Just as the dog days of summer continue to heat up the NY region, the Premier Division of the Commonwealth Cricket League began its hotly contested playoffs this past Sunday. As expected the usual perennial contenders – Seven Star CC defending champs, Strikers CC, Melbourne CC and Pak America, made it to the knockout round of the tournament.

Former USA U-19 skipper Greg Sewdial struck a brilliant 56 as Seven Star defeated Melbourne. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Former USA U-19 skipper Greg Sewdial struck a brilliant 66 as Seven Star defeated Melbourne. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Above all, there’s one storyline that is on everyone’s mind. Can Seven Star CC achieve a three-peat and establish itself as a dynasty in the storied history of the league?

Seven Star CC, though bloodied a bit during the regular season, finished 5th in the points table, but nevertheless seem primed to defend their title.  And as fate would have it, they ended up meeting their arch nemesis of the past three years – Melbourne CC.  These two teams have played each other in the last three finals, with Seven Star CC winning the last two championships.  Having finished 4th in the standings, Melbourne CC had the home field advantage for this re-match.

Seven Star CC won the toss and elected to bat. Captain Vijay Seonarine had one simple message for the best opening pair of the league Greg Sewdial (former USA Under-19 captain) and Moshin Khan (unequivocally the best batsmen in the league). The message was; stay and bat.  Heeding the captain’s message – together they delivered a virtuoso performance. The pair faced down the hostile opening spell with ease while nudging the ball around for singles, and dispatching the occasional bad ball to the boundary. At the drinks break, Seven Star CC was 63 without loss. The batting was so accurate that the first chance that Melbourne CC got was the first breakthrough of the inning, when Greg Sewdial, who had taken the responsibility of accelerating the inning, lost his wicket to an inside edge onto the stumps in the 25th over.  Greg Sewdial finished with a well-made 66, including 4x4s, and three massive sixes, and Moshin Khan finished with 57 (4x4s), along with a handy contribution of 20 from Ryan Bhoge. Seven Star CC’s innings came to a conclusion at 190 for 6 in 35 overs.

In reply, Melbourne CC started their innings with a bang. Their opening pair raced away to 49 without loss at the end of five overs.  At this point Melbourne CC looked like they would coast to victory.  But with their vast amount of experience Seven Star CC’s bowling squad of Tim Persaud, Krish Ketwaroo, Vijay Seonarine, and Nadir Mohammed, did not panic and continued to bowl their line and length, which paid handsome dividends. Instead of taking advantage of the solid foundation and working the ball for singles and doubles, Melbourne CC with their hubris kept trying to hit the ball hard for boundaries, and in the process kept losing wickets at regular intervals.  Ultimately they were bowled out for 166 in 33.5 overs.

Seven Star CC now moves onto face the No.1 seed Nationals CC in the semi-final.