By Kerk Higgins
On a very windy day at Bay Park, Big Apple Sports Club’s Dominique Rikhi had an exceptional day on the cricket field, and because of his brilliant performances with both bat and ball, Big Apple maintained their spot atop of the EACA Cricket Zone Division 1 leader board.
After doing some agricultural work on the playing surface, which was very grassy and dangerous for the batsmen, the toss was spun and as they did in eight out of 10 games this season, Big Apple (BA) choose to bat first. BA’s opening pair of Dominique Rikhi and Richard Ramdeen negotiated the first four overs until Galaxy’s medium pacer Keena Krishna got Ramdeen to play a false shot and claimed the first of his two wickets. Krishna, a prodigy at only 17 years old and previously captain of the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) current champions Richmond Hill High School, bowled well beyond his years. He bowled with accuracy and pace.
Captain Zaheer Saffie joined Rikhi and they were very watchful and patient as the Galaxy bowlers were doing a great job with very good lines and lengths. The pair carried their team to the first drinks break with the score on 60, going at a mere four runs per over. BA knew that they had to increase the run rate, and in an attempt to do so, they lost their captain in the 21 st over with the score on 79. By this time Rikhi was approaching his half-century and he was starting to be more aggressive. Rikhi and his new partner Deonauth Baksh were running very well between the wickets.
In the 29th over, Baksh became Krishna’s second victim, then three overs later Rikhi lost his wicket via the run out route. Young Krishna played a part in that wicket as well. It was starting to look like another middle-order collapse by BA. To make things worse, no team has made more than 185 runs against Galaxy this season. With eight overs remaining and 156 on the board, the batsmen tried to step up the run but failed in their attempt as they lost three quick wickets. BA tried to recover, thanks to some big hitting from Donwell Hector and Shiv Ragubar, and good running between Ragubar and Kevin Darlington.
BA closed their inning on a challenging total of 229 for 8 off their allotted 40 overs. The top scorers for BA were Rikhi 75 (6 fours) off 84 balls, Ragubar 31 (5 fours) off 14 balls, and Hector 28 (4 fours and one six) off 16 balls. The wickets fell at 20, 79, 119, 152, 165, 166, 184, and 184. Galaxy’s bowling was led by Rajendra Latcha (3 for 54) and supported by Krishna and Skipper Yudesh Bissnauth with identical figures of 2 for 42 each.
Big Apple knowing that their total was gettable but still defend-able, and started the bowling with former Guyana and Canadian fast bowler Eion Katchey, who was playing his first match for the NY based club. It didn’t take long for the former international player to strike; he had Ryan Rajmangal caught behind off the sixth ball of the first over. In came Tamesh Balwant to join Randal Wilson and BA knew that this was the pair they would have to separate if they had a chance of winning this match, as they did in the first-round match-up.
Wilson and Balwant were going along very confidently until Wilson got a delivery from Ragubar that spun and beat him outside the off stump, and Hector brilliantly stumped him.
Once that partnership was broken Rikhi took over the game, as he came into the attack and immediately caused trouble for Galaxy with his off-spin. His first of six victims was Balwant, a very good friend of BA.
Balwant was looking very determined to bat through the inning and bring home the game for his team, unfortunately for him and his team he hit one straight back to the bowler and Rikhi did the rest to shut down the hopes of Galaxy. After Balwant’s demise, the remaining batsmen couldn’t find an answer for Rikhi as they lost their last six wickets for only 46 runs, and were eventually bowled out for 172.
Galaxy’s main contributors were Balwant (62), Rafeek Nazeer (36), and Wilson (26). Galaxy has a young and talented team but they need to take a serious look at their batting; their bowlers are getting the job done as they are restricting teams to low totals, but the batsmen are struggling to win games.
The day definitely belonged to Dominique Rikhi, who enjoyed the best game of his EACA career thus far. Rikhi ended with bowling figures of 6 for 24 and was supported by Darlington 1 for 16 and Ragubar 1/34. If Rikhi’s brilliant performance can carry over to the next few games, BA will have no trouble closing out the season as champions.
The action continues with BA coming up against Everest/ACS, a team that defeated them in the first round, while Galaxy will host Liberty Sports Club.