By James Persaud
It was ten weeks ago Assassins took on Untouchables in the first competition final of the New York Softball Cricket League 2015 season. These same two teams met again, this time in the NYSCL 2015 President Cup final. In the first encounter Untouchables only played one quarter of the game, at least this is the way it looked on that hot sunny Sunday. This time around Untouchables looked more focus, and determined to win.
Assassins came into the game looking to advance one step closer to a Triple Crown run, looking at both team’s eleven for the game, and you had to give Assassins the edge. But as the saying goes, the game is played on the field. Untouchables had a chip on their shoulder and had to prove that they can win, after all of the adversities they faced during the qualifying round. They lost a few of their key players, but sometimes this brings out the best in you and Untouchables won the championship to prove this.
With a good sized crowd on hand, Untouchables won the toss and without any uncertainty Captain Gonsalves asked Assassins to field first. This time around Untouchables made a few batting lineup changes. Amar Singh and Prashad Mahadeo, opened the innings and Assassins reliable pacer Shawn Persaud took hold of the ball. The ball by ball announcer Onkar Singh took his seat and began, by saying welcome to everyone and he announced the two teams final eleven players.
Shawn started off with 3 dot balls, the fourth ball, rising outside the off stump and Amar got on top and pushed it to cover point for the first score and boundary of the game. Murph Seeram shared the new ball and bowled very quickly and both openers had trouble getting their shots off. The crowd watched patiently and was somewhat divided since there was 3 finals being played in close proximity.
Assassins would not wait too long for the breakthrough, in Murph’s second over he had Prashad driving outside the off and beaten by pace and loses his stump in the process. Andrew Gonsalves made his way to the middle and knocked the first ball he faced for a triple. Both bowlers were bowling well and Amar Singh looked prepared to stay long at the crease, while Gonsalves looked more aggressive. At times Gonsalves looked repulsed with himself as he was striking the ball with power and only finding the fielder. To this point Assassins looked as if they were playing to their game plan, in restricting the batsmen free flow of runs, only seemed to have some problem with their wicket keeping and made at least 3 changes.
A double bowling change was made after the fifth over, Popie Singh the last final wrecker replaced Persaud and Frankie Baichu did the same for Murph. The new bowlers did exactly what their Skipper wanted and brought the run rate to a mere five and half run per over for the next six overs. In Baichu’s third over and the eleventh over of the game he got the wicket of the dangerous Gonsalves, hooking to deep backward square and Murph moving to his right took a marvelous catch.
This brought Ramdial to the crease and he opened his innings with a fluent cover drive that beat the fielder at cover point. By the 13th over the score was 87 for 2, Amar on 39 and Ramdial on 7. The players took a break for water and when play resumed, Murph began his second spell. Murph had Ramdial looking to turn one of his pads and as a result lost his stumps with 4 balls into the second half. The hard hitting Erapalli Sahadeo came to the crease to join Amar and this pair stayed around and build a solid 42 runs partnership. Amar and Erapalli had many midwicket conferences and this pair took some toil on the fielders. Amar showed his talent as a batsman, as he played every ball by it merit, the bowlers was bowling well, Amar determined batting style wear them down and some of the bowlers showed it.
Amit Moonsammy in his fourth over strikes twice, he bowled Amar for a well-played top score of 47 runs, and the new batsman Ravi Sahadeo lost his stump without scoring. Amar Singh played a very important innings for his team, all the Assassins bowlers, bowled well and he stayed at the crease for 21 overs. Moe Kahn was next and he tried to move the score along, he looked very troubled by the bowlers. He tried to play almost every ball off his pad or on the leg side, it worked in his favor a few times, and his missed cue went for quick singles and doubles.
With the batsmen looking for quick singles, the Assassins fielders picked up their game and made two very important run outs. Moe was run out for 7 and the diving Asif Adam was short of his crease and he was run out for 1. At one point of the innings Untouchables looked set to reach some where close to 180, but after the fall of Erapalli wicket the run rate dropped.
Shawn Persaud bowled his last two overs and picked up two wickets, he bowled Erapalli (26) and Gomel also was bowled without scoring. At the end of the 25th over Untouchables reached 159 for 9, Rudy on 2 not out and Satesh did not get off the mark. Shawn Persaud picked up 2 for 19, Murph Seeram 2 for 31, Amit Moonsammy 2 for 27 and Frankie Baichu claimed 1 for 23.
Ravi Persaud and Anand Singh walked to the middle and the deejay had the crowd on edge, looking over to the far corner behind the fine leg boundary, the Assassins camp was making their own noise. Gomel Matai was given the ball and Onkar Singh talked about Matai, the kid who hailed from Canje, Guyana and the success he had in Guyana as a bowler. Matai gave up four singles in the first over and then it was Moe Kahn turn with the ball.
Moe fourth ball had Anand Singh lifting a short ball to deep mid-wicket boundary, Asif Adam moved a few steps back and to his left and took a magnificent catch a few feet from the ropes. At this point almost everyone in the park was on their feet, some calling for six and the rest saying out. Adam stand his ground and the umpire made his way to the boundary line and return to his position and signaled out.
The new batsman was Kaleem Bux and in the next over by Gomel he had Ravi Persaud going in the same style as Anand and the same fielder in the same position. This time the umpire stood his ground and signaled out as the Untouchables fielders made their way across the field to applaud Adam again. Coming in at number four was the Assassins Skipper Brian Manniram, he had a long talk with Bux before taking his crease.
In Moe’s next over, his first ball had Bux driving to a rising ball, the ball hit high close to the bat handle and Gonsalves moving back at mid-off took the catch. The fielders appeal and before the umpire made his decision, Bux began his walk back to the pavilion. Kris Sobhai came to the crease to partner his skipper, Assassins needed a partnership badly. In Gomel’s next over he had Manniram losing his stump for 3 runs, Assassins was in all sorts of trouble and this was beginning to look too easy. The crowd was very uneasy, depending on which team you were backing, while some was calling for an early end.
Popie Singh was moved up the batting order, Popie a very good striker of the ball, but this time he found himself in a very difficult position. Popie got off the mark with a single, but he did not last long in the middle, a very good throw from Moe found him short of his crease and he was run out. The next man in was Amit Moonsammy and the crowd was somewhat disappointed and some asked where was Ellis? Gonsalves took the ball and after Moonsammy scored one run he gave an easy catch to Ramdial for the out with the score on 22 for 7.
The big man Eon Ellis stepped to the middle and Sobhai was still there. The talk around the park was that if this pair can stay together for some time they can make a difference. Kris Sobhai was batting well, somewhat slow and this was understandable since Assassins got their first boundary in the fifteenth over. In Gonsalves third over Ellis pulled a short ball to the deep long on boundary for a maximum. This might go down as a record in softball cricket Premier division, the longest stretch before a batsman score a boundary in a game.
Sobhai and Ellis brought some live to the innings, with some very quick running between the wickets picking up singles and doubles. This pair would stayed together for the next 7 overs and put on a partnership of 37 runs. After Sobhai was out for 23 caught of Gonsalves, no other batsman was able to give any support to Ellis. You would have to ask why Ellis batted so low in the order. Ellis batting at number eight, some would argue that Assassins was in early trouble, but great batsmen come out and face the heat.
Gonsalves continued to bowl, and his slow off spin was unplayable. Gonsalves had Frankie Baichu pushing forward and beaten by the spin, losses his balance and also losing his stump without scoring. Ellis innings came to an end when he was caught by Ramdial of the bowling of Asif Adam for 23, for the ninth wicket to fall and a total on 75.
Ellis batted well and was able to play himself in and stayed away from the big stroke, which was responsible for the fall of the first 4 wickets. The last pair of Murph Seeram and Shawn Persaud, batted as if they knew the end was close and played their usual style. They gave the crowd a little cameo of free style batting and put on a partnership of 19 runs. Both batsmen, Seeram and Persuad was able to score a boundary, to bring the total boundaries in the innings to 4. Seeram tried to straight drive Gonsalves back over his head and was only able only to find the fielder. Erapalli running in from deep mid-on, he took the catch and the innings came to an end on 94 all out after twenty one overs.
Shawn Persaud was left unbeaten on 6 and Murph Seeram scored 12. Andrew Gonsalves picked up 4 for 17, Gomel Matai 2 for 12, Moe Khan 2 for 16 and Asif Adam took 1 for 23 in four overs. It was another very exciting NYSCL final, a game that kept the softball cricket supporters on edge. The presentation was done right after, Assassins Manager Shafeek Alli received the second place trophy for his team.
The Untouchables skipper Andrew Gonaslves in his acceptance speech, said this is for the boys and he thanked his team mates for staying with the team. He continue to say that the team had some difficult times, buy if you stay together and play as a team and give your best at all times you will come out victorious most of the times. He thanked the team sponsors and all the player’s family members who come out on Sunday to lend their support to the team. He praised Amar Singh for winning the man of the match prize and said that his batting today was the difference in the Untouchables innings.