By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 33rd Anniversary – Match #1028):- Scorecard: Westbury 116 without loss (G. Coleman 73 not out, B. Reid 31 not out) beat Cosmos 110 all out (J. Sookdeo 15, I. Hasib 25 not out, R. James 17. J. Drysdale 3 for 40, J. Brown 3 for 11, L. St.Louis 2 for 27) by 10 wickets.
A match that was touted to be the one to watch in this first round of the playoffs turned out to be the one that didn’t gave you much to look. Cosmos openers went early. The middle order collapse. Westbury pace attack kept a tidy line. Their batting has some fire power. Cosmos could be forgiven for coming up against the most decorated championship team in the history of Metropolitan Cricket League. And so the match turned out to be a one-sided affair after Westbury openers T. Coleman and Breston Reid gunned down a paltry cosmos total.
Westbury captain, Javien Thomas, in a rather surprised move won the toss and asked Cosmos to bat. The decision turned out to be the a correct one by the second over when Faisal Taj pushed impishly outside off stump to a full delivery from paceman Drysdale and Dennison Thomas at second slip held on to a sharp catch inches off the ground. Amjad Khan and Jetendra Sookdeo followed soon after when Khan top-edged to the wicket-keeper and Sookdeo went to a rather dubious lbw decision.
It was the beginning of a ‘no-show’ for cosmos as their middle order batsmen capitulated on a pitch that behaved with some variation in bounce and one that suited the opposition pace attack. But Cosmos has been noted for their never-say-die attitude, however, on this day they simply remained quiet against an attack that looked much more adept at exploiting the conditions. With Cosmos reeling at 67 for 5 in the 10th over a recovery of sorts seemed a distance away and when Rasheem James ran himself out after taking paceman Drysdale for a maximum over mid-wicket the distance increased markedly by which time Cosmos struggled to find some loose change, a purpose or a partnership.
By the twenty-ninth over, a time when the match should have been blazing along nicely at the half way point with the ice just being poured into the cooler and the chicken into the pot any fat could have melted under the fire the match was almost over as the opposition sliced through the Cosmos line-up for a paltry 110 runs all out.
Breston Reid opened the inning with a thumping six over mid-off and that probably sparked the former West Indies youth player Coleman, though he doesn’t need much to spark him. The pair blazed their way to the target as if they had to catch a 4:30 matinee and the ten seconds showdown at Rio staring Usain Bolt blazing. If they were only a half-a-second late they would have missed the show and only noticed Usain Bolt’s footprints on the tarmac with every stride he left behind (and the others) and a legacy of untold proportions.
Coleman got into his grove when cuffed Ralston Levy impudently over point for six; a stroke that kept its height to the boundary as it cleared the baseball fence, he repeated the stroke; good stop fence, only two runs this time, and with that Coleman’s intentions were clear and none of Cosmos bowlers were spared from the brunt of his aggression. The pitch appeared to have ‘flattened’ out nicely, and if there were any devils in it earlier when Cosmos was batting they probably went into hiding or remained scared under the matting with the sight of Coleman colored afro, the sound of ball off his bat, and he in his element. Reid at the other end added to the excitement when he floored Coleman with a heart-stopping cannon straight drive that would have left him in two pieces, fortunately Coleman fended with his glove as he fell bodily to the ground. He required some ice to cool him down, but remained unperturbed, and in the next over he took Hasib for three massive, massive maximum (a few threads on the leather had enough and left) as Westbury raced with lightening speed towards the target.
And as much as the high intensity match was slanted on one side it was in good spirits. Cosmos needed a few more runs to play with if they were to offer any real challenge to this opponent or a few early wickets to spark some nerves, neither happened. Reid then took paceman Thohidhuzzaman Rana for a thumping six over mid-wicket, and with his next ball Rana floored him with one that slipped out of his fingers and ended up as a searing beamer that almost took out Reid and wicketkeeper Sookdeo. The extended hands of Rana to help Reid up (‘young bouy, you gat some pace’) is kind of sportsmanship that complemented the competitive battles between these two sides. The match was over in 9.4 overs. Westbury 116 without loss. So we waited around for the food to arrive; no need to explain why it was late. It was all Westbury from the beginning to the end. They didn’t break a sweat and neither did Cosmos, that the seams on Cosmos whites were not even soiled.
Good luck to the teams in the semi final.