Metropolitan Cricket League
By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 31st Anniversary):- Sheffield blew Cosmos away with a crushing 70-runs victory at Floyd Bennett Field last Sunday courtesy of an excellent spell from paceman Mickey Alexis and a composed inning from opening batsman from Dennis Evans. It was a day in which Cosmos contributed, in a major part, to their demise on a damp pitch that offered more than enough for the spinners. Cosmos won the toss and inserted Sheffield to bat with match that was reduced to 25 overs due to a wet wicket.

Mickey Alexis picked up 4 wickets for 8 runs as Sheffield beat Cosmos. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

However, as much as the pitch suited Cosmos bowlers their fielding was below par as they floored too many early chances and missed crucial opportunities to gain control of the match. When Evans drove a regulation catch to cover in the third over and N. Lewis made a meal of it, it proved later to be costly, and then he survived a stumping chance on 30.  That was the opening that gave Sheffield the opportunity to build their inning. On a damp and tricky pitch where spinners often wreck havoc Cosmos spin attach was oddly at sea in searched of another opportunity. Evans negotiated the conditions and waited for the loose ball as he led the charge with two crucial partnerships; a 2nd wicket 69-run with T. Henry (26), and a 3rd wicket 48-run with R. Smith (13) as Cosmos bowlers struggled to find a steady line.

At 108 for 2 after 20 overs, and despite the missed opportunities earlier Cosmos had kept the inning within their grasp but they were a hard pressed to keep Sheffield batsmen quiet with wickets in hand. Evans scored a determined 70 runs. It was the last five overs in which Sheffield batsmen took Cosmos bowlers to the cleaners with 37 runs coming in the last two overs, 16 wides really summed up the Cosmos effort. Alexis, who is no artist, delivered two crushing blows to Cosmos mid-section. The first came with the bat he just clobbers the ball where he likes taking 22 runs in the last over to give his team a respectable 165 runs.

Cosmos needed a good start to push past the 166 runs needed, but Alexis returned with ball in his hand to open the bowling. In his first two overs he sent both openers packing when he trapped Faisal Taj who has been on a statistical drought so far, and then H. Hardeo missed an ambitious drive to the sound of timber behind him. Cosmos top order batsmen could not have displayed more incongruent methods in their last two matches. Against Westbury they embraced an excessive form of conservatism and team drowned in it, and against Sheffield for some peculiar reason they chose to launch an ill-advised attack to chase down a total of 165 runs that had required some basic batting mixed with the occasional spark. It turned out to be Cosmos’s ruination as the inning slipped and slide deeper and deeper in every over and inside ten overs the inning had staggered on 30 for 6.

Cosmos has been energetic and instinctive throughout the season but somehow that iron resolve has seeped out and the team appeared unusually flat at a time when they were expected to be at their best. It was left to N. Lewis and Sohan Dass to infuse some spark into the inning and they began to push the ball around and in the process picked up the occasional boundary. They repaired the inning with an encouraging 42-run partnership in 6 overs. With Dass at the wicket it was Cosmos last chance to present a challenge the opposition’s total. He went hard and far over mid-on and again through mid-wicket and with a full-blooded pulled to square-leg that would have raced to the boundary, it found the diving outstretched right hand of the veteran Jamaica national player, Ordelmo Peters, whose effort, all effort, pulled off a blinder. Lewis with 42 not out needed some support and his late burst in the end further exposed the earlier recklessness of the Cosmos top order display. Alexis returned to finished off Cosmos for 95 all out in the 21st over, with figures of 4 for 9 off 4 overs to give Sheffield a deserved victory.

It was a match that needed that little extra to forge ahead of the opponent but it just wasn’t there.  A lot has transpired in the recent months and the events that played out on the day of this match were unfortunate. But beyond the specter Cosmos are too sensible to fuss with contrived methods and a tougher assignment that will soon proved to be pitiable for the game, and none of which can truly be defined with any speck of civility. Cosmos hail from a cricket culture that celebrate self-respect and is adept at walking utilitarian road, And in the finality, and under the current atmosphere it is better to stand clear. Cosmos was more delighted in their successes, and in defeat they were defined by a sense of unshakeable calm. The team is equipped with the skill and the will to quickly gather pace and they will bounce back, they always do.

Best of luck to Sheffield in the semi final.