By Orin Davidson
Bronx Dream Team rode a wave of imperious performances over the weekend to win the Independence Cup softball title by putting away defending champions New York League Team by 39 runs in the final Sunday at Floyd Bennett Field.
Following up on a massive batting display in the semi-finals, Bronx Dream Team continued where they left off on Saturday by amassing 193 runs in their allotted 25 overs, highlighted by a brilliant 81 from Khaleem Bux, that proved too much for the NY League side to handle.
They eventually capitulated for 154 in 24 overs after Bronx’s opening batsmen Bux and Ravi Balli set up a record opening partnership of 122 runs. Beria slammed 47 for his part of the bargain and it later became an Andrew Gonsalves show.
The Bronx captain sliced through the League team ‘s middle order, to end with 2 wickets for 17 runs and later said his team’s batting made all the difference in the five matches they won.
“ I think our batting has been very strong throughout the games and I expected it to work for us in the final,” Gonsalves said.
The hard hitting batsman added that he was aiming for his fourth MVP title in a row after winning it in the last two Florida competitions and the 2009 Independence Cup.
But he had to make way for Bux who claimed the two MVP awards, for the final and also the overall tournament MVP. His innings was by far the highest of the final which along with a decent haul of 15 wickets and a runs aggregate of more than 100, he walked away with the tournament MVP award for the first time.
The League Team had a disastrous batting display that resulted in three run outs. Captain Kris Shobai stood out though, leading the way with an accomplished 47 but he saw a middle order collapse that cost four wickets for 30 runs.
Erapali Sahadeo, Sunil Panday and Michael Persaud were all run out while in single figures and were it not for a courageous 38 from Pooran Beria the defeat might’ve been worse.
Shobai and Beria had added 55 for the second wicket before Frankie Baichu rubbed salt in the wounds by bagging 3-34 in addition to Gonsalves’ haul.
In Bronx’s innings Nigel Bridgelall took 2-53 for the League Team.
Shobai, the League Team’s captain was banking on his team’s bowling to do the trick but Bux and company had other ideas.
Shobai had to be content with the tournament’s batting award for 177 while Gonsalves copped the highest wickets prize. Vejai Seonarine won the highest innings score for his 82 scored in the preliminaries while Andrew Swami took the bowling prize equivalent for a haul of 4-16.
The League Team had success on Friday in the Legends 45 overs series and it would’ve been a golden double for them to double up on the titles, but the Dream Team’s batting was much too strong and they took home the Cup for the second time.
In an invited comment President of the New York Softball Cricket League Rick Ferrier believes the tournament produced one of the highest standards of play ever. “ We have the best softball players in New York presently”, he declared while praising the competitors for giving of their best. Ferrier also pointed out that the crowds were well behaved this year in contrast to last year.