NY Mayor's Cup
Cosmos Fall Hard Against Progressive
(Points Standing Below)
By S. Ali
July 17th, 2009
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary) - And just like that the temperature has reached boiling point, perhaps of volcanic proportions, after ten rounds of matches in the Metropolitan Cricket League (MCL) Division 1 Round Robin competition. The highly competitive League has wound to a point where the final round of matches may virtually determine the final four of six teams in the ranking of the points table for a playoff spot.
It would require a major search to find a more gripping season, if there has ever been one in the MCL, to come close to this which will culminate next Sunday. And perhaps attributable to a display of a high level of cricket between defending champions Cosmos and Progressive at Floyd Bennett field, last Sunday.
After Cosmos won the toss and confidently asked Progressive to take first strike, Captain Kevil George padded up to the second delivery of the match from Sham Ali and somehow benefited from a loud shout for leg before wicket. Though not getting the call against George, Ali would return to snare left-handed West Indies opening batsman Devon Smith with a ball that pitched and moved appreciably away taking an outside edge into the safe glove of wicketkeeper, Donald Bennett.
Right-arm quick, George Adams teased the opponents outside edge from the other end in a scintillating display of precision fast bowling, sending down four maiden overs in a luckless and wicketless spell – returning six overs for six runs. The Cosmos bowlers held Progressive to 41 for 1 in 15 overs. A change in the bowling saw a short-lived appearance of Dennis Evans at the bowling crease as Evans could not contain former Jamaica national representative Richard Staple in a two over spell.
It was Keddy Lesporis who would in another of his dazzling brilliance in the field, darting in from point on a short-run between Staple and George, dismantling the stumps on a direct hit at the non strikers end to run out the in-form danger man, Staple. At 71 for 2 after 20 overs, there was then another controlled spell of effective bowling from Clive Samuels, who was relieved to see the ball in his hands after an extensive delay. Samuels dismantled the woodwork of Kevil George, for gritty 58 runs, and with Progressive on 115 for 3, Cosmos sprung into gear to collar the next seven batsmen for another 35 runs. Samuels was architect of the collapse as he bagged 4 for 48 off his 8 overs and despite conceding 16 runs from one of his overs to Mikey Alexis, after he was let off at first slip early on in the same over. The dependable Melroy Kingston and Kevin Darlington combined for two guarded spells to give Cosmos a seemingly dominant position.
However, the pendulum would swing several times in the match, underscoring the valor of these two battle-tested juggernauts, which have embodied the high standard of competition in the MCL. The Cosmos batsmen dug in amidst two good opening spells from Mikhail Miller and Alexis. When opener Bennett helped a full toss from Alexis into the waiting hands of Maurice Cole in the covers and Lesporis pulled a long-hop from West Indies youth player E. Bonner into the hands of Smith at mid-on, Cosmos batsmen appeared to flinch in the heat of the battle, and lost their purpose. Samuels misjudged the line of an attempted sweep and was adjudged leg-before-wicket, Kingston obliged the wicketkeeper after the thinnest of edges and Naushad Khan offered a thick edge to Staple in the slips. At this point in the match, the battle lines were clearly drawn as Progressive moved into a high adrenaline mode as Cosmos tottered on 66 for 5.
Cosmos fought themselves back into the match with Evans holding the fort at one end and with the veteran Ashmul Ali making the batting look simple despite being hampered by an ailing knee. Evans, after weathering the attack and with the match tilting in Cosmos’ favor suddenly and inexplicably decided to charge Staple's last ball of his spell. Telegraphing his advance down the track, Evans was easily deceived by Staple and continued walking to the pavilion. A rear-guard effort from Adams swung the pendulum once again with Cosmos on 113 for 6 needing 37 runs from 6 overs.
However, this would be a day and a most inopportune time for Cosmos’ batsmen to deliver a lackluster performance in which their batting failed miserably and thus conceded defeat by 20 runs with two overs to spare. They were left to rue a batting collapse of monumental proportions, one in which they lost not only their heads but orchestrated a major avalanche in the points table and a rare possibility of not venturing into the playoffs for the first time in a very long time.
A match in which fortunes swung tantalizingly throughout the day finally ended with a hard fought and well deserved victory for Progressive. A victory that has thrown the points table into tatters and injected some renewed life into the competition. The MCL 12-team Division1 schedule, despite some unworthy criticisms, was designed with the intent to create a race to the end and had hinted such an occurrence in the last two seasons and now the unfolding drama has reached its pinnacle with one weekend of games left to be played. It has brought Liberty, Lucas, and River Valley into a race to the end with possibilities and probabilities fluctuating to the maximum. Progressive and Westbury are in a must win situation wherein Villagers and Spice Island could play the role of spoilers. It will be an edgy, tension-filled last round of cricket lovely cricket in the MCL with the points table now balanced perilously on a razor’s edge and Cosmos hanging on by a thread.
Cosmos will play Lions at Floyd Bennett next Sunday.
In celebration of the club’s 28th anniversary, Cosmos has dedicated the 2009 season as its inaugural benefit year for a prominent contributor to its illustrious past. This year’s honoree will be team manager Shadi Khan. The inaugural celebration is scheduled for Saturday, Aug.8, 2009 at Floyd Bennett Field. All are invited.
July 12, 2009
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