Big Apple Sports Club behind solid contributions with willow and leather, nudged Atlantis Cricket Club – NY out of the 2015 EACA Cricket Zone 40-Overs Final. Credit goes to the Zaheer Saffie led Big Apple, defeating Atlantis in the 40-Overs final last year, and this year ensuring the boys in green won’t make it again to the final circle.
Playing before a fair sized crowd at The Cage in Queens, NY, Atlantis was off to an ignoble start, losing the wickets of openers Michael Noble and Shawn Mason for 1 and 8 respectively, with credit going to Telston Johnson and veteran Kevin Darlington.
Hope, however prevailed in a partnership of 62 between Atlantis’ two USA national players Nicholas Standford, 24 off 37 deliveries and skipper Alex Amsterdam, 97 off 84 balls. With Standford being caught off the bowling of former West Indies Test player Adam Sanford, Atlantis’ prayers were expected to essentially be answered by Dwayne Smith, Jamal Hinckson, Treon Forde, and the power-hitter Kavishwar Bridgepaul.
Surely one of those four bats would stand up and bat alongside Amsterdam. The latter endured some body shots from Sanford and Darlington, while wanting to give Atlantis the type of total needed to defend against the batting line up of the boys in pink. That did not happen, as wickets fell at regular intervals while Amsterdam watched from the other end. Smith, 16, Hinckson, 5, Forde, 9, Bridgepaul, 2. The remaining batsmen Keon Lake, Prashanth Nair and Greg Robinson amassed a grand total contribution of two runs from the trio, as Atlantis collapsed at the 188 run mark in 35 overs, with Extras chipping in with 24.
Amsterdam’s unfortunate run out while on 97, robbed the very talented all-rounder of another seasoned ton for 2015. Soon after Amsterdam was removed, Big Apple reintroduced Adam Sanford in the latter overs and it proved effective as he snared the wickets of Nair and Robinson, rendering both men scoreless. Sanford’s 3 for 19 off 7 overs was the type of bowling performances behind which Big Apple may have been pinning their hopes of a victory. Darlington and Johnson with two wickets each at a cost of 43 and 55 respectively, helped, but would have been insufficient to keep the Atlantis batting line up quiet for very long.
The Atlantis wickets fell at 15, 16, 56, 118, 135, 167, 170, 185, 188 and 188. Dominique Rikhi with 1 for 4 off 2 overs and skipper Saffie with 1 for 46 off 6 overs were responsible for the remaining two wickets.
Would 188 be enough to move Atlantis on to the finals? There was baited anticipation around The Cage on whether Atlantis could pull off the victory, having lost to Big Apple sans Sanford, earlier in the season.
Big Apple opened with former Atlantis player Dominique Rikhi and Tyrel Dat, However, Rikhi was gone at the end of the first over, from the bowling of his brother Michael Noble via the hands of Shawn Mason, with the Big Apple total at 6. Richard Ramdeen, 2, followed soon after with the score at 13, reminiscent of Atlantis’ inning. A jubilant Atlantis raised their hopes, more so when Big Apple’s third wicket fell with the score having limped to 29.
However, an 84-run fourth-wicket stand between skipper Saffie, 56, and the talented Trevis Ross, 30 solidified Big Apple’s response. With contributions of an unbeaten 38 from a swashbuckling Adam Sanford and 25 from Donwell Hector, Big Apple was all but assured of the victory. In the death overs Sanford was particularly brutal on the Atlantis bowlers, especially Prashanth Nair. The solidly built batsmen chose to pick between which cars parked on Foch Boulevard, to dump the ball. He dumped four maximums racing the Big Apple score along to 194 and the victory.
There was a moment of further hope when Adam Sanford deposited one into the palms of Nicholas Standford who failed to close the shutters in time, depositing the ball on the field. While Atlantis held its breath, Big Apple exhaled at the life given. At the time Sanford was batting with Kevin Darlington and the Big Apple tail was wagging. The missed opportunity was no doubt the turning point of the game, and Big Apple would go on to a two-wicket victory.
The Big Apple wickets fell at 6, 13, 29, 113, 115, 144, 148, and 173. Bowling for Atlantis; Michael Noble with 3 for 45 off 8 overs was the pick of the litter. Alex Amsterdam had 2 for 33 off 5 overs and Keon Lake 1 for 22, Greg Robinson 1 for 27 and Prashanth Nair 1 for 43, rounded out the eighth Big Apple dismissals in 36.1 overs.
When one compares the fall of wickets and number of overs batted by each team, it appears that Atlantis would have enjoyed the better of the two innings, however, the uncertainty of cricket is as such that the bat of Big Apple’s Adam Sanford did the talking in the latter overs, and was enough to reap a bountiful Big Apple harvest; catapulting the boys in pink to the finals, and to meet the blue nation – Liberty Sports Club, which has lost only one match all season.
The EACA Cricket Zone 40-Overs final should be an exciting one this Sunday at the same venue – The Cage.