By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 44th Anniversary – (Match #1240):-
Glorious uncertainties can sometimes be translated into a comedy thriller, however, it would have been difficult to write the script of what transpired at Walker Park in Staten last Sunday when Cosmos and Staten Island battled in the T20 competition of the New York National Cricket League.

Cosmos had reduced Staten Island to 130 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs after a good effort in the field. Alex Babulall picked up 3 for 35 that included the wicket of danger-man Abdul Chowdhury when Towgeshwar Thakoordeen pulled off a brilliant one-handed blinder at backward square leg. Andy Mohamed, Thakoordeen and Sohan Dass then combined to keep the run rate under control in the closing overs.

Vijai Ankumar
Vijai Ankumar

Cosmos in their reply got off to a shaky start when Kemar Cox, with a doggy back and all, turned for an ill-advised second run in the second over and was run out, 5 for 1. Antanio Rooplall and Mark Fredricks repaired the inning with a steady 45-run partnership by the 7th over, but just when Fredricks was beginning to look comfortable, he miscued a pull and he went for 19. Andy Mohamed and Rooplall gave Cosmos inning a solid platform with an excellent half-century partnership taking the score to 112. Mohamed struck the ball with authority and looked very much like his usual self when he struck a brilliant century for Cosmos, 101 not out v Sheffield at Floyd Bennett field in 2015, before he went for a solid 35 runs. Cosmos was in a good position with Rooplall playing anchor role and looked quite comfortable and in command with 19 runs needed off 24 balls, and Cosmos was poised for a ‘comfortable’ victory.

Well, not so fast, and that which occurred thereafter is a stark reminder that this game of cricket is not won or lost until the final run is scored or last ball is bowled, and Cosmos has been there many times before. At this same venue in 1984, Cosmos was looking to get 119 for victory in 35 overs. The Cosmos scorecard read 91 for 1 in 23 overs. Yours truly called Ashmul Ali for a suicidal run; he is run out for 48. Youthful indiscretion! There wasn’t much conversation at home for that week lol. Suddenly the scoreboard went into a frightening free-fall from 91 for 1 to 105 for 7, then from 115 for 7 to 118 for 7. Fast bowler, Vijai Ankumar was having a good match so far, he had earlier scalped 4 for 21 off 12 overs, and he brought his team to within a few runs for victory. However, he watched in dismay as he was stuck at the non-striker’s end on 14, as his team got bowled out for 118 in 34.3 overs. He took almost a year to walk off the field.

Similar drama played out in this match, but in a much more unbelievable atmosphere of chaos and excitement with Cosmos on 129 for 3 in 18.4 over.

18.5. Cosmos needed 2 runs off 8 balls.
An injudicious swing for glory from Antanio Rooplall on 49 started the show when he charged down the wicket and missed. He is bowled.

18.6. Still 2 runs needed off 7 balls.
Sohan Dass, the former Guyana National player, pushed to cover for an easy single and took off. That would have tied the score. Balgobin did the Yes/No jiggle at the non-striker’s end and sent Dass back when he was already halfway down the wicket. At this age Dass would have not some, but plenty of difficulty to turn in such small space and Balgobin may agree. Good luck with that shout of No youngman. You just ran out the national. Dass Out! Run out. Youthful indiscretion.

End of the 19th over.

19.1. Still 2 runs needed off 6 balls.
Balgobin push to mid-on for an easy single. Runs are tied. Cosmos can’t loose now, no way with Doneshwar Dayanand waiting to wheel his new Wasiq.

19.2. Cosmos needed 1 run off 5 balls.
Alex Babulall, got a nice juicy full-toss, his eyes lighted up. He swung and missed. Out. Bowled. He said that “it was in the slot’ though. I thought that is was the only blind man on the team.

19.3. Still 1 run needed, now off 4 balls.
Yours truly will finish this off. He flashed at a wide-ish delivery and missed, didn’t see it.

19.4. Still 1 run is needed, now off 3 balls.
Sham Ali, got a half-tracker, he shaped up for the pull, but it is a shooter. Didn’t see that either! Furniture bruck-up. Out! Bowled. Laad gaad. Drama.

19.5. That 1 run got teeth, now off 2 balls.
Mukesh Sookram, a former US national player, walked nonchalantly to the wicket with a touch of pomp. He did the dance before the ball was bowled. He took two steps down the wicket and a swung hard. He got a good piece and it flew to short mid-on. Game over. Not so fast, mid-on stuck a hand out and it stuck, Oh sk@$%, what just happened there. The national stood for a while in shock. Out! Caught. More Drama.

Doneshwar Dayanand is a nervous wreck, he is pacing. It doesn’t appear like he wanted to go to bat. Gone to pee. Thakoordeen had already changed. He hurriedly put his pads on. Hero or zero.

19.6. Now 1 run needed off 1 ball. Drama!
Big decision time. Swing for the hills or push and run and hopefully compete with his teammate Kemar Cox who said a few minutes ago that he once recorded 10.9 seconds on a 100 meters dash in Jamaica. Dass inquired whether the stopwatch was on fast forward. What are friends for. Cox whisked out a picture of himself to show his 6-pack then compared to his 12-pack now. All of this going on in the heat of this match.

Push and run is it. A note of caution. Remember that Thakoordeen, Cosmos ace left-arm orthodox spinner, is a slow starter off the crease, slow in the run, and an even slower to the end. Bet on your horse.

They are taking a year to bowl this last ball. He pushes to extra cover and they are off to the derby. There is a fumble. Balgobin took off a bit like Dass, but arrived safely, however, Thakoordeen is on a mission to get to the other end. The throw comes in to the bowlers end; they probably marked him as the target, the bowler stretched forward for the throw. It is low, he slipped but still managed to gather and then made a desperate lunged for the stumps. Thakoordeen is still on a mission, his legs are in a serious argument with his upper body, he runs slower that he bowled, he decided to put the dive in to make up for lost ground. The wicket is knocked over, all of it. The dive is a desperate one, but late to the line, it’s a 100.9 seconds on this 22 yards dash, and the stopwatch was still on fast forward.

Cricket in all its glory and it is still the best at the local level. Test Match Umpire Steve Buckner have seen many contests in his career, but none like this one as he stood firm and absorbed all of it. Disappointment and Excitement minced together as the drama comes to a close. Game over! Match tied!