By Sam Sooppersaud
The Eastern American Cricket Association became the New York Premier League T20 Champions when they defeated the Metropolitan Cricket League on Sunday, September 5th, 2010, at Floyd Bennett Cricket Field in Brooklyn. Although towards the end of the game there were a few moments of excitement, this was a rather “tame” contest, a typical Twenty/20 game, lacking the vigor and “slam-bang-thank you- ma’am” (using Brian Lara’s words) excitement of this format of our summer pastime.

Eastern American Cricket Assocation skipper Karan Ganesh collects the winner trophy from tournament sponsor Karan Singh. Photos by Shiek Mohamed

However, a large Labor Day Weekend crowd was on hand to watch the game. Needless to say, the Metropolitan Cricket League’s supporters were disappointed at the outcome because they felt that on paper they had the better team. It was a star-studded side which included numerous players who had represented their various island nations -country) in the West Indies. Any team composed of players the likes of Dixit Palmer, Richard Staple, John Sylvester, Melroy Kingston, Miket Alexis, would be a force to reckon with. Among these star batsmen only Palmer was able to “give the EACA boys a run for their money”. Richard Staples scored a quick fire 22 runs, the rest disappointed with the bat. Their bowlers had earlier restricted EACA to a manageable total.

The EACA squad was made up of numerous youngsters, Dianand Roopnarine being only 16 year old playing alongside seasoned campaigners Zamin Amin, Marlon Kallicharran, Ramphal Bactowar, Karan Ganesh, and some new faces. They combined their efforts strategically, “clicking at the right moments”, to pull off the victory over the much stronger and experienced opponents.

Victorious Eastern American Cricket Association team.

Skipper Karan Ganesh had earlier won the coin toss and decided that EACA would occupy the crease first. They were in trouble immediately as opening bat, the hard-hitting Keddy Lesporis was sent back to the pavilion, caught off the bowling of Mikey Alexis. For the next six over new man in Tamesh Balwant and Marlon Kallicharran, the other opener, played watchfully. The Metropolitan League speedsters, buoyed by the early success of a wicket, were firing on all cylinders. With the score on 37 runs Balwant departed having made 11 runs, but more importantly, assisted with some damage control. Michael Felix joined Kallicharran and together they added 20 runs to the score. Kallicharran was well on his way to score his second, successive fifty in the playoffs, when he charged left arm spinner Shawn George, was stranded in no man’s land, and was smartly stumped by wicketkeeper Patrick Dewar. Marlon scored an invaluable 32 runs which actually pulled EACA from out of a proverbial vice. Felix went on to score a hard hitting 38 runs before he was caught off the bowling of Shawn George.

By the end of the 10th over EACA were 68 runs, but still had 7 wickets in hand. Their plan at this stage was to have their batsmen “milk” the bowlers for singles and doubles, preserve their wickets, and build a platform for the “death overs”. All did not go according to plans as EACA lost 3 more wickets within the succeeding 3 overs while scoring only 25 runs. At 93 runs for 6 wickets, and with 13 overs already gone, there was worry in the EACA camp as their top batsmen were already in the showers. The remaining EACA batsmen battled on and eventually were able to reach a score of 145 runs in their allotted 20 overs. Not a dominant score but one that could be defended with some good bowling, considering the strength of the Metropolitan League batting machine.

The bowling for Metropolitan League was shared by 6 bowlers: (Overs  Runs  Wkts): M. Alexis 3 -25-1, S. Miller 4-16-1, George 4-19-2, J. Sylvester 4-32-1, D. Palmer 3-24-1, S. Greaves 2-22-1.

As was the case when EACA started their innings, the Metropolitan boys lost a wicket in the very first over. Patrick Dewar was caught behind off the bowling of teenage speedster, Adrian Gordon. Two more wickets fell with the score on 19 runs and a 4th wicket at 31 runs, and only 4 overs bowled. The Metropolitan League was in “big-time” trouble. Among those out was Richard Staples. He had played back at a ball pitched outside the off stump. It was taken by the ‘keeper and there was a vociferous appeal from the fieldsman. Umpire Mark Ebanks raised his finger. Staples appeared shocked at being given out as he stood his ground with a look of bewilderment on his face. His body language was one of “come on ump, I did not play the ball”. However, the decision was given. Staples departed.

The former Jamaica allrounder, Dixit Palmer strode to the crease at the fall of the 4th wicket. He had some work to do. He did his job but unfortunately he did not get the support from the remaining batsmen. The 5th wicket partnership of Palmer and Melroy Kingston, put on a watchful 30 runs. Just when it seems that they were on their way to repair the damage done by the EACA bowlers, Kingston attempted to drive Zamin Amin through cover. He got a thick inside edge was as caught at short mid wicket. He scored 16 runs. With the score on 61 runs, 5 wickets down, and 11 overs bowled, the Metropolitan League supporters began expressing doubts as to whether their team could bounce back and win the game. There was much skepticism in the ranks. As if the situation was not grave enough, Metropolitan lost another wicket 1 run later; 62 runs, 6 wickets down, and 12 overs gone.   EACA and their supporters smelt victory. Rightly so!

But Dixit Palmer decided that if EACA was to win, they have to sweat it out. He unleashed a barrage of 4’s and 6’s , giving hope, though temporarily, to the Met boys and their supporters. In the next 3 overs the score had climbed to 98 runs with no further wicket lost. Palmer by this time was hitting missiles all over the cricket field, and out of the cricket field. However, with the score on 116 runs and in the 18th over, Palmer gave a skier off the bowling of Zamin Amin .and he was out for an exciting 61 runs. The innings folded at 130 runs for 8 wickets, with 20 overs having been bowled (batted). Metropolitan League fell short by 15 runs.

Bowling for EACA: Collin Duke 4-23-2, Adrian Gordon 4-33-2, Bactowar 4-8-1, Michael Felix 3-15-0, Zamin Amin 3-26-3,  D. Roopnarine 2-32-0.  EACA had defeated the Metropolitan League and is now the NYPL Interleague T20 champions.

Following the game the presentation was held and the following awards given for the tournament: Brooklyn Cricket League – 4th place, American Cricket League – 3rd place, both received monetary awards. The Metropolitan Cricket League – 2nd place- received both a monetary and trophy awards. Eastern American Cricket Association, of course, received the winner’s trophy in addition to a monetary award. Additional awards: Best Bowling, Shawn George; Best Batting Dixit Palmer; M.V.P., Adrian Gordon. The Best Overall Performance Award was given to Keddy Lesporis for his excellent batting throughout the entire tournament.

It was a successful tournament and it is hope that for the next season more sponsors will be available and it will be a more extravagant” tournament.