Unbeaten New York Xl Crowned 2017 Rockaway T20 Champion
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Pictured about is the New York XI prior to the final.

By Sam Sooppersaud | Photo Gallery
A crowd of just over 600 cricket fans turned up at Baisley Pond Park Cricket Field, 150th Street and Baisley Boulevard, Queens, New York, on Saturday, August 26, to watch the culmination of the 2017 Rockaway T20 New York Cricket Fiesta. The tournament sponsored by the Rockaway Group of Companies is now in its second year.

At 10:00 AM Guyana locked horns with Pakistan in the semi-final. Both franchises had won three games each in the preliminary portion of the tournament. The curtain came down on the 2017 championships at 2:30 PM with the New York Select XI battling it out with Pakistan, winner of the semi-final against Guyana.

SEMI-FINAL
Let me see, how best to summarize this game in one sentence. Yes, here it is! “Guyana gifted semi-final to Pakistan.” I once overheard someone say that a T20 game is a battle of two teams, each maneuvering for supremacy for the most part, in a battle comprising of 20 parts. This suggests that whichever team comes out on top in most of the overs, wins the game. Not so in this semi-final game.

Pakistan won the coin toss and elected to take first strike first. Guyana held the advantage over Pakistan for 17 overs. At the end of the 17th over Pakistan was 108 for 7. The Guyana bowlers were on top. The Pakistan top batsmen were back in the pavilion. Then came the fateful 18th and 19th overs. For some reason, which I do not know, or cannot explain, the Guyana bowlers lost their guile. At the same time fielders decided to take a break from their duties. They misfielded grounders badly. As for their catching, they were atrocious. In those two overs alone they grassed four possible catches. It was like “catching smoke in a basket.” The 18th over yielded 15 runs while Guyana bled for 23 runs in the 19th over. Pakistan’s final score in their 20 overs was 156 for 9 wickets. Shazad Shahid (23), Jahanzeb Alam (21), and Wahab Munir (37). Rajiv Ivan captured a fiver for 19, while Hemindra Ramdihal hauled in 2 for 23.

Guyana, having been steam-rolled over by a vicious Pakistan hitting and their own ineptitude, lost the sharpness in their tentacles when their turn at bat came. Only one batsman Andre Kirton (30) scored in the thirties, while one other Akshay Homraj (23) scored in the twenties. Guyana was unable to pull itself out of the hole they had dug. Wickets tumbled like bowling pins. They were mesmerized by the tidy Pakistani bowling attack. Guyana fell for 129 runs, 27 short of the required score. Adnan Nasik (2 for 16), Tamoor Haider (2 for 28), Adil Nosherwan (2 for 24), and Asad Munawar (2 for 19) combined their bowling efforts to ensure that their team came out on top.

FINAL
In the championship game of the day, the New York Select Xl met Pakistan, and like in the semi-final, Pakistan won the toss and decided to take first knock. From the body language of the New York Xl players, one could surmise, “Those boys came out to play.” That is exactly what they did. The pacers were racing in and firing the ball. Even the spinners showed some zip in their deliveries. In the first over, Pakistan scored 11 runs. The first ball of the second over sent back the first Pakistani batsman. From then on wickets fell at regular intervals. The Pakistani batsmen were unable to mount any partnerships. Their last wicket fell on the first ball of the19th over. Their final score, 138 all out.

Saliq Iqbal (33), Wahab Munir (23). Mohamed Khalil (21). Routing out the batsmen were Seon Daniels 3 for 23, Devashwari Prasad 3 for 17, and Karan Ganesh 2 for 31.

Needing 139 runs for victory, and the championship, New York opened with Muneshwar Chris Patandin and Wahid Ward. The first wicket, Ward (21) fell with the score on 44, and in the 6th over. A platform had been set. Patandin was severe on the Pakistani bowlers. Final New York score, 142 for 3. In the end Patandin was 61 not out off of 50 deliveries. The other batsmen merely played a supporting role to him. Wasim Haslim (15), Jamal Hickson (15). Muhammad Khalil, Asad Munawar, and Tamoor Haider had one wicket each for 22, 22, and 39 runs, respectively.

At the presentation that followed the game, personal honors went to Chris Patandin, (MVP and Best Batsman), and to Seon Daniels (Best Bowler). A check for $7000 was presented to the winner New York and a check for $3000 to the runner-up Pakistan.

USA national coach Pubudu Dassanayake was in New York for the tournament and was on hand for both matches. He was very impressed with the standard of the tournament, matches, and the skills of the players participating. Coach Dessanayake, a former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper participated in the presentation by handing over the MVP award to Muneshwar Chris Patandin.

A formal presentation ceremony is set for early September at the Royal Empress Hall, 122-01 Rockaway Boulevard, Queens, when the championship trophy and other hardware will be handed over.

Officiating umpires were Danny Khan, and Vijay Mallela, who did an outstanding job. Of course, the commentary team of Lenny Achaibar and Carl Bennett, joined by Jamie Paul Lloyd did an excellent job of calling the games ball by ball.

The Rockaway T20 New York Cricket Fiesta is sponsored by the Rockaway Group of Companies in conjunction with the following local businesses – Apple Car and Limo Service, Ali and Sons Home Improvement, Ali’s Special Auto Repair Shop, Cash Gift Cards, Cricket Zone USA, Dave Central Auto Repair, Lesly Lowe, President – Commonwealth Cricket League, Main Street Insurance, Ozone Auto Body, Ramsundar Insurance and Travel Services, and SKKY Wireless.