By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 42nd Anniversary – Match #1188):- It has been one of those tantalizingly testy seasons for Cosmos where the team’s collective efforts has not been consistent, and as a result, they found themselves playing in patches while they search for a comfort zone in a new league, the New York National Cricket League after playing for thirty-seven years in the Metropolitan Cricket League. However, there have been some very encouraging and notable performances from the boys throughout the season for a Cosmos team that has been on the mend, and last Sunday was another prime example. Towgeshwar Thakoordeen seemed to have saved his best for the last match as he bagged a fifer against his rivals and a formidable opponent in Majestic, the front-runner in the competition.
Thakoordeen has bowled well throughout the season but with little reward, however, in this match, he managed to reap the benefits of his perseverance as he kept a probing line with his left-arm orthodox spin to rip through the Majestic top order. Sham Ali struck an early blow when he walked through the gates to remove the danger-man Derrick Narine’s middle stump in his second over. Thereafter, it was showtime on the Boulevard, Francis Lewis Boulevard and Thakoordeen was the star of the show, a script he wrote himself once he was able to wake up for the performance.
The aggressive Chis Patadin, an Ogle boy, seems to have been in some discomfort with a thumb injury (he probably wished his other Ogle boy, Wasim Haslim, was in the wicket with him to relieve some of the burden). However, he took the challenge to Cosmos bowling attack taking fifteen from N. Persaud’s first over, and Cosmos must have had visions of the 90-ball 152 runs he plundered against them in the 40-over competition earlier in the season. Thakoordeen was up for the challenge as he dragged Patadin into an attempted heave with a flighted delivery that took a thick outside edge and skied to Doneshwar Dayanand who waited patiently at point with both hands high above his head as if reaching for the gods, and closed them at the perfect time and much jubilation, good catch son! Thakoordeen kept the screws tight on this opposition as he bagged another four wickets when Naresh Persaud held on to two excellent catches at deep extra-cover. Thakoordeen then disturbed the furniture of F. Mendonza and R. Rooplall in 4th over to seal his first 5-wicket haul as he became the 36th bowler with the 72nd 5-wicket haul for Cosmos. Ali returned to remove R. Gildhary as Cosmos kept the pressure with Majestic on 126 for 7 in 17 overs. But then the match turned on its heads as Cosmos leaked 73 runs in the next three overs with Seepaul scoring a belligerent 50 to end the Majestic inning on 199 for 7 off 20 allotted overs. T. Thakoordeen took 5 for 28, and S. Ali 2 for 38.
Yugesh Shivpersaud has been one of the success stories for Cosmos this season and he has once again showed that he will be one of the key players for his team. He kept searching for some support from the top order, but just couldn’t find one in Shane Grant, Devindra Balgobin, Naresh Persaud or Akash Rahim, as Cosmos script of a sketchy season continue into the last act. Grant went via lbw. The once dependable Balgobin was promoted up the order, but didn’t show any value for the position when he played an airy-fairy swipe as if he needed to get to somewhere else in a hurry. After two overs at the wicket, Persaud appeared as if there wasn’t enough oxygen in the air, he also couldn’t find his legs or the crease at the other end as he ran short consecutively before he too choose the airy-fairy method swinging for the hills.
Thereafter, any chance of Cosmos offering a challenge to the opposition’s total depended heavily on a partnership between Cosmos star batsman and one of their success stories this season, Akash Rahim. It was not to be as Rahim appeared to have had some difficulty extending his legs and was clearly restricted by some of intestinal pressure. Conversely, Shivpersaud looked quite comfortable and composed, and his inning had a hint flare and aggression and appeared to have been the only batsman who batted with a sense of purpose in this match. He brought up his second half-century in as many innings with an authoritative pull over mid-wicket before tried to tuck a short ball to fine-leg and gloved it to the wicketkeeper. Khamraj Conyers, who stroked an impressive half-century against this opponent earlier in the season, was not even close to his usual self. His bat and body was in a quarrel with each other and miles apart, and this inning was much like that of the 28-run over which he bowled earlier, it-was-all-over-the-place, and it should be erased from memory as soon as this match was over. And after all that ‘performance’ Cosmos still managed 129 for 6 off their allotted 20 overs as Majestic sealed a comfortable 70 runs victory.
But as much as the team’s performance in this last match of the 2021 season came to a rather tame conclusion, it was in quite contrast to the spirit and camaraderie in the Cosmos camp. That however, has been a signature quality of the club in its forty years of decorated history, and one of its ingredients for success over the years. This season, if anything, was a success and a good learning experience for a young team. Despite being knocked over on many occasions, they were in with a chance in every match, but lacked that one or two key players/performance to get them over the line; that will come soon from within this same group. They narrowly missed their chance of a spot in the playoffs in the premier 40-over competition, and lost in the semi-finals in the T-20 competition. However, the team kept pushing ahead and completed their full schedule of matches in all three competitions while other teams just folded prematurely.
The genuine heart would truly admire the effort of this Cosmos outfit, while some unkind souls would gloat at such record. Cosmos, as they have done for the duration of their long history, stuck to their task on the field and maintained their discipline throughout, while this pen try kept it real, and even poke some fun at themselves in the process. However, for the greater good and welfare of the game, we cannot lend a blind eye to a few of the unhealthy occurrences during the season, and the rain gods can attest to that. It was quite interesting though, and difficult to fathom the depth at which the undercurrents operated to suppress the dissemination of knowledge; the very foundations of our existence, by trying to silent this pen, hence, the necessity for a reminder, as often as possible, to prevent the saturation of the wider collective. The efforts of this website, usacrickerers.com, to provide an avenue to keep the cricket fraternity and general public in formed over the years must be commended.
Cosmos, unfazed by the distractions, were very fortunate to have two of their former stalwarts, Ashmul Ali and Dixeth Palmer, in their company during the season to lend their support and offer their knowledge and experiences to the boys. It was also a refreshing, on so many occasions, to see that there were more than enough players at the ground on match day. Cosmos has has never missed an opportunity to groom young players and provide an avenue for them to play the game; players who would normally be pushed aside by teams that only want players who are good. But this Cosmos club seems to have minced it purpose and priorities in the right proportion, and it is encouraging to see that this batch of players have shown the discipline and interest which holds much promise for the future of the club, if they can keep it.
A hearty thank you to the teams for a good season. Good luck to the teams in the playoffs.
Many thanks to usacricketers.com for carrying our articles throughout the season.