By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 42nd Anniversary – Match #1185/86):- Cosmos had a leather-hunting outing in the first round of the New York National Cricket League (NYNCL) T20 competition last Sunday. Unfortunately, Cosmos was on the receiving end of the attack, and moreso in the second game of the double header against a formidable Meten Meer Zorg (MMZ) team, but not that much in the first game in which they were still asleep by the time the match was over.
In their first match against Titans at Bay Park, Cosmos won the toss and elected to bat. They struggled to get the ball through the gaps or manufacture any momentum in the powerplay overs against a Titans bowling attack which kept a steady line pegged back their opponents to 23 for 3 by the 8th over. A 39-run partnership between Daniel Chunilall (25) and Shane Grant (22) provided some respite to the inning taking the score to 62 for 2 in the 13th over. But once Titans severed the partnership, the middle-order appeared clueless thereafter as the Titans attack cleaned up the next seven wickets for 30 runs as they crumbled to 93 all out.
Any hopes of Cosmos defending a their total disappeared in a hurry as J. Akif (43 not out) took control of the inning after he was let-off twice in the second over. Cosmos tried to fight themselves back into the match, but they were undone by a bowling attach which lacked discipline and direction, and leaked 15 runs into the extras column. Titans achieved their target of 94 in the 13th over to seal a convincing victory.
And after that show Cosmos made their way over to Bayswater Park in Far Rockaway for their second game of the double header against MMZ, the 2021 NYNCL 40 overs runners-up. It turned out to be a one-sided encounter against a formidable opponent who feasted on a Cosmos bowling attack that appeared quite flat, and one that was also generous as they served-up a long menu of long-hops and juicy full-toss.
The MMZ top order was in no mood for sympathy after A. Khan and L. Chinkoo were let-off at point and deep mid-off on 27 and 23 respectively. They responded rather kindly with an aggressive 2nd wicket stand to ensure that they get to a competitive total as they raced to 94 for 1 at the end of the powerplay overs, and then to 122 runs in the 9th over before T. Thakoordeen managed to separate the partnership when he had Chinkoo (52) caught behind.
The run-fest ended but briefly when Thakoordeen struck again to remove Khan for 57, but then the middle order produced a few cameos. Andy Mohamed picked up the tempo after he was given a straightforward chance at mid-wicket when he was on 20, and three more times thereafter as Cosmos catching looked buttery as they spilled a total of nine catches. Mohamed began to strike the ball cleanly and with authority, as he found the mid-wicket boundary with shots of rare brutally.
He was in no hurry to leave the pleasure dome and unfurled the shot-of-the-day that would have made a morning rose jealous when he leaned and drove flat and powerfully for a maximum over mid-off boundary. He appeared set for a century, but mistimed a juicy full-toss that should have sailed over the moon, instead he skied it to square-leg as he went for a belligerent 93 that included 6, 4’s and 9, 6’s. Cosmos was a shadow of their usual sharpness in the field as they appeared rather hapless in this match as MMZ inning swelled to an imposing 270 for 5 off their allotted 20 overs courtesy of Cosmos bowlers who bowled ‘a-bunch-a-rass’ in this match.
Cosmos had a tall order ahead of them and soon found themselves in some early trouble limping at 31 for 3 at the end of the powerplay overs, and the MMZ target became monumental and the result appeared academic. Only Alex Chunilall and Shane Grant showed some resistance with 37 and 19 respectively. The veteran Ejaz Asgarally took his position in the slips instead of his duties with the glove, and got himself into the mix of a merry-go-round before he held on to skier while tumbling over to add to the entertainment.
With the score on 86 for 6, the two veterans in Dixeith Palmer and Sohan Dass battled to the end taking the score to 114 for 6, as MMZ sealed an emphatic 156 runs victory. And yes, it is October and we are still playing cricket with the temperature in the upper 70’s, hopefully it remains this way until Christmas. Won’t that be nice!