By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 29th Anniversary):- Rasheem James produced a searing spell of fast bowling to pick his first five wicket haul; while Dehan Siddique stroked a blistering 16-ball half century (5’4s; 4’6s) as Cosmos crushed Pioneer on a roasted Floyd Bennett field last Sunday.
When Cosmos captain Sham Ali handed James the new ball instead of the left-handed Yogindra Dass the decision could not have been more rewarded after cosmos lost the toss, again. James wasted no time and repeated his heroics from the last match with his fifth ball of the day when he uprooted J. Antwan (3) middle stump with a good in-swinging yorker. He repeated the show against P. Damian (1) in his next over. Ali then trapped Simone Bari for a duck leaving the opposition’s gate ajar. Dass struggled with his line a bit but managed to break through a mini 25-runs partnership when he had M. Sarrabo (14) caught by Ricky Kissoon at short mid-wicket.
With the score on 52 for 4 in the 10th over, the heat and humidity was beginning to take its toll on the drenched James as he asked for one more over. James strike again when W. Gray, cramped for room forced a slash to backward point where Lalta Persaud took a well judged catch over his head, 3rd for James. It appeared that he had enough energy for another over as cosmos fenced their slip cordon along with silly mid-on and mid-off.
This day was quite reminiscent of another young player Tyrone Stewart when he made his debut for Cosmos against Staten Island in 1987. Cosmos was defending 121 runs and Tyrone was given the honors of the new ball. He had bowled 6 overs without a wicket when and asked to be relieved from his spell because of the ninety degree heat and humidity. Captain Ashmul Ali asked Tyrone to give him one more over. Well, Tyrone got the important breakthrough in that over and continued and suddenly found the energy to bowl for another six overs. When he completed his 12-over spell, he had positioned his team for a memorable victory with 6 for 32 off 12 overs as Staten Island was bowled out for 64 runs. Tyrone never looked back as he later went on to win the prize for most wickets in the Metropolitan Cricket League three times in four seasons.
It is now James turn in 2011. He fired his first ball at C. Mason who was late to respond as the ball passed the outside edge on its way up with an oooh from the slips, wicketkeeper Siddique had trouble landing. James on the spot, and again it teased the edge. another slip in place, a good length delivery outside off stump swinging, it hits the wicketkeeper’s glove hard, another good length delivery, an out-swinger on off stump, C. Mason poked at it and got a nick, Siddique threw himself low in front of first slip one-handed, brilliant stuff, out, James puffed #4, cosmos on fire.
The next man in R. Persaud fully padded, chest guard and all, but no helmet, he survived the heat. Cosmos advice him to get his helmet, he did, as James drank about gallon of water. Cosmos looking to finish off their opposition as Morris Powell kept the pressure on with a maiden. James walked to his mark for his 7th over. 1st ball is a yorker, duged out. 2nd ball, another attempted yorker missing off, hands in the air. 3rdball, a good rising one outside off stump, the big man James down the wicket, the batsman looked intimidated. More fielders converge, a fourth slip, now forward short leg (Ali), leg gully (Das) the batsman looked around at the man around him. This may be an invasion of his privacy he then looked up as though he is stretching his neck and blow some air with perhaps a sense of what’s next. He is nervous, a brave man (Faisal Taj) under him at silly, very silly, mid off, Ricky Kissoon at silly mid on, the odd man out Lalta Persaud at backward point.
James walked back to his mark and turned sucking up some air. With only the wind behind him he leaned and gave the ball a few vigorous rub on his stylish trousers, one leg cut shorter than the other and lifts his head like a jumbo jet ready for takeoff and into his stride. The batsman stopped tapping his bat. He is nervous as the slip cordon crouch in unison and Haraldo Marshall at second slip in his familiar tone. Come on cosmos this is it! It is! Where did James get that from, a good rising delivery on middle and leg, Persaud fended, it clipped his glove, big appeal, as an airborne Siddique plucked a stunning catch out of thin air down the leg side, OUT!. This is inspiring, brilliant, and just brilliant. James is elated; he leaped, landed, and then pulled up his ‘lucky’ brown socks – the color is not recommended for cricket. His team mates converge and hugged him as he raised his two hands in the air, in his usual boyish smile, and it looks like he is touching the sky, wicket #5. CROWN ME, KING JAMES THE X (5th).
And with that devastating spell Pioneer was reeling at 63 for 7, with James 5 for 31. Siddique, the man who later wielded his bat to add to James heroics, then pulled off two smart stumping off Ryan Persaud (2 for 15), and Haraldo sharp reaction at second slip run out the last man as he attempted to take off for a run and Pioneer was bundled out for 102 in the 27th over. S. Ali got 1 for 19, and Dass 1 for 26. Cosmos was satisfied of their performance with the ball since they needed to take full points to remain in contention for a playoffs spot.
It was now showtime for Dehan Siddique, after nursing an injured thumb and struggling a bit at the #4 position, he walked in to open the batting instead of Faisal Taj. Siddique proceeded to reduce Floyd Bennett 80-yard boundary with a huge six over mid on and followed up with another six over extra cover and a square cut for four to open his inning in the first over and Cosmos was off to a flyer. Pioneer must have felt the heat in a couple of ways, and wondered what is happening, especially after they knocked Cosmos out of the first round of the Twenty/20 last season.
With Siddique in a commanding mode and stroking the ball cleanly the opposition had very few answers. He continued to pulverize the opposition bowling attack with a flurry of boundaries, And When he reached his 50 runs in only 13-balls, his partner Morris Powell was on 2, and absorbing the fireworks. With the score on 100 in the 8th over, Siddique then flicked to short mid wicket and saw the ball stuck in the fielder’s outstretched hand, but not before he had stroked a belligerent 79 runs off 32 balls which included 5’6s and 8’4s, He had convincingly put his team on the brink victory and With M. Powell on 12 not out, Taj then managed to get a piece of the action when he flicked his first ball to the square leg boundary.
Cosmos boys had an extra spring in their stride as they sealed a convincing 9-wicket victory in scintillating style with the demolition duo of Rasheem James and Dehan Siddique who combined to ensure that their team chalked up full points in this must win match. That victory has positioned Cosmos with a chance of getting into the semi finals as the points table reads Progressive 69 pts, Westbury 56 pts, Villagers 51.5 pts, River Valley 50.5 pts, and Cosmos 45 pts with one game to play against Liberty on Saturday.
Cosmos despite their difficulties over the years the team continue to persevere, and all the sounds that the team was expected to fold and not even show this season was silenced by some young talent in Faisal Taj, Ryan Persaud, Morris Powell, Dehan Siddique, Adrian Ali, Rasheem James, Haraldo Marshal, Yogindra Dass and Ricky Kissoon along with cosmos cricket manager Nathan Henderson, as Cosmos ‘the comeback kid’ continue to beat the odds and are ready for challenges ahead.
Note: The semi finals are carded to be played on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if the game between Liberty and Cosmos will be played or not, or the plots and ploys that usually develops takes it course. if liberty don’t show up it will result that Cosmos, now a very young team, will be disappointed and eliminated in a rather dubious way by one-half of a point. We at MCL need to be very vigilant. If Liberty don’t show up, then such behavior within the MCL only adds fuel to its detractors who maintain that the MCL is no different than the others, and that all the talk of promoting the youths, and who is pulling who down, are just a load of rubbish. Cosmos though, has been down this road before and it will not be a surprise.