By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 29th Anniversary):- Ricky Kissoon bagged a fifer; Cassius Burton displayed his cool temperament and Sajib Salam was impressive as Cosmos blazed under the scorching 90 degrees sun with two disciplined performances to registered compelling victories last weekend in their double-header against Staten Island at Walker Park on Saturday and Lucas at Floyd Bennett Field on Sunday.

Cassius Burton: Photos by Shiek Mohamed

Walker Park, home Staten Island cricket club since 1876 is noted for its cricketing history as the oldest club in the country. The contest between these two teams, now 32 years old, has been one of camaraderie and sportsmanship that epitomized the true spirit of the game. Without hesitation, Staten Island captain Shafikool Sackroolar sported a smile after he won the toss and sarcastically asked Cosmos captain if he wanted to bat – well the friendship has not grown such deep roots as yet especially on a scorching day. Staten Island after elected to bat found themselves in trouble as Cosmos struck early blows. When Rasheem James clipped C. Chaudary’s off stump and Sham Ali then removed P. Nandavanam and T. Jagnauth, Cosmos sensed in early day as they were just beginning to feel the heat.

Mohan Kissoon then took his one slice while Ralston Levy snapped another 3 wickets in as many overs, the opposition against a penetrating Cosmos attack, found themselves reeling at 68 for 7 in the 14th over. Levy toiled for his next four overs for fifer that just was not there as his left arm orthodox spin kept wicketkeeper Neil Lewis busy and the batsman unmoved. Salim Khan offered some resistance with a good 46 runs before his miscued a sweep from R. Kissoon to fine leg that found a Levy sprinted from gully, timed his dive and held on to a brilliant catch, albeit a little bruised. Staten Island was then bundled out for 139 runs in 31.5 overs.

Cosmos got off to a shaky start with danger man Faisal Taj and Lewis back in the pavilion. The two veteran Sham Ali and Leonard Achaibar, whose memories of Walker Park are plentiful, took Cosmos total to 70 runs by the 16th over before Ali was burned on the mid in boundary. Burton joined Achaibar at the crease and the pair, weathered the elements and a probing Staten Island attack as they proceeded to build a partnership. This pair chipped away at the opposition total timed their counter attack.  When Leonard Achaibar’s (32) rocked back and dispatched medium pacer Bhajan to the mid wicket boundary and Burton (33) equaled the stroke in the next over, Cosmos had command the authority in this match as they achieved their target with a thumping victory of 140 for 3 in the 27th over.
Cosmos had expected Lucas to be the tougher match-up on day two, but they proved to be anything but a challenge after they had won the toss and elected to bat. After Sham Ali pierced the gates of the left handed L. Johnson in the 3rd over and Rasheem James dented the top order with another three wickets when he clipped the bails of W. Clement, then had O. Crawford’s nick found Taj at 1st slip while Ali held on to a regulation catch at point.

Ricky Kissoon had 5 for 14 against Lucas.

Cosmos had fixed their grip on the match and pinned Lucas in a corner at 36 for 4 in the 10th over.  Levy (5 overs for 11 runs) and Burton (5 overs for 20 runs) increased the heat on this opposition, but it was Ricky Kissoon who responded to the call and cleaned up the tail with 5 for 14 as Lucas was bundled out for a paltry 105 all out in the 31st over.

Cosmos then knocked off their target for the loss of three wickets behind an excellent 4th wicket partnership of 76 runs in 11 overs between Burton and Sajib Salam. Burton picked up from where he had left off on the previous day to finish the weekend unbeaten and this match with a solid 45 runs. However, it was the 17-year old Salam who was promoted in the order responded with as clear a demonstration of fearlessness with an aggressive 34 runs as was Faisal Taj’s percussive 45-balls 75 runs against a Villagers attack a week ago. When Cosmos inning closed on 106 in the 18th over it punctuated an imposing victory against a listless Lucas outfit. The two wins over the weekend moved Cosmos into the 4th place with an opportunity to secure a spot in the playoffs with three matched left to be played. It will be an interesting race to the finished with seven of the sixteen teams in with a chance.

Cosmos will play Progressive next Sunday at Floyd Bennett.