By Sam Sooppersaud
It was the Clash of the Titans!  The 2010 PSAL Champions, William Bryant, doing battle with the 2008 and 2009 winners, Newcomers Lions.  Nothing less was expected but a slugfest and a slugfest we had.
(Photo Gallery of the game)

Newcomers High School skipper Mahbubul Chowdhury during his exciting knock 90 that included 9 sixes and 6 fours. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

It was a feast for the batsmen, as they bombarded the offerings of the bowlers with sixes and fours to all parts of the ground and over the fences.  The war zone was the Cage (cricket field) in Richmond Hill, New York; the battle was fought on Friday, April 15, 2011.

At the start of the game when Newcomers won the toss and decided to take first strike, it appeared that the bowlers would dominate the contest. Even when Bryant came in to bat, the bowlers took the upper hand immediately. But the bowlers rendezvous with success was short lived as the batsmen thrashed whatever was offered, send red missiles flying over the fence unto Foch Boulevard or crashing unto the fences around the field.

It was the Newcomers big hitters who first set up the tempo. Then Bryant at their bat took up where the Newcomers boys left off.  It was an awesome and exciting display of power hitting that anyone would ever see in a Twenty/20 game.

An elated Bryant HS player after taking a catch on the boundary. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

The wicket at The Cage has a history of being a batsman’s paradise and it lived up to its reputation in this game.  Newcomers won the toss and Skipper Gazi Rahman decided to take first strike. The Bryant bowlers were not deterred by the fact that the wicket favors the batsmen. They set upon the opposing batsmen with a purpose. They immediately seized the advantage as they sent back four (4) batsmen to the showers in the space of seven (7) overs and with only thirty-three (33) runs on the books. Bryant was definitely on top and they pressed on.

Then, walked in power hitter, Mahbubul Chowdhury, and how quickly fortunes changed!

A little refresher. It was Chowdhury who brought back his team from the brink of disaster when Newcomers won their last PSAL championship in 2009. They were batting at 57 runs for 6 wickets with 3 overs left. Within the next 9 balls that he faced he clobbered 33 runs and gave his team a somewhat respectable total, which eventually they were able to defend.

Now, back to the Bryant-Newcomers game.  Chowdhury set the tone for his assault on the hapless bowlers by sending the first ball he faced over the long on boundary onto Foch Boulevard. He did not let up but continued his massacre of anything red that came his way. By the time he was bowled with one (1) ball to go in the innings he had amassed ninety (90) runs which included nine (9) 6’s and six (6) 4’s. Indeed, a dominant performance. He was ably supported by Skipper Rahman who scored 24 runs. Chowdhury scored 76 runs out of a 5th wicket partnership of 90 runs. The Newcomers innings closed at 173 runs for the loss of 8 wickets.

The Bryant batsmen took up where the Newcomers batsmen left off.  They lost a wicket in the second over with the score on 7 runs. But the celebrations of the Newcomers players and supporters were short lived as Newcomers did not claim another Bryant wicket until the score was 158 runs. The second wicket pair of Hasis Ahmed and Syed Hussein decimated the Newcomers bowling attack to the tune of 151 runs. Together they put on a fireworks display for the players and few spectators who were cheering each lofty drive for a 6 or a 4.

Haseeb was eventually caught for 41 runs, but by this time Bryant were well on their way to victory road. Saeed brought the spoils home by deservedly hitting the winning run; and he made a hard hitting 70 runs Not Out. With this winning run on the board the Bryant players and supporters exploded onto the cricket field in jubilant celebrations and they certainly earned that exuberance. Needless to say the Newcomers boys were disappointed and dejected. They felt that they had a large enough score which they could defend but their bowlers let them down, along with some superb batting by the Bryant batsmen.

This is the beauty and uncertainty of Twenty/20 cricket. No score is safe from the onslaught of opposing batsmen.  The PSAL invites cricket lovers to come out and watch the youngsters in action. They are our cricket future.