Commonwealth Cricket League
Commonwealth Cricket League Premier Division kicked-off its big four playoff round with an enticing semifinal match-up between the defending champions Seven Star Cricket Club and one of the stalwarts of the division Strikers Cricket Club.

Moshin Khan led Seven Star batting with a brilliant 87. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

In a nail-bitter, Seven Star CC managed to hang on and come out victorious to move onto the championship match.

Seven Star CC won the toss and elected to bat first.  Enter Moshin Khan and Greg Sewdial (former USA U-19 captain) to raise the curtains. With Moshin playing the cautious hand, while Greg (as his usual self) took charge playing the aggressor’s role, things got off to a flying start for Seven Star CC.  The pair put on 90 in 15 overs – with Greg spraying the ball all over the field and Moshin turning the strike over regularly.

Unfortunately, soon after, Greg (41) had to retire due to severe hand cramps. Strikers, with this break in momentum, were able to stem the run flow and pick up 3 wickets over the next few overs, including one of the prized scalps of Sarmad Khan for 0.  Just as it looked that Strikers were pulling ahead, in came the captain Vijay (Knapp) Seonarine (27) to steady the ship.  Along with Moshin, the pair put together a handy partnership of 55, at which stage Moshin (87) lost his wicket trying to accelerate the scoring. Speaking of acceleration, in came the ever dangerous Nadir Mohammad, who added 17 to the total in just 8 balls.  Seven Star CC closed out their innings with a challenging total of 225/5 in 35 overs.

With Strikers formidable batting lineup, led by Gajanand Singh (former Guyana national player), Strikers looked determined to chase down the total from the outset.  But, things got off to an ominous start as they lost their most aggressive batsmen Shahid Shazad in the 2nd over to a lovely out-swinger from Tim Persaud, brilliantly caught by Vijay Seonarine at second slip diving low down to his left.

Although, other teams might have succumbed to such an early loss, Strikers kept plugging away with determination and purpose, even while losing wickets at regular intervals.  The match seemed to tilt in Seven Star’s favor as Gajanand Singh (54) was out stumped on a perfectly flighted delivery from the incredible Sarmad Khan, as the scoreboard read 101/4 in 20 overs.  The slight advantage didn’t last long as the middle order batting led by A. Hassan pulled Strikers closer to the total.

Gregory Sewdial struck 41 not before retiring. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Fortunately for the Seven Star’s their willy spinner Krish Ketwaroo was able to get A. Hassan (47) to hole out at deep mid-wicket.  As the advantage tilted back in Seven Star’s favor, with Strikers still needing 70 to win in 7 overs, Strikers lower order batsmen went on a rampage.  Led by Rafiq (27) and Irfan (14), they managed to bring the chase down to 13 off final over of the match.  Seven Star captain Vijay Seonarine took responsibility to bowl the last over of the match himself and he bowled beautifully – allowing only 2 runs and taking the final wicket on the penultimate ball of the match.

With this victory, Seven Star made it to their third straight championship match in their division.