Youths look to top Everest/ACS’ experience and cunning
By John L. Aaron
Entering the 2012 EACA’s Power40 Division “A” semi-finals with a record of 12-2, Atlantis would have to defeat Big Apple Cricket Club for the second time in as many weekends to reach the winner of the Everest/ACS vs. Meten-Meer-Zorg encounter in The Cage; this weekend’s venue for the EACA Division “A” finals, billed as the “Rage in the Cage.”

Atlantis' Bridgepaul drives through the covers. All photos: JLAaron

Both Atlantis and Everest/ACS emerged winners in their respective semi-final encounters, Everest defeating a youthful Meten-Meer-Zorg XI at The Cage by three wickets. Meten-Meer-Zorg scored 158 all out and Everest/ACS responded with 160 for 7, earning a place in the finals for yet another year. While Everest/ACS was rolling over MMZ, Atlantis was trying not to choke on the Big Apple at Heckscher State Park, some 40 miles away.

Batting first, Atlantis was all out for 231 in 39 overs. A somewhat modest total given their propensity for amassing 300+ runs totals this season. None the less, Atlantis would depend upon its bowlers to defend the 5.78 asking run rate.

Atlantis finding itself in a near middle-order collapse went from 133 for 4 to 167 for 8, before its returning skipper Prashanth Nair and wicketkeeper Clifford Hamilton produced a 39 run partnership, taking their team past the 200 run mark.  Atlantis also welcomed the contribution of 60 extras from Big Apple’s uncharacteristic poor bowling performance that included 46 wides.

Atlantis’ top scorer was Kavishwar Bridgepaul with 46 (2x6s, 6x4s), opener Henderson Blades with 39 (3x6s, 3x4s), wicketkeeper Clifford Hamilton, 20 (1×6, 1×4), skipper Nair with 21 (2x4s) and Shawn Mason, 14 (2x4s). The other batsmen failed to ignite beyond single digits.

The Atlantis wickets fell at 43, 82, 82, 133, 165, 165, 166, 167, 206 and 231. Bowling for Big Apple: Mark “Chucky” Gomes was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 23 off 7 overs, followed by Shiv Raghubar 2 for 5 off 4 overs, Narindra Balram 2 for 32 off 3 overs, with Telston Johnson, Charlton Senior and Kumar Nandalall each with one wicket apiece at a cost of 54, 49, and 32 runs respectively.

Atlantis' skipper Nair drives one for four.

Big Apple confidently opened their inning with Francis Mendonca and Mark Gomes; however Mendonca would be the first to exit, caught off the bowling of Dwayne Hurley, having contributed only four runs with the score at five. Skipper Zaheer Saffie with a painstaking 23 off 36 balls would depart next, however opener Mark Gomes with an even more patient knock of 42 (1×6, 4x4s) off 54 deliveries would emerge the top scorer for big Apple. There was some resistance from the tail-enders as Atlantis’ bowlers got somewhat sloppy and allowed the last three batsmen (Mark Gomes, Telston Johnson, and Charlton Senior to score double figures of 21, 14 and 14 respectfully pushing the Big Apple total to a gallant but futile 176 all out in 32 overs.

With an almost identical middle-order collapse similar to Atlantis’ Big Apple’s season-consistent batsmen did not get going, as the team lost wickets at 5, 56, 62, 89, 111, 112, 112, 128, 161 and 176.  Extras contributed 35. Defending Atlantis’ 231, the Big Apple wickets were spread among the five bowlers used by Atlantis, with Jason Greaves posting figures of 8-0-44-3, Jermaine Horatio 3-0-14-2, Prashanth Nair 7-2-27-2, Dwayne Hurley 8-0-49-2 and Nicholas Standford 6-0-36-1. It was a commendable and sustained effort by the Atlantis bowlers to contain an explosive batting line-up such as Big Apple’s.

The 55-run Atlantis semifinal victory was due in large part to the contributions of the team’s bowlers for spreading the wealth of wickets, as much as it was to skipper Nair for doggedly sticking around at the wicket to see Atlantis over the psychological hump of 200 runs on the board. It also showed the determined depth of Atlantis in the batting and bowling departments, as very often a new “hero” or group of “heroes” emerge from among the Atlantis bowlers or batsmen in each match.

Atlantis' Dwayne Hurley delivers.

This weekend, Atlantis will need all of its heroes to show up for the final encounter against an experienced and crafty Everest/ACS XI.