By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 32nd Anniversary):- On a day when the battle between two arched rivals was predicted to be fierce Cosmos produced one of their best performances to date. We didn’t think that it was going to be a smooth sailing neither did we think that after so many hard fought contests against one of our most formidable oppositions that the tide would have turned so dramatically in this match-up.
By the time the predicted thunderstorms arrived late in the afternoon, and in buckets-full, Cosmos was well on their way of sealing a crucial victory at 74 for 4, chasing 104 runs with 15 overs remaining when the skies opened up.
Progressive got off to a good start after they won the toss and elected to bat with an opening stand that yielded 41 runs in eight overs between C. Mendoza. An early change in the attack got Cosmos the breakthrough when Ricky Kissoon sneaked through the gates of Hart defense. The usually safe hands of Faisal Taj may have inspired Cosmos on this day after he floured a miscued dolly from Mendonca at short backward square off Dass. That chance was short-lived when in the next over Mendoza called P. Dewar for a tight single closed to the wicket, Choy pounced on it pick up, tumbled and gave Ganesh Ramsingh a perfect throw to leave a diving Dewar stranded. The next man in D. Morand then went high to deep long-off where Rasheem James waited comfortably give Kissoon his 2nd wicket.
At the other end, Dass was probing a tight line before he induced Captain K. George into a hook which took a thin edge and Cyril Choy took a stunner standing up to the wicket. Choy was inspired, Cosmos was on fire while Dass was radar-like working a line on off stump. He then drew L. Celestine into big flash that flew to 2nd slip where Taj was reprieved when he held on to a stinger, 51 for 4.
Dass, the former Guyana national player, was blazing through a discipline spell with 2 for 30, while Ricky Kissoon, left arm orthodox was clinical in his spell and quietly making an incision at the other end after a bowling change in the 9th over. He (Kissoon ) then held on to a low return catch to removed Mendonca (21) as he completed a parsimonious spell of 3 for 13 off 8 overs.
By the 19th over, Progressive top order had slumped from 40 without loss to 60 for 7 and Cosmos ceased the opportunity to turn this match on its head. Keith Edie replaced Dass and he immediately got into the act when Dass dived forward at extra cover to take one inches off the ground to dismiss T. Baptiste, some say it was his momentum that took him forward, some say it was effort and others say otherwise. G. Allen briefly held the inning together, but Taj ripped through the opposition tail.
The danger-man Mikey Alexis had taken Edie two boundaries beyond the original one for a massive six, before Taj dragged him into a heave and Rasheem James judged an excellent catch as he ran in from deep mid-on, with hands like a bucket, 85 for 8. Taj then trapped M. Miller. Allen was last to go when Edie’s imitation of Dass catch is a bit farfetched, but he up for the prize when Allen drove at Taj faster ball, Edie at 1st slip dived to 2nd slip and came up with a one-handed stunner, 104 all out. Cosmos was just brilliant on this day on the field as Taj returned with figures of 3 for 12 of 2.2 overs.
Ganesh Ramsingh signs of early form in the season appeared like a man who had been playing all winter. He wasted no time to get the scoreboard ticking with a dismissive pull over mid-wicket, and then unleashed an immaculate drive to the extra cover boundary off paceman M. Miller. Taj got into the fray over square leg to give Cosmos a good start, before Taj (16) ill-advised heaved with head to the sky got his stumps rocked back, 41 for 1 in the 10th over. With the wind picking up and the clouds rolling in, Edie, reprieved on naught, decided that he will play a patient inning. Conversely, Ramsingh (28) was trying to finish the inning when he went with the score on 59. The first sign of a light drizzle was a signal to stay ahead of the required rate. When the skies finally opened up Cosmos had positioned themselves for a good victory.