On a hot and humid day, Long Island United Cricket Club (LIUCC) and Gladiators squared off for the first seed spot in Division 2 of the Eastern American Cricket Association, at Lido Beach.
Gladiators won the toss and rightly decided to bat first, sending out Altaf Habibulla and Andy Harricharan. LIUCC put their foot down right from the get go as captain Ishtiaq Khan opening bowling in place of the usual pacer Anwar Kamal, and bowling with pace and bounce.
The opener on the other side, Jalal Babruk, pitched a beautiful delivery which came back to the left hander Altaf and tore his middle stump from the ground. LIUCC did not stop there as they used the momentum to pick up regular wickets and not allowing Gladiators to build a partnership.
The only form of resistance came from Imtiaz Hussain, with a patient knock of 36. The pressure built up on the Gladiator batsmen and they crumbled to 149 all out from 32 overs on a pitch that was made for batting. Ghulam Mustafa, Sajeed Khan and Tahir Iqbal all shared the wickets with two each, and the most wickets coming in from of three great run outs.
In reply, LIUCC sent in Ali Alvi and Asim Mehmood. Both the batsmen kept the scoreboard ticking with Asim Mehmood being the aggressor of the two and knocking the ball to all parts of the ground, including a huge 6 over long off against the wind in the second over. While Asim kept the run rate high with regular boundaries, it allowed Ali to settle in and both batsmen were knocking the Gladiator’s bowlers all around the park.
Asim was the first to reach his half century with a well timed 4 over cover. Soon after, Ali Alvi brought up his 50 with a single. Ali would be the first to go after being caught off Shah for a well played 57 with the score on 120.
Fourteen year-old debutant Qasim Mehmood had a short stay and was bowled for a duck off Shah. Ghulam Mustafa joined Asim Mehmood, and they saw LIUCC home with Asim pulling a short ball for 4 to score the winning runs. He would end the day with an unbeaten 75 as LIUCC won by 8 wickets and retained the first seed position in division 2. LIUCC face off against All Stars CC on Sunday at Brentwood.