As last Saturday’s evening round of matches unfolded, the entertainment continued with upset defeats followed by rapid recoveries as “the game of glorious uncertainties” maintained its reputation in this tournament. The “work in progress” youth team “Stars” humbled the cocky “Stripes” to earn their first win in the competition. “Stripes” then recovered to defeat last year’s champions Galaxy. Galaxy got their act together, in the evening’s thriller, to conquer the strong “Royals” who suffered their first defeat of the tournament.

Stripes Batsmen

Royals, following the evening pattern in which defeats were followed by victories, set earlier by “Stripes” and “Galaxy” outclassed “Stripes” in the fourth match. The results were: “Stars” 1 win 0 losses; “Stripes” 1 win 2 losses; “Galaxy” 1 win 1 loss; and “Royals” 1 win and 1 loss. Such results contribute to the artistic creation of a beautiful Winter Cricket Tournament in which none of the teams is invincible. The results of the games of the tournament continue to be unpredictable thereby generating interest and excitement. The efforts of the players and their leaders must be commended for such a production.

Stars vs. Stripes
The noisy “Stars” batted first and amassed a healthy 136 as the over confident “Stripes” gave away 64 extras and effected only 2 dismissals with a variety of ill disciplined bowling. Mike Singh and Amogh Karwar sent their team off to an excellent start with a 55 runs opening stand which was consolidated with a 53 runs second pair effort from Aunsh and Roshan. In reply “Stripes” got 114. Their openers Saif Mohamed and Ammar Azeem put together 51 before the second pair of batters Ryan Persaud and Kareem Latif were choked by tight bowling and youthful athletic fielding that restricted the pair to an inadequate 36 runs. Although the 11th. over by Ghous, gave away 16 extras, the task was too much for “Stripes” who lost their focus when fielding and the match by 22 runs. “Stars” were justified in their jubilation over their surprised victory which was a source of great encouragement for them.

Galaxy vs. Stripes
After their defeat in the first match, “Stipes” awoke from their slumber to regroup and defeat last year’s champions Galaxy. Galaxy batted first and was off to a poor start as their opening batters mustered a mere 20 runs with 3 dismissals which resulted in accurate bowling and brilliant fielding. Saif 3rd over of the innings set the tone of the match as he got 2 dismissals and conceded minus 3 runs. “Galaxy’s 2nd and 3rd pair of batters tried to repair the damage with commendable efforts from Sunil, Manoj Balgobin and Conrad Carbon but “Stripes” bowlers and fielders rose to the challenge and restricted the innings to 90. “Stripes” responded with 106 by virtue of sound intelligent batting which was so well organized that by the time the last batting pair of Cameron Mirza and Parth Tharnari arrived at the wicket 34 runs was needed. The chase was made much easier by a horrible 9th over of the innings in which Ryan Gildhari conceded 16 extras and 12 deliveries.

Galaxy vs. Royals
This was the match of the evening as “Galaxy” got their act together in a thrilling encounter to defeat “Royals”, who lost their 1st. match of the tournament. This game, which featured a set of experienced and matured cricketers, who are expected to set examples, for the young to emulate, was an embodiment of all the strengths and weaknesses of the modern game of cricket. It was a tension filled game. It involved intense pressure situations that, for fleeting moments, led to raw emotions taking precedence over refined rationality as experienced cricketers renounced poise, grace and elegance, and succumbed to human weaknesses that had the potential to bring the game into disrepute. Fortunately, the tournament administrators, with zero tolerance for inappropriate conduct, held firm to ensure that the spirit and intent of the gentleman’s game of cricket was preserved and perpetuated without damage to the image of the only Winter Cricket League Tournament in the Tri-State area.

“Royals” batted first and encountered some tight bowling and fielding by “Galaxy”. Prashad Mahadeo and Sean Thompson put on a solid 47 runs, but “Royals” second pair of Deryck McDonald and Mark Gomes were kept in check and added 29 run to the openers’ partnership. The last pair of Kumar Nandalal and Thelson Blair could only have accumulated 21 runs as “Galaxy” tightened their grip on the game by dismissing their opponents for 97. Seven of the 12 overs in the innings went for less than 8 runs with Conrad Carbon conceding only1 run in the 11th over while Krishna gave away a mere 5 runs in the 10th over.

“Galaxy” chase began with Kawal Persaud and Manoj Balgobin putting on a 32 runs stand to be up with the required run rate. The first 2 overs by Deryck McDonald and Kumar Nandalal yielded 12 runs with one dismissal. The second pair of Conrad Carbon and Sunil Kalicharran cautiously took the score to 67 in spite of accurate fiery pace bowling from Blair and accurate spin from Mark Gomes. That produced 4 runs in the 5th over and 6 runs in the 6th. over.

However, Carbon and Sunil applied themselves and left the crease with the last pair of Krishna Harrichan and Ryan Gildhari needing 31 for victory. The game got tense as the 9th and 10th overs from Blair and Mark were intelligently handled to take the score to 92 with 6 runs required in the last two overs. Nandalal bowled the 11th over of the innings, got a wicket for minus 1 run leaving the batsmen to score 7 runs in the last over.

Ryan Gildhari gather his composure to apply himself with intense concentration scoring 2,2,1, and 2 from Sean Thompson first 4 deliveries after which 2 wides took the score to 100 and a thrilling victory for “Galaxy”. Both teams played excellent cricket with bat and ball but needed to exercise care with their utterances and antics which has the potential to destroy rather than to create. The game was a spectator’s delight as the teams were very competitive.

Royals vs. Stripes
In keeping with the pattern of the evenings’ matches, “Royals”, like “Stripes” and “Galaxy” earlier on, rebounded from defeat and out played “Stripes” in the final game. ‘Royals batted first and amassed 140 with aggressive batting. That score was too good for “Stripes” who folded for 82. ‘Royals” opening bowlers Deryck McDonald and Sean Thompson bowled brilliantly against “Stripes” openers, Saif Mohamed and Ammar Azeem, to seal the match. The first 4 overs of the inning resulted in 5 dismissals leaving the inning in taters with the score at minus 6 runs. McDonald got 3 dismissals while Sean Thompson accounted for 2 ”Stripes” never recovered although their last pair of Cameron Mirza and Parth Tharnari put together a decent partnership of 46. The games continue this week end as the Tournament has 5 more week-ends for its completion.