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Cosmos Kings NYPD Champions

By S. Ali
August 22nd, 2008
(Celebrating 26 Anniversary) – ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” Cosmos Kings wears the crown. And so it was brilliant innings from vice captain Rasheem James combined with last over heroics from hard-hitting all-rounder Dominic Gomes steered the Cosmos Kings to a spectacular and improbable victory over Punjab in the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) inaugural Twenty/20 tournament final last Wednesday at Spring Creek Park, Gateway Oval.

Victorious Cosmos Kings

The compact left-handed Johnson -a former Dominican U15 national representative - strolled to the crease with his team on 52 for 2, intent on consolidating after the Kings lost their opening batsmen, Leikram Lakshman (17) and Anthony Rampersaud (23), whom had put on a solid opening partnership of 45 in 5 overs. Punjab, which won the toss and elected to take first strike, posted a formidable target of 181 runs in 20 overs, led by attractive knocks from Saheed (63) and Asif (36). Punjab set about vigorously defending their target, despite the best efforts of the Kings top order.

With the match tilting in favor of Punjab and the pressure mounting, perhaps heeding some invaluable advice from Cosmos senior players on the eve of the final, James showed tremendous maturity and patience, picking up singles and the occasional boundary. He constructed a crucial third wicket partnership of 80 runs with Wajied Hakim, who was content to work the ball around for an important 27 runs, before being run out in the 16th over. With the score on 132 for 3, Gomes joined James at the crease; the Kings needed another 49 runs off the last 4 overs, then 40 off 3 overs. James's inning of pure character and maturity was about to explode, he took two, then a six and a four and the partisan Gateway crowd was on fire, with the Cosmos Kings blazing in the sunshine. James struck another four and the crowd erupted as everyone braced the fence -- fielders and spectators.

The NYPD organizers could not have anticipated the level of competitiveness on display as they too were caught in the thrill of the moment as Gateway was rocking. James and Gomes had a lengthy conversation during at the end of the 19th over. It would come down to Kings needing 16 to win off the final over with James on strike.

James played the first delivery up to mid on for a single. James then went three quarters of the way down the wicket to have a chat with his partner; Gomes shook his head. Calmly, Gomes sent the next delivery about twenty yards over the mid off boundary -- that’s not what James told Gomes. Everyone on the fence, James in conversation again, the bowler lengthened his run-up which seemed to amuse Gomes.

The next delivery was hit even further; it cleared the crowd, inciting mayhem at Gateway. It was now 3 runs required off the last 3 balls. Gomes went to have a chat with his partner this time - perhaps telling him that there was no more batting for him to do in the game. The next delivery went high in the air, the crowd erupted again, Gomes and James threw their hands in the air and hugged each other, as the Kings players invaded the field, pandemonium breaking loose. Punjab players looked on in disbelief with hands on their heads as the ball sailed over the mid wicket boundary, beyond the fence, the road and the bushes, landing in an adjacent ditch.

It was a classic finish to a highly competitive encounter between two excellent teams, both of which showed tremendous maturity and excellent sportsmanship. The NYPD, despite just recently expanding their vast athletic youth program to include cricket, showcased an outstanding arrangement in accommodating the tournament, commencing with the grandiose opening ceremony and ending with an elaborate presentation finale. The Kings under the expert stewardship of Youth Director Ricky Kissoon and Coach Ashmul Ali along with some of Cosmos’ senior players, who were on hand to support the youngsters, were elated at the outcome. Cosmos Manager, Shadi Khan stated, "I am happy that our Youths have won, but more importantly that they are enjoying playing the game. Cosmos will continue to set the standards of discipline and sportsmanship. That will ensure that the youths receive the proper guidance and are schooled in the finer points of the game." Cosmos Kings for all their hard work will wear this inaugural NYPD championship crown with pride.

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