By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 34th Anniversary – Match #1043):- Progressive registered a convincing victory against Cosmos last Sunday at Idlewyle in the first round of the Metropolitan Cricket League 2017 Roy Sweeney Twenty20 competition.
John Sylvester, the former Grenada national player, walked to the crease with the loss of two early wickets and proceeded to play a vital hand in his team’s total. Cosmos struck two early blows in the 4th over after they had won the toss and elected to field. Sham Ali trapped P. Dewar (4) and Sohan Dass had D. Forest (12) taken by Rasheem James at backward point.
At 20 for 2, Sylvester and D. Morand held the progressive inning together with a crucial 57 runs partnership before James took brilliant running catch from a Morand tracer on the mid-off boundary off Alex Chuninlal – Cosmos 15 year old poster boy. Sylvester then offered a chance to mid-wicket boundary off Chuninlal in the same over where Sohan Dass would have hugged it comfortably a few years ago on younger legs. Imrul Hasib then grassed a sitter on the mid-on boundary offered by Rattray in the next over from Taj, and Cosmos was left to huff-and-puff for the miss chances.
The pair capitalized on their chances on a featherbed and stitched together another crucial partnership that was worth 100 runs with 85 runs coming in the last six overs that included two big overs. Rattray(47 no) took on Chuninlal for 25 runs in the 16th over, and Sylvester (81) launched into Dass in the 17th over taking 24 runs. The Progressive inning closed on challenging 195 for 5 off their allotted 20 overs. S. Ali 2 for 24, S. Dass 1 for 43, and A. Chuninlal 1 for 44.
Cosmos in reply, needed some early momentum from their top order to keep them within striking distance of the target, but Taj offered none when he, yet again appeared technically tangled, and fanned at a high bouncer from Sylvester to give extra cover a cake. James is often one man army and he has been among the runs all season, and as such his length of stay at the wicket will be crucial to Cosmos counterattack. He put on a 30-runs partnership with Hasib, and just as the partnership was beginning to gain momentum, Hasib (23) played a soft drive to cover.
Daniel Chuninlal did not last long, and it was left to Dass and James to prop-up the inning. But James on 27 miss-hit and picked out the man on the mid-on boundary when he attempted another maximum. At 76 for 5 in the 9th over, Cosmos veterans had a hill to climb with some heavy weight on their shoulders and a target that would require a major effort. But Cosmos’s two veteran batsmen, Sohan Dass and Sham Ali, both of whom, at this point, are low on fuel but not on determination.
And like all good cricketers they remained steady in the shadows of the late afternoon and gave their top order batsmen and the opposition a glimpse into the archives, and a few things to ponder. They began to work the ball in the gaps and settled into a stony occupation in the middle with a dogged partnership that was balanced on some old school techniques and old fashion attritional cricket.
And when the opportunities were offered Dass went nonchalantly over mid-off and dismissively over wide mid-on for two maximums, while Ali cuffed one through extra cover and dented the boundary board on mid-wicket and square-leg. It was a pesky last stand by this pair who conjured an unbroken partnership that flourished to 69 runs. The partnership simply added a veneer of respectability to the Cosmos inning after their top order had dug a hole earlier and unfortunately this rearguard effort fell short when the inning closed on 145 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs.