By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 44th Anniversary – (Match #1231):- Then there are six. Cosmos is one of them. The New York National Cricket League (NYNCL) thirty overs Round Robin competition is coming to a close and the last round of the competition was on fire since none of the six teams had secured their final ranking on the points table. That was an indication to the level of competitiveness among the teams and it bodes well for the league.
Much can be said of Cosmos achievements thus far in this season and for the most part it has been a work in progress over the last couple of seasons. This group of players were determined to get better despite their limitations, and while holding up the points table for two seasons, they remained focused and unfazed and, on every occasion they showed a lot heart and fought to the end. This 2023 season showcased much of that determination.
They had lost three matches on the trot to open the season and things were beginning to look like the previous seasons. But the plan was simple and the boys executed to near perfection with every player making a vital contribution when required, and subsequently put a spike in the curve on the points table with five consecutive five wins, and themselves earned a spot in the playoffs.
While the battle lines were drawn last Sunday in three other games in this the last round of the competition, Cosmos sparred with Renegades, and both teams were looking for a win to advance on the table when they met at Randalls Island last Sunday.
The Cosmos inning got off to a slow start after Ryan Ganesh won the toss and elected to bat. Alex Chunilall (4) went early when he slashed a long-hop and found the hands of the man at point. Akash Rahim then nicked behind, and Cosmos’s two lucky charms in need of a shine were back in the camp. Antanio Rooplall, who broke his hand when he made a century weeks ago, attempted to make his comeback, but appeared to be in some discomfort went for a very very patient 16 runs via lbw.
Naresh Persaud (7) was next to go when he forced a drive off V. Persaud and R. Jaspaul dove forward and came up with an excellent catch at mid-on. An overly circumspect 3rd wicket partnership of 33 runs in 10 over left the inning on 47 for 2 in 15 overs at the break. The middle-order had allot to do to get to a respectable total as Renegades kept the pressure. In the process, they managed to pick up another three wickets as Cosmos attempted to up the tempo.
Sohan Dass, the former Guyana National player, had played a major role in shoring up the middle order in the last few matches, with his wealth of experience whilst providing vital support to this young team, and he did so again in this match. He shepherd Devindra Balgobin, who is in good nick, as the pair posted a steady 6th wicket partnership of 39 runs to push the total to 93 runs before Balgobin (29) nicked behind.
Dass kept the scoreboard ticking with a flick to the backward square boundary, and followed up with huge maximum over mid-wicket and another over mid-on making batting look easy – the ‘boy’ can bat! When Dass (31) finally went in the 28th over Cosmos managed to close their inning on a respectable 144 all out in their allotted 30 overs. V. Persaud, in a tidy spell took 3 for 14, while R. Persaud, K. Mohamed and R. Jairam took 2 wickets each.
Ryan Ganesh served up a juicy first ball regall, and Renegades were off on the hunt, but Sham Ali erected a barrier and held control of one end with a tidy spell of 2 for 14. Another three wickets fell via two run-outs, and Cosmos went into the break with the match evenly balanced at 69 for 5 off 15 overs.
A crucial opportunity to shift the balance, upon resumption, went begging at mid-wicket, and the opposition pair of H. Babulal (50) and S. Sulaman (39) made full use of it. A few lusty blows shifted the equation and the pair relished in an unbroken 6th wicket partnership of 75 runs and gave Renegades a convincing five wicket victory.
As the results were coming in from the other matches, the table showed that it will be Warriors v Cosmos for a spot in the semi-finals. To say that the battle lines are drawn in this match-up is putting it lightly. Both teams have registered convincing victory against each other this season, and so, the team that plays the better cricket on the day will come out on top. We shall see. Buckle up!!!
Cosmos will play Warriors at Beach-32 on Sunday.