Akash Rahim
Akash Rahim hit 54 and shared a 69 runs partnership with Devindra Balgobin. Photo by Sham Ali

By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 43rd Anniversary – Match #1194):-
On a day when Cosmos produced one of their best performances with the bat this season, they chose to take the opposite route on the field. It was one of those ‘entertaining days’ (if you can call it that) under bright sunshine at Randalls Island as Cosmos won the toss and elected to bat.

Opening batsmen Devon McCarthy and Shane Singh got off to a steady start of 25 runs off 3 overs. McCarthy opened his account with a dismissive pull to the square leg boundary and followed up with a crisp on-drive. It looks like it will be his day, but then he cut the next ball to point and took off without any regard for his partner at the non-striker’s end. Three consecutively confident stroke, and a hair-brained call for a risky run, and as a result, he ended up in the pavilion at a slower speed talking to the wind.

Yudesh Shivpersaud (17) got going before he played back to a full delivery and lost his off-stump. Soon after, S. Singh (8) then attempted to burst the clouds giving mid-off a simple catch, and A. Chunilall (12) followed the same with a heave and got a nick behind. All that drama occurred within ten overs of absolutely poor shot selection, and Cosmos found themselves at 74 for 4.

Cosmos needed a partnership, and Akash Rahim and Davindra Balgobin provided the platform as they began to repair the inning with a solid 5th wicket partnership. That partnership was an encouraging sign of a young team that is learning the ropes. Rahim, playing a steady hand, took a liking of the cover point boundary playing a few delectable square cuts, even though, his lungs appeared to be a little ‘clogged’ and he was somewhat out-of-breath. Balgobin looked composed for the first time this season stroking the ball with authority. He unleashed three vicious pull over mid-wicket boundary and provided good support to his partner.

Devindra Balgobin
Devindra Balgobin during his knock of 35 Photo by Sham Ali

The partnership swelled to 69 runs, and Cosmos were in good command of the match at 143 for 4 in the 23rd over, and seemed poised for a late inning explosion. But then Balgobin on 35 runs (2-4s, 3-6s)) committed the unthinkable (he is probably talking too much to Devon). He push to mid-off and took off while Rahim stood glued and unmoved at the non-striker’s end trying to grasp a taste of oxygen. It is often tough for Balgobin to make an about-turn, and that resulted in another hair-brained run-out. Y. Ramgobin was the next man in, and he then pushed upishly to cover. At a crucial stage of the match Cosmos limped through five overs as Galacticos ceased the initiative to hold the match in a balance.

A good 7th wicket partnership of 30 runs in 3 overs between yours truly and Rahim gave the inning some respectability. Rahim brought up his first half-century for the season before he played a tired swipe and went for a well played 54 (7’4s, 1’6). Cosmos inning closed on a competitive 192 for 7 off their allotted 30 overs. P. DeChaud took 2 for 27, N. Hhemka, A. Wanchoo, and A. Bashkaran took 1 for 46, 38, and 27 respectively.

This was first time this season that Cosmos posted a total which they felt that they could defend, and off-spinner S. Singh boost their confidence when he got the early breakthrough in the 2nd over. In the next over from S. Ali, S. Junaid skied a pull that resulted in indecision between wicketkeeper and leg-gully as both men stood watching the ball as it came down and landed between them.

It was too early in the inning to predict how costly that missed opportunity would be, but as the match progressed, it was evidently clear that that set the tone as Cosmos team seems to find a way to script their own disappointments. Another seven chances were spilled off the same batsman, Junaid, and he ensured that Cosmos paid dearly. He spanked an aggressive 88 off just 58 balls that included 6-4’s and 7-6’s, before he was finally caught (yep, one did stick) with the score on 158 for 2 in 20th over.

At that stage, Galacticos were in command of the match, and Cosmos appeared flat and wounded. A. Bashkaran (52) and H. Sundaragopalan (20) took Galacticos to a convincing 7-wicket victory in the 25th over. S. Singh, T. Thakoordeen, and D. Balgobin took 1 for 28, 40, and 39 respectively.

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