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Sparkling “Sparky Lady” & Fighting “Royals” Created Glittering Semi Finals

March 29th, 2010

The noble game of cricket was given a superb promotion by “Sparky Lady” and “Royals” who combined to produce an entertaining display of indoor cricketing skills, last Saturday, as the Super 4 stage of ICUSA’s 2009/10 Annual Winter Indoor Cricket League Tournament unfolded.

Deryck McDonald and Qayaam Farouk of Royals. Sparky Lady (below) during game plan.

In the Tournament’s first Semi-finals featuring these two teams the fun loving portly gentlemen of “Sparky Lady” gave a splendid performance in their worthy challenge to the calculative “Royals” whose experienced cricketing skills were tested to their maximum as they struggled to enhance their reputation as favorites and eke out a victory in order to qualify for the finals. Both teams must be complimented for producing a match that was befitting the expected standards of a semi-finals game.

The under-dogs “Sparky Lady” nearly created an upset by forcing the usually chirpy “Royals” into moments of nervous silence during various periods of the match. In the final analysis the records will show “Royals” was the victor and “Sparky Lady” was the vanquished but, to the true cricket lover the glory went to the gentleman’s game of cricket.

On winning the toss, “Royals” elected to bat and their opening pair of Mahadeo Prasad and Sean Thompson sent them off to a flying start with positive attacking batting, backed up by risky aggressive running, as a deliberate tactic to pressure the fielders and blast the under-dogs team “Sparky Lady” out of the game early. “Sparky Lady”, took sometime to settle down as the significance of the match created some butterflies in their minds.

These factors lead to an opening partnership of 66 runs in spite of excellent fielding by ‘Sparky Lady”. At that stage of the game “Royals” were in the ascendancy. However, after the initial tension “Sparky Lady” settled their nerves, and proceeded to wrest the initiative from the batting side, with an assortment of excellent restrictive bowling that was well supported by the fielders.

The experienced middle order batting of “Royals”- Nandalall and Mark Gomes were restricted to 9, 6, 5, and 8 runs respectively in overs 5-8. This transferred the momentum of the game to “Sparky Lady”. With the score on 94 “Royals” last pair – the aggressive and in form batsman of the Tournament, Deryck Mc Donald and the reputed fast scoring Qayaam Farrouq, combined, with aggressive intent, to face the last 4 overs and close the innings with a flourish. But Wasim, Musthasan Mirza and Sam Baby restricted the pair to 29 runs with thoughtful accurate bowling supported by their fielders.

The innings closed at 123. While the “Royals” suffered only one dismissal in their innings, the “Lady” bowlers bowled 25 dot balls in their allotted 72 legal deliveries to render the batters scoreless for nearly one third of their innings. The “Royals” score could have been worst if the “Sparky Lady” wicket keepers who dropped 5 catches had not neglected to practice the basics in the art of wicket-keeping.

They were rising up too early and instead of moving across, in side-way fashion to get behind the ball to collect it, they opted to stand and snatch at the ball at the side of their bodies rather than moving to collect it in front of their bodies. Captain Angelo Gonzales, an alumna of ICUSA’s Training Academy, used his bowlers well and did a sound job with his field placing. His team must have been satisfied with their efforts in the field and fancy their chances in the run chase.

As “Sparky Lady” opening pair arrived at the crease, the “Royals” were flirting with the reality that their score was gettable, and that they had a challenge on their hands to avert an upset defeat. “Sparky Lady’ openers Angelo Gonzales and Wasim got their team off to a solid start with cautious and intelligent batting which produced 40 runs. McDonald conceded 12 run while Qayaam gave away 28. The second batting pair of Sam Baby and Prince Baby was confronted with an all spin attack of Kumar Nandalall and Sean Thompson.

The pair of batsmen accumulated an aggressive 50 runs to consolidate the work of the openers. In the process over #7, bowled by Sean Thompson, was blasted for 20 runs by Sam whose batting was aided by elegant use of the feet to the spinners. Sam scored 29 runs and departed with the momentum in “Sparky Lady’s” favor.

With the score on 90 the last pair of Musthasan Mirza and Satish was left to score 34 for victory in the remaining 4 overs. And the pressure was mounting on the “Royals”. “Royals”, drawing on their vast cricketing experiences”, held their nerves, rediscovered their characteristic chirpiness, and conceded only 9 runs in their 4 final overs which accounted for 3 dismissals to win the match by ending the innings on 99 runs. Mahadeo Prashad excelled in his 2 over spell with 3 wickets for minus 6 runs as “Sparky Lady” last pair of batsmen wilted under the pressure of accurate bowling and fielding.

The match was befitting of a semi-finals and it was consistent with the pattern of exciting, entertaining, and enthralling indoor cricket that this year’s Annual ICUSA Winter Indoor Cricket League Tournament has been producing. The performance of the two semi-finalist players did justice to the efforts of the Tournament Administrators who ought to be inspired by the cricketers. “Sparky Lady” was quite competitive while “Royals” quality was tested and they passed the test with flying colors.

The second semi-finals is scheduled for Saturday 04/03/10 between the youth team, “Stripes’ and last year’s champions “Galaxy”. The winner will play “Royals” in the finals to be followed by the presentation ceremony scheduled for 20:15 hours to end the Tournament.

Reporting for ICUSA from Cricketer’s Paradise in Morristown, New Jersey.

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