By Umar Alizai
Another fantastic batting display by New York City C.C. last Sunday ensured taking their winning streak to seven consecutive wins.
On a beautiful Mother’s Day, a few crazy sons decided to play cricket instead of spending time with the family. However, one amongst them must be given the Best Son award. It’s New York City C.C. skipper Farooq Haider, who decided to take another weekend off.
After many weeks of double-headers, New York City C.C. was given a break with only one match in a batting heaven at Kissena Park, NY. Coming into the match with six consecutive wins, New York City C.C. was looking to take first strike and put a challenging total on the board, but the coin flipped Avengers C.C.’s way. Avengers C.C. made a great decision to bat; not only due to the wicket, but New York City C.C. players were late due to Mother’s Day festivities.
Avengers C.C. played fluidly throughout the innings, with opener Robbie A. and one down batsman Kush putting away loose deliveries with ease. New York City C.C. bowlers struggled, bowling a few too many short balls, and giving away extras. With the exception of Humza Ahmed’s phenomenal spell fiery of six overs, the bowling was just not potent enough and couldn’t penetrate the Avengers C.C. batting line-up. Humza Ahmed is slowly cementing his place as a premier pace option.
By the end of 30th over, Avengers C.C. looked confident with a challenging 205 runs (6.8 RR) on the board.
Special guest from Saudia Arabia, Sohail Shauket and his son Abdul Moiaz seemed quite nervous given such a daunting target and New York City C.C.’s lack of experience chasing this year. All six recent wins have involved defending large totals.
New York City C.C. sent their in-form opening pair who would deliver for the third straight weekend, posting another 50 partnership. Both Bilal Shahid and Umar Alizai played confidently, taking advantage of a pure batting strip. Avengers C.C. were put under pressure, as the total after 10 overs reached 98 runs without the loss of a wicket. Umar Alizai was dismissed on a juggling catch in deep square leg, two short of an opening stand of 100 runs.
Just when the stand-in skipper returned to the dugout, thinking the damage had been done, with only 108 runs required from 20 overs, the unimaginable happened. It was a bit of flashback from the 2014 season; New York City C.C. would lose four wickets in 10 balls, as Bilal Shahid stood at the other end watching one batsman after another head back to the hut. Things started to tense up and Avengers C.C. had something to cheer about, but Bilal Shahid stubbornly stood his ground and played beautifully on his way to 85, the second 80 of the year. The ending of the match was quite entertaining with many big sixes over mid-wicket.
Abishek Nayak showed his class with finishing the inning, but with the surprising support of a sleeping giant, also known as “Bengali Rockstar,” Saif Akbar. Saif Akbar’s younger brother Shahzaman Akbar has been given the designated hitter’s name, but today was Saif Akbar’s day. Saif Akbar entered the inning and completely turned the match on its head, using all of his Spartan races and long days at the gym to muscle some massive hits.
New York City C.C. was able to chase the total in 22.4 overs, ending at a rate of 9.3 runs per over. Bilal Shahid won the Man-of-the-Match for his splendidly made 85 and snaring one wicket.