By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 44th Anniversary – (Match #1226):- It was perhaps their best all-round performance so far, and a quiet revelation of the combined talent that is in the makeup of this Cosmos team, and those talents were showcased against a good opponent in Trini BoyZ when the two teams met at Randalls Island last Sunday.
And just as it had appeared to be another one of those days where the top order had once again placed too little value on their wicket, the middle-order stepped up with that sense of purpose and determination that was needed to boost the team’s confidence. It was Kemar Cox, Devindra Balgobin, and Sohan Dass who showed some spine in the Cosmos middle-order batting line-up and constructed a solid foundation that propelled their team to formidable total.
Cosmos won the toss and elected to bat on a humid day got off to a rather fortuitous start when they lost their first four wickets before the tenth over. These top order batsmen appeared technically tangled with a knack for poor shot selection, and as such, a lack of purpose in a crucial match left the team looking uneasy and in a bit of bother staring down the same route again. Shane Singh struck a straight drive and then he played ‘something like-a-flick’ in the third over, and the ball flew into the air to short extra-cover, 10 for 1. Alex Chunilall dealt in boundaries when he punched his first ball through extra cover boundary, and followed up with dismissive pull through square leg, and then twice through point that had a mark of authority. He then struck a maximum over mid-off, and in just 9 balls he raced to 30 runs, before he too played ‘something like-a-flick’ in the sixth over that flew into the air to short extra-cover, 46 for 2. Akash Rahim was given out caught behind in one of those unfortunate umpires’s decision, 48 for 3. With three wickets down, Antanio Rooplall then did the unthinkable when he played ‘something like-a-flick’ in the ninth over that flew into the air to the man at short extra-cover, 51 for 4.
Despite the early setback on this occasion, the Cosmos middle-order did not flinched and took the challenge to the opposition. Cox and Balgobin led the counterattack as the senior Cox schooled Balgobin throughout his inning. Balgobin, one of the brightest talents in Cosmos and one who had showed much promise in recent years appeared to be on track. A match-winning inning in the previous match was followed up with a crucial partnership. He settled in and played a mature inning with careful shot-selection. When he did play his shots, it was good to watch; he cuffed one over point and then nonchalantly cleared the mid-on and mid-wicket boundary for two maximums. Cox in partnership was leading the charge as well when he sent two rocket tracers over the extra-cover and mid-wicket boundaries as he composed an excellent half-century. The partnership has swelled to 98 runs before Balgobin went with the score on 149 in the 20th over. Cox then went for an excellent 41-ball 58 runs (6-4’s, 2-6’s) with Cosmos on 171 for 6 in the 22nd over.
The veteran, Sohan Dass – a former Guyana National player – then shepherd the lower order as he gave the youngsters a brief glimpse into his heyday as a national batsman. The experience which this young Cosmos team lacked in the earlier matches, Dass brought to the table on both sides of the inning. Though, not too light on the legs these days, he got off the mark with a juicy punch off the back foot that had a touch of class in it as it raced to the extra-cover boundary. He then unleashed two huge maximums over mid-wicket in the closing overs that would matched his ‘mini-me’ Balgobin any day and an elated Cosmos boys sounded the horns when the Cosmos inning closed on an imposing 230 for 9 off their allotted 30 overs.
That performance with the bat was followed by an inspired spell of swing bowling from Captain Ryan Ganesh and Kevin Persaud which made a lethal incision into the Trini BoyZ top order, and left them with virtually no chance of getting back up. Ryan knocked over K. Sailsman in his first over and then from around the wicket, he sent a ‘peach’ that swung appreciably through the gates to take out leg stump of the left handed R. Green. Alex Chunilall then held on to a blinder over his head, which measured every inch of him at deep extra-cover boundary, with such alacrity as if it was planned. That catch drew a bit of uncultured moments from one raw element in the opposition, and that can, at times, damper the day and taint relationships between teams, but those kinds are short-lived.
The danger man P. Biggs was next to go. He blazed a half-volly from Naresh Persaud to the cover-point boundary to open his account, but in the next ball, he was deceived by a well directed ‘pace-off’ ‘in-ducker’ that rattled the furniture. Persaud then clipped the edge of C. Baker and the umpire stood still-cold amidst an animated Cosmos appeal. Persaud then followed up with one that nipped off the wicket and broke the edge, it then deflected off the wicketkeeper’s glove, and Cox at second slip leaped to his left and picked off a one-handed finger-licking stunner. Cox, a little slow in the field, found some rocket fuel and took off, his teammates couldn’t catch him thereafter, 30 for 5 in 5 overs. Dass then let the sun shine a little brighter for this team when he went low and held on to a juicy stinger at short extra-cover as if it was a first love to give Persaud his third. Spectacular cricket on a Sunday afternoon. Love it!
At 30 for 6 in 6 overs. Cosmos boys scalped another two wickets to wrap their hands with a firm grip on this match. The two veterans Kerry Ramlakhan and Udhistir Kowlessar in uniform at the wicket played within their limits. The young Kyle Kowlessar seems to be maturing into a good cricketer, he showed some resistance, but Cosmos opening bowling attack had done enough damage for any counterattack. The opposition lower order that had no dressing to stop the bleeding from the earlier incision made by R. Persaud 3 for 29 and K. Persaud 3 for 32. Cox 2 for 41, and Towgeshwar Thakoordeen 2 for 23 eventually rolled out the carpet as Cosmos wrapped up a convincing 105 runs victory.
Cosmos will play Staten Island next Sunday at Walker Park, Staten Island.