By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 29th Anniversary):- Cosmos edged ahead in two thrillers last weekend at Floyd Bennett in the Hussein Rana T20 Knock Out tournament. Heading into this tournament, Cosmos were still a little bruised after falling to Progressive in a hard fought battle in the MCL T20 semi finals two weekends ago, however they enter this competition a bit more experienced for the T20 format.
In their Saturday encounter against Rana XI the match was reduced to 18 overs. Cosmos took the field and immediately felt that they were in for a long day after Rana XI opening batsman took Sham Ali’s first ball from outside off stump and sent it sailing over the mid-wicket boundary. It was clear to Ali that that “little swing thing” wouldn’t work today as Rana XI raced to 65 without loss in only 5 overs. However, when Haraldo Marshall ran around on the deep mid-on boundary and held on to a brilliant catch low down to a ball that was dying on him to dismissed the explosive opener, Cosmos pounced on the opportunity and stuck to their task at hand. A good bowling effort from Ricky, Aun, Majmamootoo, and the experienced Zamin Amin in the next 13 overs were backed up by some excellent fielding to restrict the opposition to 120 all out.
The effort though in the field was only half done as Cosmos was made to work even harder by the opposition when their middle order batting froze under some steady pressure from the opposition bowling attack, as Cosmos was reduced to 55 for 5 in the 10th over. Rasheem James played a brief cameo that tilted the equation. But with Cosmos needing 29 of the last 3 overs, Haraldo Marshall who had plucked a stunning catch on the deep mid on boundary, and then run out another with a direct hit from the same position, followed up with the bat with some vital runs including a crucial boundary in the 16th over. All along, Noble who began his innings at #3 in a rather “test match” mode shifted into third gear at a crucial time as he and Sham took Cosmos home with some aggressive running between the wicket, in 17.4 overs.
Cosmos seems to enjoy their habit of thrilling finishes and in their match on Sunday they were pushed to work even harder. After Cosmos bowlers had penetrated the opposition’s top and middle order, the tail dug in before they were eventually dismissed for 109 off the allotted 20 overs. Cosmos bowlers perhaps had thought that their job was done. It was not to be, as Cosmos was made to struggle throughout their innings and needed the full service of their batting line-up when suddenly they found themselves in serious trouble reeling on 78 for 8 in the 17th over. But with the weight of the team resting heavily on the broad shoulders of Rasheem James the match was not over by any means.
The left-handed James is strong and can easily clear the Floyd Bennett boundary; he did as he leaned and followed through with the stroke, high over a huge mid-on Floyd Bennett boundary (90yds). That was a vital runs . James was timing the ball well and when Sham holed out at point, Cosmos needed to get 16 runs off 12 balls with the last pair of James and Kissoon at the wicket. Kissoon took 3 runs of the first ball, actually with Marshall running for him it was always three as Cosmos chipped away at the target. The opposition had done enough to squeeze Cosmos throughout the innings, but it was not enough for the big man James as the next ball went sailing over the mid off boundary. He then drove to the cover point boundary and Cosmos went on to tie the score at the end of the 19th over.
The ‘Big Man’ James sported a refreshing smile as he went through cover to lift his teammate’s confidence with a determined effort of his own and put them into the semi finals. It was two victories that clearly rest on the effort of eleven boys, which include Zamin and Sham, playing within their ability and winning in a fighting effort. The semi final will be another challenge for this young Cosmos team when they take on Strikers on Saturday at 12 pm at Floyd Bennett.
It was a very different story the week before in the MCL T20 semi final when “Kosmos Krumbled” to a more experienced Progressive team and missed their chance of a bout in the final. The start of the match was delayed for an hour with the pitch a bit damp due to overnight showers and the overs were reduced to 15. Progressive won the toss and without hesitation inserted Cosmos in to bat. It was a good decision given the condition of the pitch. Cosmos was pushed onto the back foot in the 2nd over when former windward island player, John Sylvester, rattled Faizal Taj stumps and Morris Powell went caught at mid wicket in the 4th over. Dehan Siddique- the former Bangladesh U19 wicketkeeper batsman- along with Keith Eddy led the recovery as Cosmos moved to 58 in the 9th over with the usually aggressive Siddique leading the way with a composed mixture of rare patience. When Eddy walked down the track for a mindless heave and was stumped, it gave Progressive the opportunity which the garb and didn’t let go as Cosmos went into a tailspin of 93.
Cosmos responded with a fighting effort in the field but Progressive sent Cosmos packing when they sealed victory in the 14th over. A highly anticipated finals between Progressive and Villagers was curtailed by the rains with both teams sharing the trophy as joint winners of the MCL T20 Knockout.