Metropolitan Cricket League Challenge Cup
By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 29th Anniversary):- It was a determined century partnership between Cosmos openers Faisal Taj and Haraldo Marshall that provided the foundation for a convincing 8-wicket victory over Islandwide last Sunday at Floyd Bennett field. That victory has positioned cosmos at the top of their zone and a semi final spot in the Metropolitan Cricket League Challenge Cup.
For the second time this season Taj and Marshall took the attack to the opposition with some positive stroke-play. After Taj went via a dubious ‘lbw’ for 68 and with the score on 104 for 1 in the 16th over, he had positioned Cosmos’s target well within sight. Cassius Burton joined Marshall at the wicket and proceeded to chip away at the target with some aggressive running between wickets. When Burton was finally caught at backward point for 36 runs, they had taken cosmos to within one run of victory by the 26th over with a 64 runs partnership.
However, it was spinners who played a key role in this match that allowed Cosmos to keep the target within reach and fixed their grip on the opposition with controlled spells from Taj and Burton after Islandwide had won the toss and elected to bat. At 123 for 3 in the 23rd over Islandwide had positioned themselves for a surge in the final overs with the powerplay in effect, however, with Taj and Burton operating in tandem that was an uphill task.
A heated battle ensued between with T. Wells and Burton. Burton, in the end, had the last laugh, after he sent down a maiden over to Wells and returned to scalped him in his next over at backward point playing down the wrong line, he then had Serieux went caught behind. Taj then joined the mix when he picked up another two quick wickets, Mathurin and Forbes, as Islandwide wobbled to 168 for 8 by the end of their allotted 35 overs.
While Taj and Marshal resisted the opposition opening attack and put Cosmos in clear sight of a victory, This match though, the last in the two major competitions in the MCL, was filled with many ingredients of a team that was defining its future with another a successful season. It was also about young players whose collective efforts were outstanding throughout the season, and two players in particular, Taj and Burton who have to a very large proportion, defined the success of cosmos this season with very contrasting styles.
Taj noted for his power and aggressive approach with the bat would pounce on anything that was remotely inviting that yielded over 600 runs so far. And Burton a compact batsman with a solid technique compiled his runs with certainty and control, he was contended on being watchful on the good balls while taking full advantage of anything that was fractionally out of line to finish with an average of 144.
Undoubtedly, this Cosmos team was met with challenges from the beginning of the season to the very last match against Islandwide. They represented themselves in an old fashion way, to play hard and tough. They bowed out in the Round Robin semi to Progressive and now they have earned another semi final a spot in the Challenge Cup.