By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary). Cassius Burton, the right arm leg spinner, inscribed his name on the Cosmos honors board with a clinical five wicket haul. While a decisive spell from right arm off spinner Mahindra Seeram combined with a searing opening one from pacemen Kevin Darlington and George Adams lighted up a packed Floyd Bennett field as cosmos registered a crucial victory against Progressive which gave them an opening into the playoffs on a riveting last Sunday at Floyd Bennett field.
Burton, the Jamaican U19 reserve, appeared to have revived a lost art in West Indies cricket with his right arm leg-spin as he proceeded to mesmerize his opponents in an unbroken spell of 5 for 34 on his debut for cosmos. He got the ball to turn and bounce appreciably off the pitch to tantalize the batsmen’s outside edge on numerous occasions. His introduction into the attack from the aviation end transformed the contest after the break when he got danger-man Richard Staple (12) to jabbed at a lifter and L. Ruttray (20) was then beaten for turn as Dixeth Palmer held on to two sharp catches at first slip. Burton and Seeram tilted the scale in Cosmos’s favor and captain Dixeth Palmer seized the opportunity to apply pressure on the progressive batsmen. Burton then trapped Kevil George (37), and when Seeram bowled John Sylvester (8) the last vestige of Progressive’s hope vanished and ultimately altered the contest by which they never recovered.
It was Cosmos effort earlier after they won the toss and elected to bat as opening batsmen Dennis Evans (20) and Morris Powell (35) gave cosmos a solid start before Evans nicked Mikey Alexis to the keeper. Powell and Ordelmo Peters (31) made invaluable progress as they positioned cosmos for a big total at 90 for 1 in the 15th over. After the break, Peters lost his head and his wicket via LBW when he played around a straighter ball from Staple and Morris edged to the keeper when he failed to get his feet to the pitch of the ball against left-handed orthodox S. George, who produced an excellent spell of 3 for 18 that ultimately stifled the cosmos middle order. Richard Staple and S. Primo produced two good spells as Cosmos prodded along to 183 for 9 in the 36th over. Palmer (38), the linchpin of Cosmos batting weathered the spin attack hoping for someone to stick around with him. He managed in the process to find some fluency in his inning while his middle order found a succession of unworthy ways to fling their wickets away and succumbed and suffered the consequences of some poor shot selection. The experienced vice-captain Darlington then shepherd the young Burton as they held their heads in the closing overs and pushed cosmos to 207 for 9 in their allotted 40 overs to gain a minor psychological advantage.
The battle lines were clearly drawn, in truest sense of the word, in this encounter as these two arched rivals clashed in this matchup that has once again showcased the high standard of discipline and competitiveness in the MCL and engaged each other in a hard fought battle. Cosmos pacemen Kevin Darlington and George Adams kept a tidy line in their opening spell nagging away on an impeccable seamer’s length to give cosmos the start they needed. however, it was first changed medium pace bowler Robert Brown 1 for 19, who effected the all important breakthrough of D. Morand (35), when substitute fielder Damian Reid held on to a brilliant catch running back from mid off and pouched a skier a few yards in from the boundary as progressive crept from 23 runs in the 10th over to 76 for 1 in the 20th over.
With the incision made the mounting pressure and a penetrating combination between the right arm off spin of Mahindra Seeram, 1 for 20 off 8 overs, and with the bowling exploits of the five-wicket hero, Cassius Burton, Cosmos scarcely looked back. When Staple, George and Sylvester followed in succession the floodgates open and it left the opposition’s middle order in tatters as the runs dried up. The last rites for progressive came in a rush, though the capitulation was as much a consequence of cosmos’s dogged effort with the bat and reinforced by a penetrated bowling attack of pace and spin, however, Progressive had made Cosmos work hard for much of the day. A pumped up Cosmos attack backed up by some brilliant fielding and tactical maneuvering from Palmer seized the initiative before the batting power play could add any further twists on the match. Cosmos completed a 43-runs victory and positioned themselves for a spot in the playoffs with hints of seeing progressive again, soon.