A magnificent all-round performance by Andrew Gonsalves led the New York Dream Team to its fourth Florida Cup title. The New York Dream Team led by skipper Navin Narine went to Florida determined to regain the cup after a disappointing outing last year losing in the qualifying rounds to Canada and South Florida. This came after the Dream Team had dominated the Florida Cup winning it the first three years.
The first game for the Dream Team was against South Florida and it gave them a chance to avenge last year’s disappointing loss. After winning the toss they decided to give Florida first strike because of the team not playing cricket in months. The way South Florida took it to Dream Team’s bowling attack it appeared as though they hadn’t played cricket for months. The first half was pretty decent with the score at 61 for 3. The second half came and with wickets in hand, Florida started putting on some fireworks getting to a very defendable total at 170 for 9 in the 25 overs.
Dream Team sent Buns Narine and Anand Singh to the crease and they got off to a flying start at 47 without loss in the first five overs, then four quick wickets fell leaving Dream Team stumbling at 59 for 4, however, they had Andrew Gonsalves and Vicky Subkaran at the crease. The two batted very wisely and sensibly and took the score to 89 for 4 at the break. After the break Gonsalves went for a well-played 35 and another quick wicket left the Dream team at 112 for 6, but Vicky was still at the crease and saw his team in trouble, in came in Junior Mohan who played well giving Vicky the strike. He proceeded to take apart the South Florida attack, with some massive 6’s and 4’s and took his team home with three overs to spare. This gave the team some much needed momentum for the rest of the tournament.
Next up was South Florida Better Hope. The Dream Team won the toss and elected to take first strike. After a reasonable start from Buns and Anand, in came Gonsalves and Brian who just took apart Better Hope. Both batsmen hit some massive 6’s and superb 4’s to all parts of the ground. Gonsalves went for a well-played 30 and Brian batted very well for a well-played 60. At the conclusion of 25 overs, Dream Team had posted 204 all out. Better Hope’s chances were stopped early by some great bowling from Shawn Persaud and Junior Mohan. They just took apart the batting leaving Better Hope at 30 for 6 after the two bowlers had finished their spell. The tail-enders took the score to 89 before they were bowled out. So after Friday the Dream Team were 2-0 and looking very confident heading into Saturday.
The Dream Team got a walk over win from New York Softball Cricket League Saturday morning after they decided they were already out of the tournament so they didn’t need to play the game. This set up a spectacular match-up in the semi-finals with the Dream Team and Guyana All-stars led by Bobby Pahalad. Dream Team won the toss and elected to take first strike.
As he does so often Bobby struck with the second ball of the game taking a breath-taking catch and sending Anand Singh back to the pavilion without scoring. In the last ball of his over Bobby got Buns caught without scoring as well, leaving the Dream Team in serious trouble at 4 for 2 after one over. This looked like a repeat of the semi-finals of the 2009 Independence Cup when Guyana All-stars bowled out the Dream Team for a measly 85.
But not on this day, as Andrew Gonsalves and Vicky Subkaran would have none of that. These two batsmen put on one of the best partnerships in softball cricket history amassing a 130-run fourth-wicket partnership, before Vicky went for a well-played 35. It was considered a top partnership because of the score of the game and in the semi-finals of the biggest tournament, with all the top players from all over. These two men batted against one of the best bowling line-ups around with Bobby and Bhola Pahald, Gummel Mattai, Ravin Ivan and Frankie Baichoo, and they batted sensible and as always Gonsalves enjoyed his huge hits.
Gonsalves batted for a very well-played 77 and leading the Dream Team to a very impressive total of 198 for 9 in 25 overs. Guyana All-stars sent Ravi Balli and Waheed Ward to the crease to chase down the big total. Shawn Persaud took the ball and struck early dismissing Ward and Balli very cheaply. In his next over he got the very important wicket of Ravin Ivan leaving Guyana All-stars in some serious trouble. Vijay Seenarine played an excellent inning of 85 not out but watched Junior Mohan take apart the rest of the all-stars team. Guyana responded well after early trouble, coming up 35 runs short of the total.
This set up the much anticipated final between Doctor’s XI led by Kris Sobhai and the Dream Team in the beautiful ICC approved ODI cricket stadium in Central Broward County. Dream Team won the toss and elected to take first strike. After losing Buns first ball of the game, in came the man of the Day Mr. Andrew Gonsalves. Spectators were in awe as Gonsalves played one of the best innings anyone has ever seen. He hit his massive 6’s as he so often does, but also played some “no man move” 4’s, and some excellent reverse sweep shots. He saw wickets falling at the other end so he stood up for his team and batted throughout the innings to bring up his unbeaten 106 and setting a very defendable total of 176 for the Dream Team.
Kris Sobhai saw that his team needed a good start to chase the total set, so he went to open the batting himself and put on a batting clinic. Kris played some brilliant shots and set his team up in a winning position at 96 for 1 after 13 overs with Kris still batting. Dream Team Manager Jay Ram saw his team hanging their heads and spirits down after the first half. He huddled his team at the half and talked to them letting them know that Doctor’s still needed 80 runs for victory and that anything is possible once they play hard and fight to the end.
The second half started just as they needed with Gonsalves taking the ball and getting Kris caught at the boundary for a well played 46. Gonsalves and Amit put the brakes on Doctors with some very good spin bowling. Buns did some very good wicket-keeping stumping Singh without scoring. Junior Mohan as he did all throughout the tournament came on to finish the job and that’s exactly what he did, dropping stumps left and right. Doctors batted to the 25th over before getting bowled out for 160. Andrew Gonsalves took 3 wickets for 17 and Junior took 4 wickets for 15.
Andrew Gonsalves took home the Finals and Tournament MVP awards for the third consecutive tournament. Dream Team played like a unit throughout the tournament, and they truly deserve to win the cup. Navin captained the team very well and everyone supported him and Amit.
The Dream Team squad: Navin Narine (Captain), Amit Moonsammy (Vice Captain), Andrew Gonsalves, Eon Ellis, Vicky Subkaran, Brian Manniram, Buns Narine, Junior Mohan, Anand Singh, Shawn Persaud, Mark Mukhlinlall, Vick Rameshwar, Arvin Budhram and Nicky Giahia. The Dream Team was managed by Jay Ram who now has four Florida Cup Titles and one Independence Cup title under his belt. The team would like to thank their biggest supporter and sponsor Patan from Five Boro Communications, as well as everyone who supported the team throughout the competition.
The Dream Team looks forward to seeing everyone in July for the Independence Cup.