By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary). Cosmos, the Metropolitan Cricket League defending round robin champions had their hopes of achieving their fifth championship title and their fourth in the last five years foiled when a late afternoon thunderstorm dramatically changed the balance of the match and ultimately transformed the conclusion into a disappointed tight lipped affair when the final run was scored.

Kevin Darlington

Cosmos had gotten off to a good start with captain Dixeth Palmer leading the charge once again at 90 for 2 in the 15th over. Dennis Evans (24) lost his wicket in a terrible mixed up after he swiped at a ball he thought was a free-hit from an above waist no ball call previously. Morris Powell (16) then pushed loosely outside off stump and just as Ordelmo Peters (7) and Palmer (47) appeared settled, Peters, after the break, swiped at the first ball from Javien Thomas to short mid on. Palmer’s tempo was then sapped when he was left stranded at one end in the 40’s for sometime while his middle order batsmen failed to consolidate their inning by having every other business in mind except their purpose at the cease and eventually finding ways to fling their wickets away. He eventually lost his concentration and his wicket to a long hop.

At 177 for 5 in after 32 overs, cosmos was in an excellent position to accelerate their run rate and setting the opposition a possible score of about 220 runs. However, the heavens had another plan and darkened rapidly as cosmos tried to push for as many runs and loss two quick wickets in the process moments before the inevitable happen, the skies open to a thunderous downpour and heavy wind and all thought that the match was over. Ironically, it was only a year ago in the round robin semi final when similar circumstances had prevailed and cosmos had to get a target of 236 in 40 overs. Heavy over cast conditions then threatened to stop the match, however, after a few drops of drizzle the skies held up and cosmos managed to 218 for 4 in the 32nd over under some testy light conditions before bad light stopped play with cosmos well ahead of the required rate before and Westbury conceded defeat.

The interruption on this occasion brought the cosmos inning to a close on 178 for 7 in the 33rd over and toying with strategies of defending a reduced total. The tables had turned on this occasion and Westbury smiled sensing a possible victory at their revised target of getting 130 off 25 overs. Skipper Palmer was left to rue his spinner’s chances with a slippery ball but was confident that an early incision into the top order could create an opening and induced some panic into the opposition’s middle order.

An indiscipline opening four overs, too short and too wide, gave Westbury an early inroad into their target and further dampened cosmos confidence. When Kevin Darlington made the initial incision by picked up Donald Bennett (13) and when Dennison Thomas (9) was run out in the next over the opening was made. Cosmos needed the wicket of Barrington Barkley. Off spinner Mahindra Seeram induced a swipe from Barkley and Morris Powell settled under the catch at mid on and spilled not only the catch but the chances tuning this semi final into a fight to the end as Barkley went on to score 68 invaluable runs and Westbury achieved their target of 131 for 5 in the 21st over.

Cosmos leadership has shown the resolve throughout and remained undeterred as they pressed ahead. They continue to marshal along with manager Shadi Khan and coach Ashmul Ali and absorbed this semi final as they have done in the past like true champions and bowed out gracefully of another chance in the final. Captain Palmer one of the most dominant cricketers in the MCL over the years rallied with his vice captain Kevin Darlington satisfied that they have playing some brilliant cricket while completing to the end.

Good luck to Westbury and Progressive in the final.