By Sudharsan Ramarao
Good Vybz needed 19 runs to win from the last two overs. Kelvin Sawh and Mahesh Dassram, playing a sublime inning were at the center.
Junaid Khan was having the ball. It was anybody’s game to win. Kelvin Sawh took a single off the first ball. Mahesh then scampered for a double. The equation was reduced to 16 runs from 10 balls. Mahesh then beautifully drove a full-length ball between the long-off and cover for a much-needed boundary. The victory was very much in sight for Good Vybz.
Surely, they must be able to get the remaining 12 runs in 9 balls. But that’s when the match that was full of twists and turns produced another twist. Wanting to finish the game soon, Mahesh perished holding out to Claudy in covers. With 12 runs from 8 balls needed, Kelvin, who swapped ends, then gave the most telling blow. He drove a length ball for huge six towards long-on much to the disappointment of the Highlanders. Good Vybz had the match under control. Good Vybz then scored the remaining five runs off the first two balls of the last over. Good Vybz emerged victorious.
The most satisfying accomplishments are surely the ones that come against adversity. For adversity forces you in to a zone you have never been before. It brings out a response that you have never given before. All successful sportsmen thrive on adversity. Mahesh Dassram thrives on adversity. On a day that was extremely hot and humid and that sucked fluids out of human body, Mahesh battled to produce a classic inning that took his team over the line while chasing a challenging total of 160.
Batting at number three, Mahesh looked elegant on both the front foot and back foot. Anything slightly short and slightly on middle stump, he was quick to pull towards square-leg and anything full and outside off, he drove it beautifully. He and Renny Jainabi did the bulk of the scoring with Renny playing second fiddle. Both kept the score board ticking with singles and doubles and took the odd risk to get the boundaries. Mahesh took one such risk in audaciously ramping Shoaib Hassan over the wicket keeper that almost went for a six. Mahesh was out for 58 in the penultimate over. Renny made 46. Steven Mangal gave a boost to the chase with a swift innings of 13 that included two game changing sixes. The Highlanders must rue the loss as they dropped six catches. For the Highlanders, Ray Cecil picked up two wickets while Junaid Khan, Shoaib Hassan and Mike Persaud shared a wicket a piece.
Winning the toss and batting first, Highlanders started off cautiously. The openers Sudharsan Ramarao and Mike Persaud were content on playing safe cricket thereby preserving wickets for a late flourish. The Highlanders scored just 24 in the power play overs. Mike Persaud then got out LBW to the left arm spinner Andray. Kamal Hussain, coming in at 3, was run out without facing a ball due to a mix up with Sudharsan. Highlanders were 36 for 2 at the end of 9 overs. Shoaib Hassan then joined Sudharsan and started the assault. Shoaib gave a rough deal to the spinners by repeatedly lofting them for huge sixes. Each of those sixes were struck with so much power that they flew like rockets launched into space.
Shoaib brought up his fifty in just 29 balls. In all he hit seven sixes and two boundaries in an inning of 57 runs. A whopping 50 runs came only in boundaries and sixes. Highlanders reached 103 at the end of 16 overs. Steve Mangal, Good Vybz’ skipper got himself to bowl and applied a brief break in the momentum. He first dismissed Shoaib who swung a bit early and got bowled and then had Ray Cecil caught behind in the same over. But that appeared to be only a small brake in momentum as Junaid Khan the other big hitting all-rounder came to the crease. Junaid, a six-footer with a big frame, didn’t waste any time as he started going for his shots from ball one. Sudharsan who was all the while giving company to Shoaib and Junaid by turning over the strike got out for 31 while Junaid hit the bowlers towards the long-on and midwicket areas repeatedly for huge sixes. He made 42 in just 17 balls that included four sixes and two boundaries. Highlanders incredibly made 124 runs in their last 11 overs. They ended at 160 for the loss of 6 wickets.
For his match winning inning of 59 runs and tight medium pace bowling, Mahesh was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match.