By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 44th Anniversary – (Match #1231):-
Sohan Dass, the former Guyana National player, dug deep into his wealth of experience and repertoire of selected strokes and delivered a telling rearguard effort to defeat Warriors at Randalls Island last Sunday.

In a crucial decider for a playoffs spot, Dass ensured that his team stay alive after Cosmos bowling attack had showed their resilience and restricted the opposition to a low total. A good opening spell between Ryan Ganesh and yours truly, Sham Ali, delivered a serious blow to the Warriors top order as they removed the first five batsmen.

Sohan Dass
Sohan Dass coming in at number 8, ensured Cosmos registered the win with a knock of 42. Photo by Sham Ali

Ali struck in his first over to remove A. Singh when Shane Singh held on to an excellent catch at deep mid-off, but then sustained an injury in the next over and had to leave the field. Young Alvin Gobin appeared eager to be on the field, and continues to good account of himself as a budding young player patrolling crucial positions at point and slip.

Cosmos boys were outstanding in the field despite the blazing heat and humidity. Devindra Balgobin lifted his team with an inspired performance. He caught wind on this day and anything that was within his range. He held on to a well judged catch at deep mid-wicket to remove C. Persaud (20), a sharp catch at point and another at square leg despite a damaged middle finger (no interpretation). Ganesh got into the wickets column when he got one that moved back late to trap to A. Christian (20) on the back foot, and followed up with another when Y. Bachan attempted flick took an edge and wicketkeeper Yudesh Shivpersaud threw himself and picked off a one-handed blinder inches off the ground down the legside.

At 53 for 5 in the 10th over, Cosmos had Warriors backed into a corner, and was in good control of the match despite a few mini partnerships from the Warriors lower order managed. Ganesh was impressive as he kept his troops in focus despite the heat along with his autopilot taking control at times manipulating both the field and bowling changes. Ganesh held on to well judge skier at deep mid-on off Gourdeen.

Cosmos then proceeded to wrap-up the lower order with a sort of calculated efficiency as they restricted the opposition to a below par score of 131 all out in 27.5 overs. S. Ali took 3 for 34, R. Ganesh 2 for 29. Towgeshwar Thakoordeen bowled a lot better than his 1 for 21 would suggest, while G. Gourdeen and S. Dass took one wicket a piece for 20, 10 runs respectively.

Despite being bowled out for a below par total, Warriors would not down without a fight creating a mountain out of a small total courtesy of a wounded Cosmos top order that was dealt an even more painful blow with a few unnecessary shots. Shane Singh braved his injury but was back on the bench by the third over. Alex Chunilall countered with an 8-ball 20 runs taking the score to 30 for 1 before he dabbled and nicked behind. The helmetless, Shivpersaud swept, got a top edge, and had to retire from a gash above his eyelash that required stitches.

S. Javed then removed Akash Rahim when he was struck playing back to a full delivery, and then walked through the gates of Balgobin. Ganesh in a terrible mixed-up with Naresh Persaud ran himself out, and suddenly Cosmos camp was in disarray at 41 for 6 in the 8th over as Warriors had done a significant damage to the top order.

The dramatics of those four overs is one that this Cosmos team would not want to repeat again as they had engineered a similar destruction against Renegades earlier in the season and suffered the consequences. However, this is a more focused and confident Cosmos team notwithstanding being the underdogs over the last two seasons, and they have demonstrated the belief and ability to overcome any circumstances.

They showed their resilience and ability to fight back after this opposition had knocked them over earlier this season, but this is a determined Cosmos team that gave meaning to the phrase ‘it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog’ and that was on display last Sunday by this team that appeared to have metamorphosised itself into a formidable unit.

Naresh Persaud was joined by Sohan Dass, and they buckled down and batted with a sort of ingrained confidence as if they had all wickets in hand, albeit, that they were tasked with the responsibility of digging their team out of a deep hole with a spoon. Persaud has not had much time at the wicket prior to this match, but he can bat and he was in good company with the experienced Dass to guide him and calm his nerves.

Persaud ceased the opportunity to confirm his ability with the bat, playing a very responsible inning at a crucial stage. He was cautiously selective in the shot selection, but once he got going, he drove powerfully through the mid-off and extra-cover, and in the process unleashed two dismissive maximums over mid-on and mid-wicket putting an exclamation mark on the opposition charge and shifted the momentum over to the Cosmos side.

Dass kept the peace and control of the match. He dug deep with a dogged counterattack as the sun sets on the lush greens on Randalls Island, pacing his inning in a way that seemed tailored of dismissing any potential Warriors ambitions of reeling themselves back into the match.

Naresh Persaud
Naresh Persaud played a vital role scoring 28. Photo by Sham Ali

He opened his account with a spanking straight six that cleared the ropes, the bushes, and the hill on its way to no return, and followed up with a blistering square cut, who said that the grass is thick. He proceeded to put on a clinic of how to be selective when your team is in trouble and build an inning in the process. A commanding performance was on show between Dass and Persaud that dampened any lingering hopes of this opposition had as they stitched together a crucial 53-runs 7th wicket partnership taking the score to 94 runs by the 17th over, before Persaud (28) top-edged a pull.

With 37 runs needed in 13 overs, Ali joined Dass and confirmed that their partnership against Amazon Jaguars two weeks ago was nothing but the-real-thing-baby as they repeated the same in this match. Ali defended stoically for a ‘solid’ 7 runs in 28 balls and a strike rate that went south south, let it keep going, just to put a plug in the worthless banter, who cares! His only mark of aggression came from a huge maximum over mid-wicket off a free-hit. While some unkind souls may cringe a cheek at the slow progression towards the target this pair has been milled over the years to know how dramatically things can turn around especially with two ‘heavy-hitters’ in Thakoordeen and Gourdeen waiting nervously.

Dass has been measured throughout his inning and timed the end to perfection with a whiff of clinical effectiveness. Chasing down a target and getting over the finishing line has been a frustrating Achilles heel as of late for this inexperienced Cosmos line-up, however, Sohan Dass inning of 43 runs not out demonstrated to this young team, by example, how to fix that.

Like a well oiled machine, he carefully chiseled away at the target one-run-at-a-time and brought it to within 18 runs needed for victory. At that stage, though a little heavy on the legs these days, he offered a peek into his glory days as a Guyana National Player when he creamed the off-spinner over mid-wicket, and a loud roar in unison of ‘Yes Uncle Sooo’ came from an elated Cosmos camp. And for good measure, he drove the plug a little further into the test match banter, and replayed stroke, this time it went further, and that may have put on display a little glimmer of what might yet to come as Cosmos buttoned up this target of 131 runs in 26.5 overs with a comprehensive 3-wicket victory.

Cosmos Family day next Sunday at Randalls Island and will play Staten Island.