Luke Skywalker did not show up at Floyd Bennett Cricket Ground on Sunday, and one may argue that Lucas Sports Club did not either. My apologies. Any further references to Star Wars is purely coincidental.
The 10th round match-up was never billed as an inter-Galactic war, so no futuristic looking vehicles transported the players to the middle of the battle ground, in the low-scoring encounter. Atlantis did however, provide speedy transportation for the Lucas warriors back to their mother ship in the shade.
The 40-overs match was reduced to 35 overs after a late start, and saw Lucas winning the toss and opting to take first strike. Lucas was almost immediately in trouble, losing their first three wickets with less than 25 runs on the tins. However, the Atlantis bowlers very generously contributed to Lucas’ total by shooting wide of the Planet Sticks on no fewer than 16 occasions. Despite Atlantis’ errant ways with balls of the wide variety, the Lucas warriors had difficulty establishing partnerships and frequently rotated the entry and exit of their batsmen.
With the exception of Nalburn Whittaker, 18 not out (3x4s) off 12 balls, the other 10 Lucas batsmen posted digits ranging from zero to 9, with only six positive numerical contributions. Lucas would end on 66 all out in 21.1 overs, with their wickets falling at: 8, 21, 24, 36, 36, 39, 40, 41, 51 and 66. Extras matched Whittaker’s total of 18.
In addition to two catches to his credit, Prashant Nair was the most successful Atlantis inter-Galactic bowling warrior, shooting down four enemy aircraft for only 18 runs off his four overs. Keon Lake 5.1-2-12-2, Greg Robinson 7-1-18-2 and Dwayne Hurley 5-1-16-1 rounded out the quartet of Atlantis bowlers used. There was one run out. Worthy of note is Lake’s first 3 of 5 overs yielded only one run, and included two maidens and one wicket. Robinson’s first 4 of 7 overs produced one maiden, one wicket and cost only five runs.
Francis Mendonca was brilliant behind the sticks, claiming three stumping victims and featuring in the one run-out via Prashant Nair.
Atlantis Strikes Back
Atlantis was en route to an apparent rout as the first five overs faced produced more than 50% of the required run total. Opening with the light saber duo of Francis Mendonca and Suleman Ahmad, with each batsman looking to go Han Solo style in knocking off the required runs, Atlantis looked toward the skies and a 9-1 season record. The two batsmen were equally aggressive running between the wickets, and on the Lucas bowlers, knocking off the runs in 9.5 overs at the 70 run mark and winning by 10 wickets.
Pakistani native Suleman Ahmad playing in only his third match since joining Atlantis this season, was 35 not out (4x4s), while his opening partner Francis Mendonca scored 29 unbeaten runs (4x4s). Ahmad survived a dropped catch when on 27, however it did not affect his aggression in the middle, as he appears to be gaining in confidence playing on a matting pitch for only the third time in the USA.
Lucas, it appears did not have the fire power aircraft to shoot down the Atlantis batsmen and even Kenobi did not alight from one of the three training helicopters circling above planet Floyd Bennett, or the frequent commercial aircraft in decent and headed for JFK International Airport
With two rounds of matches left, 10 points separate the top four teams, with Atlantis at 55 points having won 90% of their matches so far. The scramble to the top is on, and to knock Atlantis off the pedestal.
Atlantis will be further tested this Sunday; and will learn whether the force is with them, when they come up against a star-studded 6-3 Island Wide Cricket Club at Floyd Bennett Cricket Ground, Brooklyn, NY. Match time is 12:30 PM.