades for 9 caught Patrick Dewar off the bowling of Mikhail Miller, with the score on 13. Blades’ departure only made way for the arrival and departure of the next two batsmen – Dwayne Smith, 1, c. Kevil George b. John Sylvester, and Randall Wilson, b. John Sylvester without scoring. With the departure of the latter two, the Atlantis total was dangling at 29 for 3 in a north westerly wind, and the temperature hovering in the mid-80s.
It would be up to opener Francis Mendonca and Atlantis’ club captain Alex Amsterdam, along with the rest of the line-up to post a decent total. Mendonca would fall for 25 (29 balls) with the score on 44. He was trapped LBW by John Sylvester, as Atlantis struggled to elicit 50 runs from their top-order batsmen. Mendonca shared some 28 runs with Amsterdam, prior to departing, and Prashanth Nair teaming up with the USA national player and Atlantis club captain Alex Amsterdam. The two batsmen would occupy the middle for another 175 runs before Amsterdam, 123 off 95 deliveries exited; his first 100 runs coming off 86 balls. He added 23 before he was bowled; becoming the fourth batsman to fall to the crafty John Sylvester.
While Amsterdam was readjusting the Atlantis match position and striking 20x4s, Prashanth Nair at the other end was providing valuable companionship, stroking 2x6s and a solitary boundary, but amassing a quiet 67 not out off of 76 deliveries. Nair’s knock was a lesson in how simple ones and twos, and rotating the strike could add to a team’s total, without attempting to lift every delivery over the far beyond. Despite Amsterdam’s fantastic ton, a lot of the Atlantis victory should be credited to Nair for providing the support to Amsterdam. Nair helped to ease the strain and stress from the shoulders of the more experienced batsman Amsterdam. Had Nair not stayed with Amsterdam, Atlantis could have seen the loss of more wickets, including that of Amsterdam in an effort to post a more formidable total.
Just before the Amsterdam/Nair partnership, Atlantis saw the brief arrival and departure of match skipper Treon Forde, 7 off 15 deliveries. He was a c&b victim of Progressive’s skipper Troy Baptiste with the score at 72, and Keon Lake making a cameo appearance for 2 runs off of 2 balls, bowled by Troy Baptiste three runs later. The pivotal partnership of Amsterdam and Nair helped to progressively turn things around in Atlantis’ favor, and the resulting victory. Nair, 67 and Greg Robinson, 1, would emerge not out, with the score at 253 for 7 at the end of 40 0vers.
The Atlantis wickets fell at 13, 29, 29, 44, 72, 75 and 250. Bowling for Progressive: John Sylvester 8-0-46-4, Troy Baptiste 8-0-34-2 and Mikhail Miller 8-0-43-1. Extras contributed 18.
With the wind and the sun a little more forgiving, Progressive took to the middle facing an asking rate of 6.35 runs per over. Though not an insurmountable ask, it would still be an uphill task. As the familiar saying goes – those (253) runs were already made. In addition, the heat, despite the wind, may have taken a bit of a toll on the Progressive players. However, it is bright and sunny conditions like last Sunday at Floyd Bennett, that cricketers crave for all season.
Thus the scene was set, and with a sizable crowd on hand to witness the second half of the contest, Atlantis opened with Greg Robinson from the north western end and Dillon Bourne from the south eastern end. The two quickies dealt with the windy conditions admirably. The opening pair of bowlers conceded just 19 runs off of their combined first eight overs, including one maiden and the wicket of Kevil George bowled Greg Robinson with the score on 11. Another seven runs later Robinson would strike twice more, pulling Progressive into a deep spin dive at 21 for 3, with the departure of Dervin Morand, 4, caught F. Mendonca b. G. Robinson, and John Sylvester caught A. Amsterdam off the bowling of Robinson for 6.
Pacer Greg Robinson, Atlantis’ 2016 MVP, coming off a 1 for 74 spell the previous week against Pioneer Cricket Club, seemed determined to redeem himself, and he did so admirably, ending up with 4 for 45 off 8 overs.
Falling considerably behind the required run rate, Progressive was desperate to post runs to the board, however, they kept losing wickets along the way, and found it virtually impossible to build the partnerships necessary to salvage the situation. Progressive lost its first six wickets for 30 runs. It was hardly the fight expected. With the exception of a 56-run combined contribution from Durale Forest, 40 off 36 balls (1×6, 5x4s) c. Greg Robinson b. Kevin Darlington, and Germaine Allen, 16, (2x4s) c. Keon Lake b. Dillon Bourne; the rest of the team folded for 39 runs, including 11 Extras.
The Progressive wickets fell at 11, 18, 21, 28, 28, 30, 71, 88, 93, and 95. Bowling for Atlantis: G. Robinson 8-0-45-4, D. Bourne 8-2-23-3, K. Lake 3.5-1-12-2 and K. Darlington 4-0-10-1.
Atlantis progressed to 5-1 and Progressive dropped to 4-2. Atlantis meets the highly competitive Villagers Cricket Club this Sunday at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY. Match time 12:30 PM.