Eastern American Cricket Association – 2012
Everest/ACS And Richmond Hill Thru To T20 Blitz Finals
By John L. Aaron
It was a day that Atlantis would rather forget as quickly as possible, while Richmond Hill would like to savor the taste of sweet revenge in The Cage, as the EACA completed its T20 Blitz semi-finals last Sunday. The second match of the double-header featuring perennial favorite Everest/ACS and Meten-Meer-Zorg, was as exciting as T20s are apt to be, and enjoyed thoroughly by The Cage fans, especially those perched in the Flagstaff stand at the north end of The cage.

In what can only be described as a laffer, the first match saw Atlantis – the EACA’s Power40 Zone “A” runner-up being mauled in the Cage by a ferocious Richmond Hill, losing by almost 100 runs. Maybe Richmond Hill should have enforced a friendly non-deciding “follow-on” so as to give the Atlantis batsmen a chance to redeem themselves in front of so many of The Cage fans.

Atlantis vs. Richmond Hill | Scorecard
It was only a few weekends ago that Atlantis convincingly defeated Richmond Hill in The Cage and moved on to the EACA’s Power40 Zone “A” finals, so Richmond Hill had everything to prove that the only way to the EACA’s T20 Blitz would be through the Richmond Hill gate, and it appeared very early that Richmond Hill was prepared to lock and double bolt any such gate.

Imran Alli plunder 62 from 32 deliveries against Atlantis.

Winning the toss and electing to take first strike, Richmond Hill, after losing Debo Sankar caught behind for 4 off the bowling of Casper Davis, Jr, and the score on 21, quickly settled down adding 43 for the second-wicket stand and another 110 runs for the fourth-wicket partnership. The runs coming primarily off the bats of Wahid Ward, 40 off 30 balls (3x6s, 3x4s), Zaheer Sadloo, 31 off 32 balls (3x4s), and the match-winning performance of 62 off 32 deliveries from Imran Ali (2x4s, 6x6s). The veteran Ali electrified the small park and threatened surrounding vehicular traffic, as Richmond Hill raced to 157 for 4 in 17 overs, not losing a wicket between the 7th and 16th overs, before losing the next four wickets in as many overs.

In search of the 2012 T20 Blitz title, Richmond Hill would eventually post 181 for 7 in their 20 overs. The Richmond Hill wickets fell at 21-1 (D. Sankar 2.6 overs ), 62-2 (W. Ward 7.5 overs ), 153-3 (I. Ali 16.3 overs ), 157-4 (Z. Sadloo 17.1 overs ), 174-5 (D. McDonald 18.3 overs ), 174-6 (D. Seepersaud 18.5 overs), 181-7 (P. Mahadeo 19.6 overs). Bowling for Atlantis: Jason Greaves 3-0-23-3 was the most penetrative, with Alex Amsterdam, Nicholas Standford and Casper Davis, Jr., each snatching a wicket apiece and providing their teammates a batting target of just over nine runs per over, a tall order, but not insurmountable at the small inner-city cricket arena.

Opening with Henderson Blades and Ryan Sukhdeo, Atlantis quickly lost Sukhdeo for 3 in the fifth over with the score on 19. That loss turned into a near early disaster as Atlantis lost its vice skipper Nicholas Standford, 00, in the very next delivery with Deryck McDonald envisaging a hat-trick having scalped Sukhdeo and Standford’s wickets in successive deliveries. Ten runs later Blades was headed back to the over-sized concrete-stepped pavilion having notched up a team top score of 21 off 22 balls (2x4s, 1×6).

Atlantis was staring defeat down the barrel of a shot-gun, as the top of the Richmond Hill appeared to be disappearing into the clouds and out of the reach of Atlantis. The young energetic Atlantis lost the top half of its prolific batting line up within the first nine overs. Had it been the seventh-inning of a baseball game, the hometown patrons would have started exiting the stadium, as it was all but over at that stage. However, Atlantis’ Alex Amsterdam, 13 off 11 balls (3x4s), Jason Greaves, 13 off 16 balls and skipper Prashanth Nair with a quick-fire 16 off 9 deliveries, including successive sixes and a solitary boundary, showed some grit in the ebbing moments of the losing cause.

As Atlantis struggled to reach the psychological century-mark in its exit, it appeared as though Richmond Hill was adamant in making an emphatic statement on its way to the EACA’s T20 Blitz final, by taking Atlantis out of its misery and out of the way to the finals, closing out the green and gold boys at 88 all out and five over’s shy of 20. The Atlantis wickets fell at 19-1 (R. Sukhdeo 4.3 overs), 19-2 (N. Standford 4.4 overs), 29-3 (H. Blades 5.3 overs), 40-4 (K. Bridgepaul 6.1 overs), 48-5 (A. Amsterdam 8.1 overs), 52-6 (K. Lake 8.5 overs), 69-7 (J. Greaves 11.5 overs), 69-8 (C. Hamilton 12.2 overs), 80-9 (H. Craig 13.1 overs), 88-10 (P. Nair* 14.2 overs).

Bowling for Richmond Hill: Zaheer Sadloo with 4 for 21 off 3.2 overs was the pick of the crop, with Deryck McDonald 3 for 18 off 4 overs and Wahid Ward 2 for 19 off 3 overs. They were responsible for snatching victory from the jaws of the defeat they suffered at the hands of Atlantis in their previous 2012 encounter. Having swept their T20 Blitz Division and emerging in second-place of the Power40 Zone Division “A” finals, it was the old refrain of – wait ‘til next year, for the Atlantis crew. Atlantis would eventually succumb at 88 all out in 14.2 overs, losing by 93 runs.

Everest/ACS vs. Meten-Meer-Zorg | Scorecard
As the lack-luster Atlantis performance receded into the early afternoon, the anticipation rose with the second match of the semi-finals series featuring the veteran Everest/ACS XI vs. a rising young powerhouse Meten-Meer-Zorg, with the latter hungry to etch its name into the annals of EACA records.

Veteran Terry Hastoo produce a match winning knock of 36 from 13 deliveries. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

With US national player Azurdeen “Andy” Mohamed missing from its line up Meten-Meer-Zorg must have felt as though it was entering the match against Everest/ACS wearing only a one side sock. However, batting first, the troublesome but productive Meten-Meer-Zorg would be up to the challenge, even if the opponent is one as experienced as Everest/ACS. And last Sunday was no different, Andy Mohamed or no Andy Mohamed.

Meten-Meer-Zorg, led by Ajaz Asgarally would lose its first wicket with the score at 13, with wickets falling regularly at two and four over intervals thereafter. Meten-Meer-Zorg struggled to put together quality partnerships and surely missed Andy Mohamed. Some questioned why the experienced club mentor and the day’s skipper Ajaz Asgarally did not bat up in the order. None the less responsible knocks did come off the bats of USA national Under-19 player Amarnauth Persaud, 26 (1×6, 2x4s), with Saud Hussain, 25 not out and Hemendra Ramdihall, also with 25 (2x6s, 2x4s). Meten-Meer-Zorg posted 152 for 7 in their 20 overs at an asking rate of 7.60 per over.

The Meten-Meer-Zorg wickets fell at 13-1 (R. Islam 0.4 overs), 34-2 (D. Baksh 4.3 overs), 44-3 (K. Nandkumar 6.2 overs), 77-4 (G. Meyer 10.6 0vers), 82-5 (A. Persaud 12.2 overs), 119-6 (T. Ross 17.3 overs), 152-7 (H. Ramdihall 19.6 overs). Bowling for Everest/ACS: Saheed Amin with 3 for 25 was the pick of the bowlers with Zamin Amin and Terry Hastoo each grabbing two wickets apiece at a cost of 23 and 33 runs respectively.

Would Everest/ACS be able to overhaul the asking rate of 7.60 an over? That was the question on the other side of The Cage, as the gathered pundits wagered the chances of a brash young Meten-Meer-Zorg going forward to meet Richmond Hill in the T20 Blitz finals.

Everest/ACS led by the youthful Karan Ganesh and mentored by the veteran Zamin Amin started their quest to another championship final on a similar note, losing their first wicket that of Steve Nowrangilall, 8, with the score on 14. They would lose their second wicket 37 runs later in the sixth over, and a very valuable one in Tamesh Balwant, 22 off 16 deliveries (1×4, 1×6), but still one wicket ahead of their opponent at the same stage. Opener Aun Merchant with 26 off 30 balls (2x4s, 1×6) was intent on staying at the middle while stroking the ball around for the ones and twos. Joined by Gregory Sewdial, 22 off 21 balls, they contributed to building a pathway to an Everest/ACS victory, with Zamin Amin’s contribution of 18 off 12 balls (3x4s) contributing significantly. However, it was the inning of another veteran Terry Hastoo, 36 off 13 deliveries (4x6s, 1×4) and batting at number eight that electrified the crowd. The batsman took the Meten-Meer-Zorg bowling to task, punishing anything short and outside the off stump. He was particularly painful to young Amarnauth Persaud, hitting the bowler for three sixes on his way to the match-winning performance and his team’s tally of 153 for 6 in 18.3 overs.

The Everest/ACS wickets fell at 14-1 (S. Nowrangilall 1.6 overs). 51-2 (T. Balwant 6.5 overs), 79-3 (A. Merchant 11.3 overs), 88-4 (G. Sewdial 12.6 overs), 115-5 (Z. Amin 15.4 overs), 115-6 (K. Ganesh* 15.5 overs). Bowling for Meten-Meer-Zorg: Young Trevis Ross with figures of 4-0-26-3 was the pick, as Z. Majeed and H. Ramdihall each snared one wicket apiece.

So, with a per over response of 8.27, Everest/ACS had convincingly thwarted the efforts of the up and coming legends Meten-Meer-Zorg in a nail-biting finish, that in retrospect does not appear quite that way because of the flourishes of sixes executed by Terry Hastoo in the waning moments of the match. With a cameo appearance as a substitute fieldsman Andy Mohamed would feature in one catch, but some diving efforts to stem the flow of runs from the willows of the Everest/ACS batsmen. It would not be enough, as the young US player saw his team’s season come to a halt without him making a more creditable contribution.

Coming to a Cage near you soon…
Everest/ACS vs. Richmond Hill, two of the EACA’s best will lock horns to the delight of those on the other side of the one-block fenced battleground, this Sunday, September 30th.

Everest/ACS is no stranger to the winners circle and this Sunday should be no different, or would it? With a core group of veterans; Trevor Walke, Saheed Amin, Terry Hastoo and Zamin Amin, the squad is a mix of youth and experience with guys like Tamesh Balwant and Amjad Khan somewhere in the middle. It’s a mix that has served them well over the past 2-3 seasons. Richmond Hill on the other hand also has experienced players in the Sankar and Sadloo brothers, Deryck McDonald, the prolific Imran Ali, and skipper Ramphal Bactowar. Will experience overcome the indelible mix of Everest/ACS? It’s left to be seen.

One thing is sure, both teams will play competitive cricket and the split group of fans will be entertained on Sunday. Which team will win? The team that plays the harder cricket will emerge victorious, because although not matched man-for-man, the two squads have warriors with different skill-sets. There is no doubt that Everest/ACS would open with their money-ballers Trevor Walke and Saheed Amin who will swing the ball with a mixture of flight, deception and guile, however players like Debo Sankar and Tamesh “Cambio” Balwant are comfortable enough to play through. Last weekend Everest/ACS’ batsmen showed some kinks in their armor and a propensity to go over the top. If the Richmond Hill bowlers can exploit such flaws, the momentum will swing in Richmond Hill’s favor.

On paper, the better balanced team nod should go to Everest/ACS; however, if a Richmond Hill XI shows up with the same determination like last Sunday against Atlantis, then the pendulum swings definitely in favor of the Bactowar-led XI. What does Everest/ACS need to do to emerge victorious and champions for the umpteenth time? Everest/ACS’ middle order will have to stand up and bat and not depend upon stalwarts like Terry Hastoo and Zamin Amin to pull them out of any holes. Everest/ACS has the better all-round side and youth on paper, but victory will only be theirs depending upon which Richmond Hill XI shows up.

May the best team win!

PS: We will try to bring you a live scorecard of the final on Sunday.

 

2 Comments

  1. This game would definitely be a “blockbuster”. The semi-finals last week end certainly gave an indication of the type of cricket that fans should expect. The teams that win most frames would likely be the winner. Of course a the team that win frames big would be the winner. This is what T20 cricket is alla bout(for the teams) a contest with 40 frames. Win most, and win them big, and you are home with victory.

  2. cricketer says:

    Why did seepersaud and mahadeo bat in. front of Royo whom scored 24 off 13 balls the previous week.these two can’t get the ball off the 30 yard circle.