By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 45th Anniversary – Match #1255 / 20240603):- Cosmos made the trip to South Hudson cricket club in New Jersey last Sunday, and apart from the low-level officiating, they missed a very good opportunity to capitalize on good batting conditions with a series of injudicious shots after captain Ryan Ganesh won the toss and elected to bat on a good pitch and outfield.

Alex Chunilall was first to go after he played a fortuitous heave in the first over and edged a simple caught behind. Yogeshwar Ramgobin then became the unfortunately victim of an inside edge lbw decision, 36 for 2 off 5 overs. Akash Rahim opened his inning with a dismissive square cut off his first ball as he and Shane Singh set out to build a partnership. However with the score on 58, Rahim drove a little upishly, and the man at short extra-cover took a stinger to his right low off the ground.

Devindra Balgobin
Devindra Balgobin hit an entertaining 37 which included 5 fours and a six. Photo by Sham Ali

Singh was beginning to look comfortable before he played back to a full delivery and lost is leg stump as Cosmos kept loosing wickets at crucial stages of their inning. Daniel Chunilall and Jieunit Mingo had some work to do to repair the inning, and they appeared in control of the situation against an average bowling attack. Chunilall (25) shifted gears just before the break taking 16 runs in one over with two maximums and a four, but then he lost his head when he played a headless swipe off the next ball and top-edged a dolly to point, 95 for 5 off 15.

And for the fourth time in the inning, Cosmos batsmen kept finding ways of getting out. Mingo was next to go after the break when he played across to a straight delivery and lost his stumps. Ryan Ganesh, quite able with the bat, then played an ill-advised pull at a time when the inning needed some consolidation and Cosmos slumped to 117 for 7. Devindra Balgobin is having a good season thus far, and he was the last hope of giving his team a respectable total, but he needed someone to stick around. He found some support in S. Harrychandra as they stitched together a 25-run partnership before Harrychandra went aerial to extra-cover, and was back in the pavilion.

Gohan Gourdeen in a rare outing at the crease and sporting a new willow had a good piece on a slash but found the man at point. During the airy-fairy show, Balgobin who took his role seriously and the challenge to the opposition whilst doing most of the scoring. He unleashed a series of impressive scoring shots in a vital role in the middle-order. He flicked to backward square boundary, and then punched through extra-cover. In the next over, he followed up with another sweetly timed boundary through cow-corner and then unleashed a dismissive pull over mid-wicket for a huge maximum. He batted well for his 37 runs with 5 fours and a six, but just couldn’t get one of his team-mates in the lower-order to stick around, and with five overs still remaining the Cosmos inning closed on 150 all out on the 25th over.

It would require a huge effort from Cosmos to defend a below par total on a good batting wicket, and Cosmos bowlers were up to the task despite an early blunder when Balgobin grassed a sitter at mid-on to give danger-man Quasen Alfred a life off Ganesh’s first ball. Shane Singh then held on to a good catch at mid-off to get rid of M. Boodram (0) off Ganesh third ball to end an eventful over. Left arm seamer, Gourdeen, in his second ball removed A. Juggernaut when Harrychandra held on comfortably at square leg. Balgobin had another sitter ‘test’ from Alfred at mid-on in Ganesh next over, but this time it popped out, oh goodness, and after some thrill he held on and breathes a sigh of relief, 16 for 3.

The next two overs were quite eventful. It revealed the old story of poor officiating that was mixed with some glaring partiality by officials you are expected to have at least a modicum of decency. With just 20 runs on the board, a huge nick to the wicketkeeper was shockingly turned down, and then another shocker, this time from the ‘standing in umpire’ at square leg when he turned down a glaring run out – a one-eyed would have seen that from a mile. Had those two decisions been impartial with just the tail left, the outcome of the match would have been anyone’s guess. Cosmos boys kept their heads up and fought to the end, but the pair grew in confidence without fear from either ends of the wicket and brought the game home comfortably.

Cosmos ‘A’ will play Falcons on Sunday.

Cosmos Masters will play Connecticut Masters at Bridgeport, CT next Saturday.