By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 33rd Anniversary – Match #1021):- Rasheem James kept his head and his lox together and produced a matching inning to give Cosmos an important victory over new comers Big Apple at Floyd Bennett Field last Sunday.
There have been many matching innings in the past for Cosmos, however, this one from ‘King’ James will certainly ranked high up in the order. He came to the wicket at crucial point in the match with the score on 107 for 5 in the 22nd over looking to get 193 in 35 overs for victory. James has had a few good starts in the season and on this occasion he kept his concentration and took Cosmos over the line after Big Apple posted 193 all out off the allotted 35 overs.
But It was Steve Massiah, the former US captain, and Zaheer Saffee, the former Guyana youth player, who set up the Big Apple total with a crucial 105 runs 4th partnership after Ralston Levy removed Richard Ramdeen and T. Dat and Sohan Dass had Jermaine Lawson well taken by Thohidhuzzaman Rana on the mid wicket boundary as the Big Apple top order wobbled a bit. With the score on 45 for 3, Massiah and Saffee, two experienced batsmen worked the ball around picking up the singles and the occasional boundary.
Cosmos missed two vital chances to make further inroads when Massiah on 17 got leading edge which dollied to point where Rana made a meal of it and oh well … Rana though was dignified in his silence. In the next over Saffee on 15 drove upishly to cover was then let off just before the break the pair then took the score from 69 runs in the 15th over to 150 by the x over as the partnership kept Cosmos at bay. Messiah was crisp through the point region as Saffee was through midwicket.
And just as the partnership was beginning to pose a major concern Cosmos struck when Massiah (61) drove hard to deep mid-off and Jetendra Sookdeo held on to a well judged catch. Travis Ross and Mohamed Ghous didn’t last too long Levy then pluck a sharp caught and bowled to remove Saffee (66). Faisal Taj cleaned up the tail as S. Wazid, M. Ghous, and K. Ramphal did not trouble the score too much. Taj returned with 3 for 15 off 4 overs and Levy 3 for 38 when Big Apple inning closed on 192 all out.
For today though, in the first of a doubleheader, and in a must win situation that will keep Cosmos alive in the competition and give some meaning to the season the boys rallied together. The day, however, belong to James whose dominance at the wicket only confirmed a talent that was in storage. His inning was overdue and in this match he virtually overshadowed the Cosmos top order after the opposition created opportunities to keep the match in a balance at the half way point.
Steve Samuels and Taj put on 38 runs before Saffee removed Samuel (20) and Ramdeen accounted for Taj (16). Amjad Khan, the maestro, as the boys called him made a rear journey back to the pavilion after he dragged a Ghous delivery onto his stump for 20 but not before he jumped on an over from Jermaine Lawson, the former West Indies fast bowler, as he slapped twice to the cover point boundary and then a blistering drive to the mid-on boundary.
‘King’ James knew that he had to deliver. He was patient and measured and timed his attack carefully. He cleared the Floyd Bennett boundary with ease for five maximum to put Cosmos in good command of the target. Lawson returned to try to put a stop to ‘king’ James’s charge, but felt the wrath of James’s willow. James called for a helmet in respect of the international fast bowler, but none could fit over his dreadlocks, he needed a bucket, some say. And with no fear, he tore into Lawson 5th over for a dismissive maximum over mid-on, and with his dreadlocks blazing in the breeze he rode over the target with a cracking drive over extra-cover to give Cosmos a convincing 4-wicket victory.