By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 28th Anniversary). Cosmos fused together a combination of responsible batting, discipline bowling, and a determined team effort to secure their place in the Metropolitan Cricket League Challenge Cup final when they blew away River Valley by massive 159 runs at Floyd Bennett field last Sunday. It was a dogged opening partnership between the inform Dennis Evans and young Morris Powell which left the opposition breathless, and then Kevin Darlington, the United States national paceman, produced an inspired opening spell of the fast bowling along with George Adams to that delivered the blow that staggered the River Valley top order batsmen.
Evans, the man caring the batting weight for cosmos presently, and quite responsibility, will be fuming with himself for carelessly missing out on his third century of the season. After he had done all the hard work of seeing the shine off the new ball and battled the rising temperature, he hoisted a sumptuous full toss from Denzil Powell into the hands of the man at deep mid wicket for a solid 73-ball 89 runs that included 3 fours and 2 sixes. He led the charge earlier as he bunkered down in an opening partnership that was worth a steely 152-run with New York Region U19 player Morris Powell who checked in with his maiden half century, 52 runs, for cosmos.
Cosmos came into this semi final a very confident team and never really felt threatened by the ninth ranking river Valley team but did anticipate the occasional challenge, and welcomed the decision by River Valley who had won the toss and inserted Cosmos in to bat. It was a surprising decision; one that left River Valley in a dreadful state since their ‘star’ players did not arrived to battle the heat and humidity in the initial power play overs. Cosmos opening pair began to build their innings carefully and gradually prepared the launching pad for Cosmos middle order batsmen in the closing overs. Dixeth Palmer and Rupert Brown responded in kind and proceeded to add salt to an already wounded opposition in the last 9-overs. They launched a belligerent attack on River Valley bowlers that yielded 98-runs for an unbroken 3rd wicket partnership with Palmer getting a 24-ball 43 runs and Brown getting a 28-ball 44 runs when Cosmos inning closed on an imposing 256 for 2 of their 35 overs.
In reply to a formidable target set by Cosmos, River Valley needed some heroics from their franchised batsmen, but none came to the show against an indomitable Cosmos pace attack. Vice captain Kevin Darlington who returned to the squad from Italy after carrying the workload for the United States national Team in the ICC Pepsi challenge tournament, produced a lively opening spell that kept his slip cordon very alert bagging 3 for 12, while Adams, 1 for 20, extracted some movement off the wicket but kept missing the batsman’s outside edge on a good line. Cosmos was just brilliant in the field, they held on to their catches while Cassius Burton and Damien Reid affected two spectacular run outs.
At 6 for 64 in the 16th over, cosmos pacemen had left a bruised river Valley team going upstream in turbulent waters with no paddle and an imminent end result lurking. Powell, 2 for 33, and Burton 1 for 9, delivered the final blow. Ronald Ford swung, missed and tumbled on every occasion in the dying stages of match when he attempted to hit the three overs from leg spinner Cassius Burton’s out of the park before his team finally succumbed to 98 all out. In the end, Cosmos was just too competitive for their friends ‘Dandy’ and “Chief’ who left the picturesque cricket field in the valley in Poughkeepsie to battle Cosmos on the retired coast guard lawns of Floyd Bennett. It was a semi final match up that as a result of inclement weather in the group stages, edged out the competitive Westbury and Villagers teams, and in the final analysis it turned out to be a one-sided affair for both Cosmos and Progressive.
Progressive made light work of Spice Island over at Marine Park and they will be looking for their second championship this season when they meet Cosmos in the final. It may turned out to be the match-up of the season when these two top ranking seasoned champions collide on September 12th at Floyd Bennett. Progressive will be hoping to repeat their stellar performance from the round robin final a few weeks ago as manager Jeff James stated “I am happy that we won, but it would have been sweeter against Cosmos.” Well, here is another chance and records are designed to be broken; however, Progressive will remember quite clearly, that on the three occasions in which these two teams have met in a final, Cosmos has raised the crown on every occasion. This championship will not be delivered on a platter!