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Cosmos 20/20 Champions
At The 2006 Florida Open In Ft. Lauderdale

(CCC)- It was a performance worthy of an Oscar as Cosmos stamp their seal of excellence and lift the champions’ trophy and purse in the highly competitive Florida 20/20 Open tournament at Brian Piccolo Park, Ft. Lauderdale on Sept. 2-4, 2006.

In this rapidly changing world of limited overs cricket, Cosmos never relinquish an opportunity to assist and promote the game, so this undertaking was just not another tournament, it was history in the making as 20/20 cricket fever is taking North America by storm. Cosmos took on their first opponents at 9am, a challenging task, but Cosmos is a team noted to adapt to situations and this new version of the game requires a little more. The Lauderhill batsmen launch an attack on Cosmos bowlers and captain Palmer was forced to turn to his experience veteran Ashmul Ali- a move that was repeated to near perfection in the entire tournament- he snapped up three quick wickets and Lauderhill was eventually bowled out for 99. Cosmos sailed passed their target loosing five wickets in their quest with Shafeek Shah getting 22, Vinord Woolcock 25, whilst Dixeth Palmer (30), and Sham Ali (9) secure victory. Our friendly match later was washed out.

Our next match on Sunday was expected to be our most formidable opponents. A combined team touted to win the tournament; perhaps the Florida crowd forgot that Cosmos is in the “house.” Well it did turned out to be so at least for the first half of the match after Ft Lauderdale CC posted 139 in their 15 overs, and the home crowd had their say and a little more. Well not so fast, the fireworks that ensued were enough to dry the outfield from the drenching overnight rain. Cosmos raced to 77 off five overs with Shafeek Shah and Dennis Evans showing no mercy. Shafeek eventually holed out on the mid-on boundary for a blazing 37. Dennis remained not out for a blistering 91 and Orlando Baker on 10 when Cosmos shocked the Ft Lauderdale CC with victory in the 9th over for the loss of one wicket. The buzz around the park was “this team bad”; Cosmos not only won the match, but also now had quite a following thereafter.

And just like that Monday, we were in the semi finals against Maqsport. The match was again reduced to 15 overs due to overnight rain and, after seeing Cosmos two victories, Maqsport sent Cosmos in to bat. Well, at 57 for 3 with Shafeek (10), Imtiaz (0), and Baker (16), Cosmos remain focus. Dennis and Woolcock then light up Brian piccolo with an unbeaten 130 runs partnership in 9 overs – it was raining runs. The vintage Dennis Evans remained not out for a brilliant 119 runs which included 11 sixes and 4 fours and Woolcock spanked 7 sixes and 1 four for his 56. Cosmos inning closed on a huge 197 for 3 off 15 overs. Cosmos reduced Maqsport to 109. Former “young” USA player Nasir Javed was reduced to just that “former” as his three overs accounted for 29 runs, and then Palmer drove him into extinction when he whisk passed his helmet and sent him back later fending to short mid wicket. Maqsport was eventually bowled out for a meager 109. Ashmul Ali picked up another three wickets.

A final to play at 2:20 pm for the coveted trophy, a purse, and a plane to catch at 7:55 pm was enough pressure, not to mention that playing on a turf wicket for the first time in the tournament would require some major adjustment. Parkway “fancy” their chance by asking Cosmos in to bat. Their opening bowlers applied the pressure with some tight bowling as Cosmos struggled to 50 for 2 in the 10th over. Big occasions bring out the best, and that is just what Dixeth Palmer and Orlando Baker did. Baker entertained the huge crowd with some exquisite stroke play and showed why he is one of the best batsmen in the USA as he stroked 72 runs with 4 fours and 4 sixes, and Palmer’s breezy 37 runs with 4 fours and one six is clearly a cut above the rest. This pair posted a crucial 100 runs partnership when Cosmos inning closed on a respectable 156 for 5 off 20 overs. Parkway declared their intentions from the first ball, but suddenly found themselves entrapped. They failed to negotiate when right arm off spin of Ashmul Ali (2 for 15) was introduced into the attack along with the left arm orthodox of Woolcock (2 for 12) – a tactical move which asphyxiated the opponents. With the crowd routing for Cosmos and enjoying some brilliant cricket, the organizers must be pleased with their efforts. Captain Palmer return with figures of 3 for 12 to finish Parkway off for just 101 runs to complete a match winning performance whilst leading his team to victory.

After some warm exchanges of friendship among the players and supporters and an excellent presentation ceremony, Cosmos was blazing again, this time on the road to catch a plane with trophy and check in hand celebrating a most comprehensive victory.

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