By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 34th Anniversary – Match #1038):- Cosmos gave a somewhat uncharacteristic response to an imposing Islandwide outfit when the two teams met at Van Courtland Park last Sunday. That has been the story for most of the season thus far for Cosmos. It is, however, one of the defining features of good club; that you go through the years, in Cosmos case decades, sometimes you ride at the top and at other times you remained steadfast and roll through a season while allowing the younger players to gain valuable experience.
A good 81-run opening partnership between John Ross Campbell and Aldine Thomas, after Islandwide won the toss and elected to bat, gave the visitors a solid start, but not before both openers had survived chances at extra-cover. It wasn’t until the 13th over that the breakthrough came when wicketkeeper Daniel Chuninlal took a regulation catch to remove Thomas off Sham Ali.
After the break, the two teenagers Imrul Hasib (left-arm orthodox), and Daniel Chuninlal (right-arm off-spinner) kept pegging away, and in tandem they picked up another two wickets, but Campbell was still there pushing along. With the score on 109 for 3 in the 22nd overs, Cosmos had managed to maintain a balance in the match, but this a ‘new franchise’ Islandwide team enjoying their first half-life, and their middle order has some value.
Hasib returned for a second spell and managed to pick up three wickets. He drew Campbell (77) forward with a well flighted delivery that spun passed Campbell’s outside edge as D. Chuninlal pulled off a neat stumping. He then had Gary Maturin (22) caught on the mid-on boundary, and another when Kevin Prince ran in and held on to a good catch to remove R. Allen (35).
Islandwide though had managed to accumulate another 130 runs in their last 13 overs when their inning closed on a imposing 240 for 6 off the allotted 35 overs. I. Hasib took 4 for 52, S. Ali 1 for 36, and R. Kissoon 1 for 32.
The Cosmos inning was balanced on Rasheem James who has been a one man show this season, and he can be, given his towering figure. He has carried the weight of Cosmos batting all season so far, while the youngsters are trying to get a ‘footing’ on this level of competition, and they will get better.
But for now it is James showing up at times of crisis. He was ably supported by Alex Chuninlal who showed some grit and maturity, at 15 yrs old, to remain not out on 9 while James brought up his 50 with a huge maximum. James is a cool character in times of crisis who exhumed an unbridled calmness and allows himself the occasional smile of defiance, but such crisis has occurred with regularity this season, and for the most part James appeared impervious to anything that life, or the opposition, may throw at him whilst sporting a no-name tree-trunk bat.
He batted with authority and stroked his way to a solid 75 runs before he slapped a long-hop to the man at mid-off to end an excellent inning as Cosmos could only manage to 109 for 9 off the allotted 35 overs.
Cosmos will play Pioneer next week at Van Courtland Park.