Metropolitan Cricket League
By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 30th Anniversary):-Faisal Taj and Keddy Lesporis teamed-up for a rock-solid century partnership to give Cosmos a decisive victory over Mid Island in the first round of the Metropolitan Cricket League Challenge Cup competition at Roy Wilkins Park last Sunday. Mid Island must have come into this match brimming with confidence after they had inflicted a convincing defeat on Cosmos earlier in the season.

Keddy Lesporis (left) and Faisal Taj after their match winning knock.

However, Cosmos appeared more focused in their approach on this day, and Mid Island just could not reap the same measure of satisfaction on this occasion. On the field, Cosmos held a firm grip on the match with a probing line while Faisal Taj and Keddy Lesporis, on a good batting strip, were contemptuous as they tore into the opposition’s bowling attack.

Taj led the charge in his signature style similar to his excursion with the Westbury’s speedsters in the Round Robin semi final a fortnight ago that turned this match into a one-sided encounter. He took full advantage of the opposition bowling attack that was either too full or short and sugary on a bouncy track. He was clean and crisp on the front foot over extra cover, mid-off and mid-on and pounce on the short stuff to mid-wicket for the maximum.

Lesporis’s inning was in stark contrast to that of his partner; an inning that offered a glimpse into a potential West Indies player. He was watchful and selective in his stroke-play taking full advantage of the slightest width outside off stump to the backward point boundary, and soft on the front foot with some exquisite drives through the covers.

Mid Island though would have been disappointed after they had won the toss and elected to bat and had reached 124 for 2 in the 22nd over. They were on course to post a competitive total with Rohan Burrell; one of the leading run scorers in the MCL 2013 season stroking the ball with consummate authority. He had asserted his dominance on the spin duo of Taj and Cassius Burton and looked quite ominous and poised for his third century of the season, but Cosmos persistence yielded rewards as they struck vital blows at crucial times. At the change the left arm orthodox spin of Ricky Kissoon teased Burrell’s outside edge and the next ball he (Burrell) left enough room between bat and pad and Kissoon got one to squeeze through the gates to dislodge the woodwork and Burrell departed for on an explosive 79 runs (10 4’s , 4 6’s) from just 56 balls.

That was a vital break through, and with Burrell’s departure Cosmos subsequently ceased the opportunity to tighten their grip on the match effecting two run outs in the process. Kissoon then trapped the former Jamaica national player Clem Thompson (5) in his 4th over and that triggered the avalanche. Mid Island middle order crumbled as they lost another six wickets for just 20 runs before they were bundled out for just 145 runs in the 31st over courtesy of an incisive spell from Ricky Kissoon with 2 for 7. Burton picked up 2 for 41 while Taj and Ali picked up one wicket each.

Cosmos in their reply lost their first wicket with the score on 16 when D. Soodeen missed a rather extravagant heave to mid wicket.  This brought Taj and Lesporis together. They can be a very destructive pair against any attack, and on this occasion Mid Island bowlers felt the fury of their willow and the boundaries began to rain. They ensured that the opposition would not make any further inroads as they blazed a solid 130 runs partnership off just 14 overs with Taj getting 67 (7 4’s, 3 6’s) off 39 balls and Lesporis 62 (6 4’s) off 51 balls to take Cosmos to 156 runs in the 16th over and a comfortable 9-wicket victory.

Cosmos will play Pioneer Next Sunday at Gayeway.