By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 29th Anniversary):- A pugnacious counter attack from Faisal Taj punched a huge hole in the Valley last Sunday at Poughkeepsie. If Taj’s century in the first match of the season was not enough of an indication of the caliber of the player, then his inning last Sunday virtually confirmed his ability as he proceeded to single-handedly led his team to an emphatic 7-wicket victory with a solid undefeated 88 runs.  His peers called him ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ a title, signature of power and talent and one that is difficult to carry, but Taj in his own style delivered in much the same manner when he is in the wicket. It gives his boys something to taunt about.

Faisal Taj hit an unbeaten 88 against River Valley in Cosmos victory. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

The elements; occasional sun, and heavy winds at times, drizzle interruptions were not enough to unnerve Taj who kept a cool head  after River Valley, on a heavy outfield, had posted a challenging 149 for 9 off their allotted 35 overs. It was Ricky Kissoon (3 for 19) and Sohan Dass (2 for 18) who, in their spell, bowled a steady line that kept the opposition in check. James, in a fiery spell,  pushed the slips further back but was unfortunate when he had a confident, very confident, caught behind appeal against Rudy Blackman turned down. Sajib Salam (1 for 30) was again impressive with a tidy spell. Cosmos was just brilliant in the field. Taj held on to an excellent running catch at mid wicket off Ricky Kissoon to dismiss Rudy Blackman who had held the opposition inning together with a patient 59 runs after he was let off at cover in the first ball of the match. Mohan Kissoon picked off a blinder at leg gully, on his second attempt, off a hook from P. Plunkett  and James, got hands like a bucket, hugged two well judged catches  on the mid off boundary .

In cosmos’s reply, they needed to buckle down, and they did with three mini partnerships that kept them on course under overcast skies. It was all that was required, a 28-runs with Haraldo Marshal (5), Cosmos lucky charm in need of a polish, before he poked his bat to a ball outside off stump, a 28-run with former Nepal U-19 player Anjel Achayra (6) before he slipped and was stumped, and then a 30-run with Rasheem James (13) before he pushed carelessly back to the bowler, that left Cosmos in a good position at 86 for 3 in the 16th over, with still a bit of work still to be done.

The former Guyana national player Sohan Dass then joined Taj at the wicket, a good combination of experience and youth at a crucial point in the match. They chiseled away at the opposition’s total and delivered a match-winning unbroken 4th wicket partnership of 64 runs. Taj, in particular, was quite measured in his approach as he picked up the singles and punished the loose delivery for the maximum while Dass shielded his partner at times and carefully rotated the strike. His presence at the wicket required a few strolls down the wicket for a chat to keep the younger Taj away from all the gamesmanship that were thrown at him smartly and focused on the task at hand.

Taj’s occasional response with the bat was quite contrary to his quite personality. He was particularly brutal on a vocal part-time Cinderella spin that went for 16 runs in one over. When Taj creamed the first ball through extra cover for a flat six, it quietly inferred I need better than this, that blow extracted some lips from the bowler. And then another six, a stroke of class, it gave the ball legs and wings as it flew over mid off into the thick bushes,  that surely zipped the lips up and left very little to crow about. It was a dismissive answer that put an end to a day of unearned wages and left the valley dry in 26.5 overs. Dass with a composed bakers’ dozen, and Taj 88 runs (2-4’s, 5-6’s) off 68-balls took cosmos comfortably home.

Cosmos will Play Mid Island next Sunday at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn.

SCORECARD

Match #: 917 Cosmos v River Valley
Venue: River Valley, Poughkeepsie. Overs: 35
Toss: Cosmos Match Type: MCL Round Robin
Result: COSMOS WON BY 7 WICKETS Date: June 3, 2012
Umpires: L. Thomas / W. Ricketts Scorers: L. Achaibar / R. Burton
River Valley Inning Runs B 4′S 6′S SR
Rudy Blackman c F. Taj b R. Kissoon 59 0 2 1 ~
Pete Plunkett c M. Kissoon b S. Ali 5 0 0 0 ~
Answar Rizzi lbw R. Kissoon 5 0 0 0 ~
Gremain Allen lbw R. Kissoon 0 0 0 0 ~
Patrick Dewar c R. James b S. Dass 6 0 0 0 ~
Roy Blackman c R. James b S. Dass 13 0 1 0 ~
Antony c & b S. Salam 24 0 2 1 ~
G. Hewitt Run Out 12 0 0 0 ~
Ijas Saafi Not Out 4 0 0 0 ~
A Hossain Run Out 0 0 0 0 ~
Denzil Powell-chief 0 0 0 0 0 ~
0 Extras 21 0 5 0 71
Overs 35 RR: 4.257 TOTAL 149 for 9 wkts
FOW:- 1-21(2)5, 2-31(3)9, 3-39(4)11, 4-39(4)11, 5-92(5)23, 6-124(1)31, 7-144(7)34, 8-8149(9)35, 9-149(9/10)35.
Cosmos Bowling O M R W Av. ER
Sham Ali 7 0 28 1 28 4
Rasheem James 7 0 28 0 ~ 4
Sohan Dass 7 0 18 2 9 3
Ricky Kissoon 6 0 19 3 6 3
A. Acharya 1 0 17 0 ~ 17
F. Taj 1 0 6 0 ~ 6
S. Salam 6 0 30 1 30 5
0 0 0 0 0 ~ ~
0 0 0 0 0 ~ ~
0 0 0 0 0 ~ ~
Cosmos Inning Runs B 4′S 6′S SR
Faisal Taj Not Out 88 68 2 5 129
Haraldo Marshall c wkpr A. Mason b I. Saafi 5 22 0 0 22.7
Anjel Achayra stp A. Mason b G. Allen 6 12 0 0 50
Rasheem James c & b P. Dewar 12 19 0 0 63.2
Sohan Dass Not Out 13 20 0 0 65
Ricky Kissoon did not bat 0 0 0 0 ~
Sajib Salam did not bat 0 0 0 0 ~
Sham Ali did not bat 0 0 0 0 ~
Kristoff Narine did not bat 0 0 0 0 ~
Regis Burton did not bat 0 0 0 0 ~
Mohan Kissoon did not bat 0 0 0 0 ~
Mohamed Hossain Extras 8 141 2 0 94
Overs 26.5 RR: 5.66 TOTAL 150 for 3 wkts
FOW:- 1-29(2)7, 2-56(23)11, 3-86(4)16.3.
River Valley Bowling O M R W Av. ER
Ijas Saafi 5 0 16 1 16 ~
G. Hewitt 5 0 30 0 ~ ~
Germain Allen 3 0 21 1 21 ~
Answar Rizzi 6 1 26 0 ~ ~
A. Houssain 2 0 12 0 ~ ~
Patrick Dewar 6 0 43 1 43 ~