Metropolitan Cricket League
Fahad Mughul scored a powerful 87 to guide the dangerous looking Staten Island to yet another victory on Sunday as the action continued in Metropolitan Cricket League at the Walker Park in Staten Island.
Suburbian skipper Roy Trocard won the toss and chose to bat on a lovely batting pitch. Suburbian opened the innings with Trocard and Mansoor Hussain. While the skipper looked good from the beginning, Mansoor was never comfortable against some good seam bowling and eventually edged one from Majid to second slip where Anil Ramdeo took a marvelous one handed catch as the ball was dying on him. Oliver came and edged his first ball to the keeper Ibrahim, who again took a good catch standing up to the stumps.
With 2 early wickets it looked like as if it’s going to be another walk in the park for Staten Island.
As Smith came in and joined his captain at the crease, both gave the innings a new life. There running between the wickets was especially notable as they kept the scoreboard moving while still putting the bad balls away.
At the water break at the end of the 15th over the pair had already put on 65 for the 3rd wicket with the total standing on 100. After the break Ibrahim was introduced from the far end, he was fast and furious but at the same time very unlucky as the SICC fielders kept dropping easy catches of his bowling. Ibrahim bowled his heart out to get a breakthrough. His figure of none for 38 in 6 overs doesn’t do any justice to the way he bowled.
As the partnership between Trocard and Smith continues to grow stronger and stronger, SICC skipper Shaffi now desperate for a wicket brought back his premium bowler Fahad back. And in his second over got the big wicket of Trocard who had batted himself to a well-made 81 that included 6 fours and 4 sixes. Together with Smith they put on 112 for the 3rd wicket. Some late charge by Smith put up a fighting total of 219 for 5 wickets in the allotted 30 overs for Suburbia. For Staten Island Majid was the pick of the bowlers with the figures of 2 for 27 in 6 overs.
Chasing 219 Staten Island opened with Charru choudhary and Prashanth Nandavnam and lost the former in the 4th over with only 23 on the board. Majid came and hit some nice shots before being given LBW for 14 to a ball that was clearly going over the stumps. Ibrahim came at 4 and looked like a batsman to watch right from the first ball that he faced.
At the midway mark SICC was 78 for 3 as the former regional under 19 player Fahad had just joined Ibrahim in the middle. With 141 needed in the next 15 overs both the batsmen knew what was expected of them. With every over passing by their confidence kept growing as they keep hitting the balls to all parts of the ground. Fahad specially was too harsh on anything short or slightly overpitched. At one point Umpires had to keep 2 spare balls in their pockets as the ball kept going out of the park. Fahad was aggressive Ibrahim was as smooth as silk guiding the balls in the gap and when it’s there he wasn’t reluctant to put it away. The highlight of their batting was their calculation and how they both paced their innings.
Suburbia bowlers were clueless as their fielders kept dropping the catches under pressure but as they say “Luck favors the brave.”
In the 25th over suburbia were finally able to break the partnership as Ibrahim top edged a shot and was caught by the keeper. He had scored a very responsible 42 in a match winning 4th wicket partnership worth 107 runs with Fahad. His footwork was a treat to watch. At his fall veteran Habib Rehman came in and finished the game with Fahad in the 29th over. Fahad came not out on 87 and took his tally to 130 in the season with only getting out once. His innings included 6 fours and 7 mighty sixes.
In the end it was the most classic game of cricket in which the balance keep shifting and the team who coped with the pressure best came out as the winners.
Staten Island now has 4 wins in as many games with one abandoned and look like a team to go all the way this season. They play their next game in the beautiful valley of Poughkeepsie against River Valley.