New York Youth Cricket Club (NYYCC) used the Memorial Day Weekend to its full advantage, while many of cricket stakeholders were having fun at bar-b-ques; they were playing against two of the top teams in the American Cricket League.

The first game on Saturday against the highly touted Pakistan C.C. was played at Idlewild Park under cloudy and wet conditions. The pitch was damp from the previous day’s rain and sections of the outfield were waterlogged.

Pakistan won the toss and sent NYYCC in to bat. It was hard going from the start, as Rafeek Nazeer was run out in a mix-up with his captain Trevor Singh, and was out for 2. Omar Afridi joined Singh and they took the score to 32 before Singh was given out lbw to Shah for 14. Afridi and Zaheb Tariq seemed to be on the way to a good partnership when suddenly Afridi was out lbw to Ayyas for a well-played 25. Soon thereafter Tariq went down the pitch to Shah and was stumped for 23. Syed Hussain with 15 was the only other batsman to reach double figures as M. Shafique tore through the lower order, taking 5 for 5 in 5 overs, leaving NYYCC all out for the measly score of 110.

NYYCC took the field and had immediate success as Chris Singh bowling from the pavilion end, had both openers, Hammad and Hisham, back in the pavilion. The first with a brilliant caught and bowled and the other by the lbw route. In walked Waqas Shah, current New York Region Under-19 player from whom much was expected. However, with the score at 20, Singh took his third wicket as he yorked Waqas for 2. After Singh bowled Faisal for 24, no other batsman was able to survive the NYYCC bowling attack. After 22 overs, Pakistan was bowled out for 63. Singh bowled magnificently to produce his best ever figures of 6 for 23 in 8 consecutive overs.  Tariq, Afridi, Nazeer and Hussain took 1 wicket each for 11, 5, 13 and 6 respectively.

It rained volumes on Saturday night and Sunday morning but the pitch and outfield at 88th Street was in fair condition for the game against MVP cricket Club.  The game was delayed because of soccer players on the far side of the field. However, the matter was settled by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the game was reduced to 35 overs.

There was a great deal of apprehension in the NYYCC camp as they would be without their star players Randall Wilson (ankle injury), Zaheb Tariq (family commitment) Omar Afridi (exams) and Bjorn Brown (family commitment). However, the troops were ready to march when the captain won the toss and it was agreed to send MVP in to bat.

Chris Singh opened the bowling from the southern end while Rafeek Nazeer bowled his seamers from the northern end. Singh carried on from Saturday’s performance when he bowled Salem for 4 with a beautiful in-swinger. Jhangir and Masood took the score to 45 before the latter was caught off mystery spinner Syed Hussain for 11. Three more wickets fell before the score reached 62 with Hussain taking two more and Chris Singh one.

From 62 for 5, MVP fell to 82 for 9 as Hussain continued to mesmerize the batsmen. Hussain was definitely in the “zone” and except for Akram who made 29 not out the other lower order batsmen were clueless while batting against him. The last pair put on 32 as MVP finished with 114.  Syed Hussain finished with 7 for 24 in 7 overs, Chris Singh 2 for 34 and 14 year-old Chetram ”Mario” Persaud who cleaned up the last batsman, had 1 for 7. The team heartily congratulated him on taking his first league wicket.

Two fifteen year-olds, Surrendra Singh and Rafeek Nazeer, New York Region Under-15 and Under-19 representatives, started the NYYCC inning respectively. They quickly started to lay the foundation for victory as Nazeer was stroking the ball very comfortably while Singh played a supporting role. They delighted the crowd that had now gathered with smart running between the wickets and when Surrendra got out caught by Zain for 14, they had put on 52 runs for the first wicket.

Trevor Singh came and left caught off Waqas Ahmed for no score. Syed Hussain was out off a dubious decision for 4, having been given out caught off a ball that appeared to have hit the ground before first-slip came up with it. There was a delay at the wicket as the standing umpire consulted with square leg before giving him out. The reason for the consultation is unclear seeing that the square leg did not have a clear view of the play.

Nazeer got out for a well-played 52 and NYYCC lost two more wickets before “Mario” Persaud hit the winning run as NYYCC won by four wickets with Moeez Querishi not out with 16.  Hassan took 2 for 23 and Waqas Ahmed took 2 for 14.

The next NYYCC match is on Sunday, June 3 against Kings X1 at Idlewild (223rd) Park, in Queens.