By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 44th Anniversary – (Match #1224):- Cosmos gave a good account of themselves when they came up against the front-runner West Coast Warriors at Randalls Island last Sunday.
Warriors won the toss and elected to bat on a good wicket suffered an early setback when Rajendra Khan clipped the first ball from G. Gourdeen, but found Alex Chunilall who took a sharp catch at square leg. That breakthrough did not trouble the opposition as Kevin Christian, who seems to be in an aggressive mood struck the last three deliveries in Gourdeen’s over to the mid-wicket, point and extra-cover boundary. Gourdeen though had the final say when Christian poked at good out-swinger from Gourdeen that made some height and wicketkeeper Jaden Ramlakhan completed a good catch and he went for a breezy 34 runs (5-4’s, 2-6’s).
Cosmos opening attack pegged away at the Warriors line-up making inroads into top order, and at the change, off-spinners Kemar Cox and Antanio Rooplall kept a steady line and accounted for another three wickets to kept the Warriors inning quiet with two tidy spells.
However, the left-handed veteran Youghistir Bachan, a former Guyana Youth player, played a patient hand as he kept the inning together with wickets kept falling around him at regular intervals. He picked up the occasional boundary, and in the process unleashed a crisply timed sweep to the square leg boundary and then followed up with a dismissive maximum over mid-wicket; a refreshing reminder of his early days, before he was out for a solid 53-ball half-century, 53 runs (4-4’s, 2-6’s).
At 126 for 6 in the 21 overs, Cosmos attack had kept the inning in a balance, and for the umpteen times this season they have leaked too many runs towards the end of the inning and again in this match, and that turned out to be the decider. Cosmos leaked another sixty runs in the last five overs as L. Clarke produced a
33-ball 64 runs cameo that propelled the Warriors inning to a good total of 221 for 8 off their allotted 30 overs. K. Cox took 2 for 21, T. Thakoordeen 2 for 36, and G. Gourdeen 2 for 47.
In their reply, Cosmos batsmen have decided to take the airy-fairy quite and cheery approach. This is a story being told too often by this Cosmos outfit and they have sadly scripted their own demise once again after getting off to a reasonable start of 30 runs in three overs within the next twelve deliveries they were tottering on 36 for 4 in 5 overs.
Alex Chunilall and Antanio Rooplall (0) ill-advised shot selection left the Cosmos batting order with a gaping hole. Rooplall holed out at short third-man when he chased a wide delivery, and Chunilall (24 runs off 18 balls) lived by the sword and fell onto it with a big heave. Naresh Persaud was adjudged lbw. Kemar Cox had a brief 27 runs partnership with Akash Rahim, before he too missed a straight delivery.
Akash Rahim rose to the challenge of the day with an excellent inning, one of his best so far, and showed that he is one of the batsmen in Cosmos who is capable of producing some big innings. He batted with purpose, discipline and temperament on a good wicket and an outfield that offered rewards once the gap is found. The only meaningful/hopeful partnership for Cosmos came between Rahim and Devindra Balgobin that yielded 43 runs before Balgobin (21) had another one of those shaking my head with his bat-up-and-catch moments.
Rahim though remained unfazed. He peppered the arc between point and extra-cover boundary with consummate ease that at one stage of the game it looked like he would get his team home. He remained patient and batted uncomplicated relish as he unfurled a cover drive that would make the sunset jealous with its beauty to get to his half century.
At that stage, the match had been well poised where Warriors were 126 for 6 off 20 overs; Cosmos were 136 for 7 off 19 overs. Rahim needed to stick around a little longer, but appeared somewhat low on fuel in the tank as he had battled some flu-like symptoms all week and went for a well played 53 runs. He deserved a century with ten overs still remaining, but he needed some help.
Ryan Ganesh (23) is more than capable with the bat and had a few sparks, however with Cosmos lower order as brittle as a nutcrush, but not as tasty, the task to challenge this front-runner Warriors team in the closing overs were difficult. Warriors were brilliant in the field, and they kept a firm grip on the match and ensured a quick juggle of the equation to mop up the tail that left Cosmos on 164 all out in the 23rd over and sealed a convincing 57 runs victory. J. Shafeek took 3 for 18, R. Rahoman 3 for 38, and K. Ghai 2 for 18.
Cosmos will play BellHills next Sunday at Ferry Point Park, Whitestone.