By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 33rd Anniversary – Match #1030):- Scorecard: Westbury 163 for 7 off 20 overs ( H. Porter 70, D. Campbell 48) won by 5 runs against Cosmos 107 for 3 off 14 overs.( S. Sookdeo 32, A. Khan 32.)
The lights suddenly went out on Cosmos in a match that was shaping up for a photo finish against Westbury at Idlewyle Park last Sunday. And in the heat of the build-up a wrench was thrown and the MCL T20 semi final and it petered out to another one of those can’t believe moments by the ‘sole arbiters’ of the game.
Cosmos was on course with a good opening partner of 47 runs between Faisal Taj (8) and Jetendra Sookdeo before Taj lost his furniture. Sookdeo then went to an ill-advised heave, but Amjad Khan and Rasheem James then settled in and began to give the inning some impetus with a solid 3rd wicket partnership that had swelled to 49 runs in 5 overs. Cosmos needed six runs to move ahead of the required run rate with Amjad Khan and Rasheem James in command.
The drama that played out in the 14th over is one that had little to do with playing and more, much more with control of the game by ‘soul arbiters.’ There were more injuries that needed attention or just a look in one over than perhaps all season for this opposition. James took the paceman for a massive six over mid-on; no problem with light there, but an injury to a fieldsman. He had taken 10 runs off 4 balls and as many delay for injuries including a long one on the 4th ball. Cosmos was 106 for 2, with 2 balls remaining and 6 runs needed to go ahead of the required run rate.
Khan was visibly annoyed by the deliberate delay. When play finally resumed after just a look and a long delay, Khan hooked and was taken down the legside, no problem with the light, another injury, 167 for 3. A single was taken off the last ball, and Cosmos was behind the required rate by five runs. And suddenly the match was over due to bad light with six overs remaining.
The end was not much different than the beginning as Westbury posted 163 for 7 off their allotted 20 overs. H. Porter struck an aggressive 80 in a crucial 3rd wicket partnership of 118 with D. Campbell (49), to recover from 2 for 8. Porter though was adjudged not out on 2 when Dass broke his edge that caused snicko-meter to suffer a massive heart attack when it landed in wicketkeeper James’s glove. That was in the beginning and in the end the umpire drew the bails for bad light
In the finality, it will come down to a much to do about nothing in an all too familiar picture and a scene that has a clear line of separation drawn between grey and white. It was another one of those officiating, if we can call it that, which has dampened this semi final match.