Cosmos and Friends played an exciting and exhilarating game this past Saturday.
Winning the toss, Theo Mavro sent the Friends team to field in the hot sun and with a few members missing wanted to capitalize the most on the opposition’s fatigue factor later on in the day. Things however didn’t go much as planned, as Cosmos was quickly on the back foot when the Shahid brothers removed the first three Cosmos batsmen in quick succession with some disciplined line and length bowling in the first ten overs.
Tith Sanyal, Arjunan Ethirveerasingam and Abhimanyu Rajp all went back to the pavilion without much trouble to the scorers, and Cosmos was looking down at the barrel in the 10th over with the score on 19 for 3. Theo Mavro played a loose shot in the air to mid-off and Shayan Ahmed sent Abhishekh Pawar back with a brilliant take at first slip. It was quickly 47 for 5 inside 15 overs. Then a small partnership was built between Ali Shafi and Mohammed Amin. The pair got the biggest partnership of the morning and kept going by adding each and every run to the team’s total, to be able to defend later in the day. Both batsmen showed maturity and a calm attitude, but the hill was too steep to climb. Soon Shafi (15), the man in form, was adjudged LBW and Cosmos fell further 75 for 6 in 20 overs.
Amin (28 off 24) was then joined by Gurpreet Sandhu (26 off 65) but tried to take the aerial route and failed. Sadhu kept slaving away with the tail and Cosmos’ tail added each and every run they could till the end and ended up with 132 in 40 overs.
Friends needed 132 in 45 overs, a mere dispensable target, but Cosmos’ bowlers had other plans. Abhimanyu Rajp was given the nod to open with Jafar Naqvi and he struck in second over (10 for 1 in 2 overs), then again twice in his third (47 for 3 in 5 overs) and once again in his fifth when he caught and bowled Shayan Ahmed who was inflicting the most damage (52 for 4 in 7 overs).
The belief was back in the Cosmos camp and just before the break Rajp denied a triple run as the batsmen tested his arm and Abdul Ghani Sr. was run out (72 for 5 in 11 overs) The aggressive fields set by Rajp were playing with the minds of the batsmen.
Mohammed Amin bowled in tandem with Rajp, who kept chipping away at the wickets and then he struck with his own arm ball that was edged to first slip where Rajp took a clean and quick take of Hammad Shahid, who had been looking good at the crease. He had built a small partnership with Asif Ali. It was 103 for 6, but Amin struck again in the same over taking another edge off Usman Khan caught by Shafi behind the stumps with the score at 103 for 7 in 18 overs. It took 28 runs to get, with the lone Asif Ali at bat with the tail.
Rajp was brought back into the attack and cleaned the stumps of Asif Ali to give Cosmos the 8th wicket in the very next over with the score at 111 for 8 in 19 overs. Rajp took his second five-fer in as many games.
With 21 runs still to get, Farhan Usmani was soon run-out as Friends panicked and tried to steal a run. The scoreboard read 118 for 9 in 23 overs. The last wicket needed 15 to win, but Cosmos’ Umar Ali bowled one straight and short of length to clean up the middle stump of Asif Idress who went for a heave and that was all she wrote 121 all out.
It was just one of those games that will be remembered by all who played, with Cosmos prevailing over Friends, with Rajp finishing with 5 for 41 and Amin 2 for 34.
Cosmos would like to thank Umar Ali and Kanwar Malik for driving down from the Bay to help the team, and wishes Friends the very best for the rest of the season.