New York Metropolitan Cricket League

Villagers Keep Atlantis On The Ropes

John AaronNew YorkNews June 25, 2022 admin

Steve Messiah struck 89 off 85 deliveries which included a 6 and 11 fours. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

By John L. Aaron
Villagers Sports Club played host to Atlantis Cricket Club – NY last Sunday at the Roy Sweeney Cricket Oval just off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. It was a match-up that lived up to the pre-game hype of youth versus experience. The experience got the final nod, just enough to clinch a victory. The battle was reminiscent of the Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope in the 1974 classic Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman in Zaire. Villagers drew their young Atlantis opponent into the fight and laid back on the ropes as the younger opponent ran out of gas while doing everything to eke out a win.

With a capacity crowd ringing the fence off Gateway Drive, Villagers won the toss and offered Atlantis the first at-bat.

Atlantis’ opener Akeel Hoyte was quickly back under the tent without scoring. However, vice-skipper Randall Wilson and overseas registrant Kellon Carmichael opened up a joint account, with the duo depositing a combined 103 runs into the Atlantis account and bearing their names. Wilson’s contribution was 68 (4x6s, 6x4s), and Carmichael’s was 35 (2x6s, 2x4s). Other significant contributions to the fund upon which Atlantis rested its retirement future came from overseas all-rounder Ronaldo Ali Mohammed with a potential game-changer of 70 (6x6s, 6x4s) and a strike rate of 212.12.

Seth Maughn, the previous week’s marquee star with 7 for 24, made a lightning cameo appearance with the bat, scoring 45 off 22 deliveries (4x6s, 4x4s) as he took the Villagers bowlers downtown and across town with relish and to the delight of the partisan crowd. He was brutal to Aldean Elliott in the 23rd over, hitting the bowler for two fours and a six in succession, scoring 15 off just four balls. His partner in crime, Ronaldo Ali Muhammad, got in on the action taking a single and a boundary off the same over, forcing Elliott to concede 20 runs off the over. The duo would reappear in the 27th over to clock Xavier Burton for a combined 24 runs (Seth Maughn 6, 4, 6 1 and Ali Muhammad 6, 1). Ali Muhammad would almost single-handily move the Atlantis score from 209-230 in the 30th over, hitting Ryan Burnett for 6, 6, 4, 4. Nair, 1.

Kerala, India-born 13-year Atlantis veteran Prashanth Nair added 31 (3x4s), and Shawayne Kellman, playing his second game of the season, added 20 off 21 with 1×6 and 1×4. The Atlantis inning closed out at 293, all out in 39.2 overs.

It was an above-par score for the Sweeney Oval, but Villagers would depend on their batting depth to ride the 7.3 runs per over asking rate.

Among the seven bowlers used by Villagers, Alex Amsterdam had figures 5.2-0-30-3, George Adams 8-0-45-2, and Barrington Bartley 8-0-58-2. Mikie Alexis and Aldean Elliott each snared one wicket apiece.

Taking to the middle with opening bats Alex Amsterdam and Tristan Coleman, Villagers posted 59 before Amsterdam, 22, retired hurt. While Amsterdam was ‘air-lifted’ off the field by his colleagues, Coleman was bullying the Atlantis bowling at the other end before departing on 56 (6x6s, 4x4s) off 39 balls.

The other two contributions that absolutely ensured the Villagers’ victory were Steve Messiah, 89 off 85 deliveries (1×6, 11x4s). The veteran and former USA captain maintained his composure under pressure and the impending bell. He navigated an exquisite inning just eleven shy of a ton. Cassius Burton, 67 (4x6s, 6x4s) was equally composed while on the ropes, and survived being caught when on just two runs. Xavier Burton, an overseas registrant, tapped 29 before he was c&b Kellon Carmichael. Extras chipped in with 22 as Villagers reached 299 for 5 in 39 overs and punched in the victory.

The Villagers’ wickets fell at 59, 99, 121, 193, 275, and 292. Five of the eight bowlers used by Atlantis each grabbed a wicket apiece. Akeel Hoyte was the least expensive with figures of 1-0-8-1.

The preceding statistics do not adequately illustrate the fans’ high anxiety and the emotional roller coaster rides in both fight corners, particularly in the last three overs when Villagers needed 12 to win. It was dot ball versus scoring runs, even singles. Atlantis would give away two extras in the 38th over reducing the equation to 10 runs off 12 balls. Cassius Burton would punch Villagers’ ticket with a towering six off Akeel Hoyte’s last ball of the 39th over. Villagers would go on to win by five wickets and an over to spare.

In the bowling analysis: Nine of the 39 overs bowled by Villagers were double-digit scoring overs of 10-24, while eleven of the 39 overs bowled by Atlantis got tagged for between 10 and 16 runs.

In the batting analysis of 10-over quadrants: 1st. Atlantis 58/1: Villagers 96/1. 2nd. Atlantis 117/2: Villagers 178/2. 3rd. Atlantis 230/5: Villagers 213/3. 4th. Atlantis 293/10: Villagers 299/5. Although Villagers won each ten-round quadrant on the judges’ scorecards, the match came down to the final over. With Villagers needing three runs off 12 balls for the “W,” Akeel Hoyte was thrown the ball by his skipper and recorded, one, dot ball, wicket, dot ball, one, six. Atlantis no doubt needed another 15-20 runs that would have allowed them the luxury of jabbing and moving around the grass canvas a bit more freely.

With almost 600 runs scored and 15 wickets fallen, it made for an exciting day of cricket at the park across from the Gateway Shopping Mall. On the one hand, it was the highest total posted by Atlantis this season, and the team had the bowling capacity to use the collateral wisely in defending such a total potentially. On the other hand, playing before a partisan home crowd, Villagers was not about to have egg put on their face by such an energetic squad as Atlantis. It ultimately came down to the infamous rope-a-dope where the Villagers jabbed and jabbed themselves out of some tight corners and landed intermittent uppercuts and straight rights over the five-foot-high Roy Sweeney Oval fence.

At times, Atlantis tried staying close to the ropes to avoid the lobbed overhand rights, but that’s when Villagers snuck in the single and double jabs along the grass canvas, compiling points on the scorecard. The classic Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope that Villagers used as its modus operandi ultimately paid off.

Player-of-the-Match: Steve Massiah

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