And Pakistan 50-Overs Final – Expect A Thriller
By John L. Aaron
Today’s Trinidad & Tobago and Pakistan 50-Overs clash at
Idlewild Park in Rosedale, Queens, is expected to be quite a thriller.
The Ed Ahmad New York Caribbean Cricket Cup 50-Overs championship
final pits two teams with somewhat diverse talent rosters against
each other, for the second time in a month, albeit now in the longer
version of the game.
A few weeks ago the two teams clashed at the same venue and before
a crowd estimated in the hundreds in a Twenty/20 face-off. However,
the game ended abruptly, following an explosion of runs in the shorter
format game. In that match Pakistan behind some blistering bats gave
the T&T squad some food for thought, before the abrupt and controversial
end to the match. The match was subsequently replayed and Pakistan
came out victorious. That victory may be fresh in the minds of the
Pakistan squad, igniting them for the head-to-head clash at Idlewild
park, today. However, Pakistan cannot feel too elated, because the
calypso boys have previously beaten them in their earlier 50-Overs
encounter in the tournament.
When the two teams met earlier in the competition, Trinidad &
Tobago behind a century from Daryl Roopchand and 80 from Denis Rampersad,
gave Pakistan 248 to make in 50 overs. Pakistan fell short by approximately
60 runs. The question is does Pakistan have what it takes for the
longer version of the game, or will Trinidad & Tobago be intimidated
by the explosiveness of the Pakistani willows.
NY Cricket Soca Warriors Ready
According to Trinidad & Tobago’s skipper Glen Lorick, “Trinidad
& Tobago will bowl line and length to the Pakistani batsmen.”
When pressed to elaborate, he added, “We will bring our slower
bowlers and bring the ball up to their batsmen.” The exuberant
player predicted a Trinidad & Tobago victory in the match, although
he cautioned that his players would have to hold on to catches that
came their way, noting that Trinidad & Tobago had dropped Pakistan’s
top four batsmen when they met earlier in the season. In response
to which players he will be most dependent upon in the clash, the
T& T skipper said “I am depending on the players who have
brought us this far. They are Daryl Roopchand, Denis Rampersad, Denzil
James and the veteran Dave Mohammed.” He was quick however,
to credit Pakistan, adding “They are playing good cricket.”
– a testimony to the Pakistani team featuring in both finals
of this year’s tournament – today’s 50-Overs final
and the upcoming Twenty/20 final against Guyana.
The Trinidad & Tobago line up lacks some genuine pace, but has
a complement of spin bowlers which should support the depth of the
team’s bats. Therefore, it was not surprising to learn that
the team’s skipper Glen Lorick is hoping to bowl out Pakistan
below market value, then use his batting line up to dominate any target
set by Pakistan.
It is indeed an interesting scenario, because I believe the balance
of power shifts significantly, depending upon which team bats first.
If Trinidad & Tobago is to win this championship, they would have
to bat first and amass a score north of 275, then hope to mesmerize
the Pakistani batsmen with their slower bowling. However, if during
the Pakistani innings, T&T fields poorly as they have done on
occasions in the past, while allowing the early Pakistani batsmen
to get on top of the hitting, the balance of power shifts significantly
to the Pakistani team.
Lorick claims that this is his last year playing cricket at this competitive
level in New York. He pointed out that he has been playing league
and first-class cricket for the past 24 years in the New York metropolitan
area and would like to give the younger T&T players a chance to
represent their homeland.
Pakistan Youthful of Confidence
Pakistan led by the hard-hitting opener Nadeem Younas is expected
to electrify the popular cricket venue today. According to the team’s
Manager Mohammad Hussain of SA Sports, a popular cricket and sporting
gear shop in Brooklyn, “I am extremely confident of my team,
although cricket is a game of much uncertainty.” The soft spoken
Pakistani said his team was a relatively young one and the players
have been performing extremely well in the Ed Ahmad Cup, as well as
the Brooklyn League, where his sports shop also sponsors a team. He
noted that several of his young players are all-rounders which add
a nice balance to the squad.
Hussain predicted that if Trinidad & Tobago bats first, Pakistan
would be comfortable with chasing a score in the neighborhood of 250
runs. He however said that if his team bats firsts, he would like
to see them post 275 – 285 runs, as a difficult challenge for
the T&T batsmen. When pressed further on his team’s composition,
he admitted that Pakistan would be more dependent upon their batsmen
to bring the victory home, for the first time since the wealthy Queens
real estate tycoon Ed Ahmad became the major sponsor of the tournament.
Newyorkcricket.com contacted the Pakistani
skipper Nadeem Younas, late yesterday afternoon and solicited a comment
from the burly hard-hitting batsman, regarding today’s match.
The batsman, who has delighted the Idlewild cricket fans over the
past few weeks with his power-hitting, but brief stays at the middle,
said “I am extremely confident in our team.” Like his
team’s Manager, he too said he would like to give Trinidad &
Tobago a score of 270 plus runs to chase, if his team bats first.
The somewhat modest opening batsman said he was looking forward to
good performances with the bat from his players Mohammad Shabaz, Mohammad
Adil and Mohammad Afzal, along with wicket-keeper Razak and the equally
hard-hitting Jahanzaib. The latter batsman previously made 70, including
5x6’s against Trinidad & Tobago. Adil’s bat has also
exploded against Trinidad & Tobago before, when he hit four sixes
in a half-century knock against the T&T bowlers.
The right-handed Shabaz is expected to bat at number four, with Adil
at five followed by Jahanzaib at number six. Mohammad Afzal and Nadeem
Younas are expected to open the Pakistan batting. When asked if the
Idlewild crowd should expect his explosive bat, the power-hitter replied
with a wry smile saying, “I will probably stick around for 10
– 15 overs,” modestly adding that it was not about him,
but his group of younger players.
Pakistan has an excellent chance of capturing their first ever Ed
Ahmad New York Caribbean Cricket Cup, if they bat first and give the
T&T side more than 5.5 runs per over to make. I am not sure Trinidad
& Tobago is comfortable chasing any explosive innings of the Pakistani
team, if that explosion erupts into more that 275 runs.
However, I am sure the pundits will be looking for early signs of
wear and tear from which ever team takes to the field first, because
50 overs under an expected sunny sky will have its toll on these weekend
As this summer’s sun sets on this portion of the Ed Ahmad NY
Caribbean Cricket Cup, may the best team survive to victory!
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