Yogeshwar Ramgobin
Yogeshwar Ramgobin struck 54 which included 6 fours and a six. Photo by Sham Ali

By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 43rd Anniversary – Match #1196):-
The second match of the double header against the front-runner Melbourne, who sits at the top of the table, was a totally different. They finally showed that they are on par with teams in their division, however, they suffered the consequences of their inability to take their catches at crucial times throughout the season.

Melbourne captain Metray Balgobin won the toss and elected to bat would have been encouraged as they were off to a flyer and raced to 43 runs in four overs. Sham Ali then struck a double blow with one that moved away and D. McCarthy held on to a nick behind from R. Balkarran (17), and then S. Sookdeo (13) drove to D. Balgobin at mid-off who took it on his chest at, but held onto the rebound on his second attempt. In the next over Ryan Ganesh swung one into left-handed G. Ramlall and rearranged all of his furniture. Ali struck again when A. Rahim took a well judged skier on the boundary to get rid of L. Swamy (34).

At 72 for 4, with the opposition top order back in the pavilion, Cosmos had a firm grip on the match. A crucial 5th wicket partnership of 58 runs between A. Mahabirsingh (31) and K. Dhanraj (31) initiated a fight back as they pushed the score to 130 for 4 in 15 overs. Alex Chunilall came into the attack and struck two crucial blows to remove the two set batsmen, Mahabirsingh and Dhanraj. At 137 for 6, Chunilall and Devindra Balgobin pushed the opposition on the back foot as they operated in tandem, and bowled their team into a good position.

Cosmos must have felt very encouraged with their combined spin duo. Akash Rahim replaced Chunilall and Cosmos missed a vital opportunity to further penetrate the opposition lineup when Y. Shivpersaud made a meal of a straight forward catch offered by M. Balgobin at deep mid-off. Balgobin went on to score an important 39 runs to give his team a respectable 200 for 8 off 28 overs. S. Ali 3 for 38, A. Chunilall 2 for 38, and A. Rahim 2 for 29.

It has been a while since a Cosmos opening pair were in such command of an inning, and after being given the opportunity, Alex Chunilall and Yogeshwar Ramgobin responded with a bold exclamation to the opposition’s target. Ramgobin got the inning going with vicious cut through point and an authoritative punch down the ground, while Chunilall was equally dismissive through extra cover and mid-wicket and Cosmos were off to a good start. The partnership flourished with consummate ease through the opening spells as it raced passed the century mark of 102 without loss off 12 overs. The opening partnership was the 148th century partnership for Cosmos and the 25th century opening partnership for Cosmos.

Cosmos must have pinch themselves to be in such command against a team that is at the top of the points table given their below par performances this season. It was the perfect start by this opening pair, and with 98 runs needed off 18 overs, and with Ramgobin and Chunilall in full-cry, it appeared as if Cosmos may achieve their target without much pain.

At that stage, it looked like an innocuous total, however, after the break, the opposition turn the tables and gave Cosmos a shock. They got a much needed breakthrough as Cosmos batsmen decided to change their approach, and subsequently fell to some rather injudicious strokes at a crucial stage in the match. Ramgobin was first to go when he holed out on the deep mid-off boundary for a well played 54 (6’4s, 1’6), and Chunilall followed immediately for a well played 37 (6’4s).

Thereafter, the middle-order lost their mojo at a time when the push towards the target required some basic old school attritional batting by stroking the ball on the ground and milking the attack. But that old fashion method is something of ancient history to this new generation of batsmen with a T20 temperament that every ball needs an aggressive stroke and as such the middle-order ‘froze under the heat’ and the inning veneered off course to 168 all out. M. Balgobin took 2 for 26, and S. King got 2 for 24.