By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 43rd Anniversary – Match #1192):-
In a lower scoring match against Lax Turbo in a ‘forest’ at Ferry Point Park, last Sunday Cosmos stumbled to a one wicket defeat, after Cosmos won the toss and elected to bat.

Devindra Balgobin picked up 3 for 11. Photo by Sham Ali

It was one of those days when the margin of victory or defeat was balanced on a razors edge, and in the end brings out an element of satisfaction on both sides, one more than the other. It is games like these that finds a place in one’s memory along with a deep appreciation for the uncertainty of the game where the result is not ‘guaranteed’ until the final run is scored or the last wicket is taken.

Despite the conditions of the outfield being on the bushy side, and the wicket being a concrete strip of sort, and layered with some kind of green material that makes for an uneven playing surface, the Cosmos batsmen demonstrated some witless batting as they appeared to lack the necessary application on these conditions, and as such, were once again on a brain freeze on a hot day.

It is an age where a majority of ‘cricketers’ in these parts seems to have lost the sense of purpose or the concept that occupying the wicket is the only way of scoring runs. Instead, they are blinded, misguided or individually handicapped by the hit or miss temperament of strike-rate as a major achievement to mirror the entertainment world of T20 cricket, hence they kept swing for the skies, stroking wind, and then finds themselves watching the remainder of the match from the pavilion.

Cosmos batsmen demonstrated some of that after their inning was progressing reasonably well at 54 for 2 off 11 over on and outfield where three or four runs an over was on par. Shane Singh (12) lobbed to short mid-wicket, Yudesh Shivpersaud (7) then went airy-fairy to deep mid-on. Devon McCarthy and Akash Rahim kept the score ticking before McCarthy, who looked purposeful under the conditions, played back and was adjudged lbw, and Rahim (12 off 15 balls, SR) poked at one behind. Naresh Persaud and Davindra Balgobin seems to have lost, all or most, of their marbles and heads; Persaud (8 off 9 balls, SR) swung for madness and Balgobin appeared mentally challenged with a bat-up-and-catch ‘stroke’. Yogeshwar Ramgobin (8) swung for madness as well as the Cosmos inning entered a free fall from 54 for 2 to 88 for 7 in the 19th over.

Shane Singh took 3 for 16 Photo by Sham Ali

Khamraj Conyers looked to repair the inning in his usual self with two huge maximums. He then unleashed a blistering straight drive that almost cleaned up yours truly at the non-striker’s end. Unfortunately in the process, Conyers, a six-footer, knees decided that it will not tolerate the pressure from the swing and it buckled. He had to retire. That was a major blow at a crucial stage of the match before the Cosmos inning closed on a paltry 97 all out in the 24th over with M. Premathilaka taking 4 for 21, and T. Titash 3 for 2.

These low scoring matches at times makes for the most exciting endings, and this match was certainly one of them as Cosmos boys fought to the end. At 65 for 2 in the 14th over Lax Turbo was firing on all cylinders and Cosmos looked a little flattened at that stage, but then Shane Singh, right arm off spin and Balgobin, right arm leg-spin operating in tandem gave Cosmos the breather with a crucial breakthrough when Singh held on to a sharp return catch, and in the next over from Balgobin, Rahim then held on to a second stinger at short mid-off.

With the opposition at 79 for 4, a fight to the end was brewing and Cosmos boys fought a bit of spark. Left arm orthodox spinner, Towgeshwar Thakoordeen, who went wicketless in his first spell of 5 overs for 10 runs replaced Singh for one over, and struck an immediate blow. Balgobin then scalped another two wickets and suddenly the match ‘turned on its heads’ with Lax Turbo rapidly loosing power on a few cylinders at 85 for 7, while Cosmos firing off the occasional sparks and a whiff of hope to pull-off this match.

At that stage, it was all going to plan, but then the unthinkable happened before another run was added, two simple catches spilled at mid-off and point, but the fight was still on. Singh returned to pick up another two wickets and the scorecard reads 95 for 9. The air was still and #11 played forward to two deliveries, but looked very very ‘uncertain’ of his ability. Any slip, and either side would slide. Singh attempted faster ball slide down the legside for a wide and hope slipped away faster than a hurie in muddy waters as Lax Turbo scraped home for a hard fought one wicket victory. Balgobin took 3 for 11. Singh 3 for 16. Thakoordeen 1 for 11, and Persaud 1 for 16.

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