By James Persaud | Gallery
Hustlers won the toss and field first in the New York Softball Cricket League 30 Over Cup finals versus Assassins. When the final result was out Asif Ally won his second man of the match award of the season in the second straight finals and Hustlers was crowned the champions again.
Earlier in the day with dark clouds hanging over Hustlers asked Assassins to bat first, Shawn Persaud took the ball and sent the first full toss of the game to Anand Singh who flashed outside the off stump and missed. The next ball raced to the backward point boundary and he smashed two of the other full toss he faced to the extra cover boundary. The first over was a long one with three wides for a total of 16 runs. This brought the decent sized crowd to their feet and as the news spread the park was filled up fast, by the fourth over with both openers looking very aggressive at the crease. At this point it was an Assassins show and looked as if the luck was on their side, Anand was dropped by Nigel Greaves and Ravi Balli was given an easy chance by Asif Ally.
This is where the Hustlers skipper Kris “Babulall” Sobhai does his best work as he had made a bowling change after the second over giving Shawn a rest and he made many fielding changes to stop the batsman free flow of runs. Kris one of the best tacticians of the game today he brought on one of the most flamboyant players of the game at present, Pooran Beria, to bowl the sixth over, his first ball went over square leg for two and he struck with his second to remove Ravi Balli for 16 and the fifth ball went to Javid Ali safe hands and Anand was gone for 20.
The two new batsmen at the crease were Raja and Kaleem Bux, Bux drove Nigel Briglal straight to Kris at extra cover and he departed for a duck. Gary Whaite came to the crease and batted with ease for a quick 9 before he was gone caught and bowl by Javid Ali. The hard hitting Eon Ellis came to the crease and looked set to hitting his team back into command of the game, since at this point Hustlers had began to take control.
Eon and Raja batted very sensible and was unable to find the boundary and settle for quick running between the wicket picking up doubles and singles. This brought back some excitement to the crowd but Hustlers knew once they kept the pressure on, there will be mistakes and this happened in the sixteenth over. Shawn fielding at short third man was able to find the stump with a direct hit which found Raja and Eon in a mixed up between the wickets and Raja was run out for 18. The partnership between Raja and Eon put on 32 valuable runs. The Assassins skipper Amit Moonsammy joined Eon and he took charge he open his account with two boundaries, but after adding 28 runs to the total he loss Eon caught by Shawn of Pooran for a top score of 32.
Rico Knight joined his skipper who was looking solid at the crease and was striking the ball well; Rico lost his stump for 2 runs when he was bowled by Asif Ally. At this point the game had shift in favor of Hustlers and Assassins last big hope step to the crease Frankie Baichu, Baichu hit Asif Ally straight to Popie Singh at deep mid off and he was gone for a duck.
Navin Narine needed to stay with Moonsammy who was hitting the ball with authority but this didn’t happen as Narine was bowled by Javid for 1 run. Moonsammy need to keep the strike, and with Ganesh Chattergoon the last pair at the crease he tried desperately to do this and after adding 5 runs Chattergoon was run out for the third duck of the Assassins innings. Monnsammy was left not out on 25, Assassins closed their innings on 143 all out in the twenty fifth over, and before the game start the overs were reduced because of a late start. Pooran Beria took 3 for 19, Asif Ally 2 for 4, Javid Ali 2 for 31 and Nigel Briglal 1 for 15.
Hustlers needed to score at a run rate of about 6 runs an over and with the clouds over head looking darker and would burst anytime the batsmen went about their task in an aggressive way while Assassins knew to stay in the game their bowlers must bowl well. The first 6 overs between Navin Narine and Ganesh Chattergoon did just this for their team as they only gave up 30 runs.
The Hustlers openers Asif Ally and Pooran Beria found the bowling very difficult to put away and their first boundary came in the sixth over. After a double bowling change was made the batsman knew they would have to take a chance against the new bowlers and it worked as the run rate picked up. Pooran Beria’s very eccentric style somewhat frustrated the fielders while Asif played solid cricket strokes. Both batsmen kept the score board moving while the bowlers had no success.
The fielding skipper looked puzzled by Pooran style and the field setting looked out of placed at times, Pooran was able to get the ball past Eon at a deep gully position a few times with his reserve sweep. He went to the well too many time and with the score on 69 in the eleventh over he gave Eon a simple catch at the same position and he was gone for 28 runs.
With the fall of Pooran’s wicket this brought the “Babulall” of softball cricket batsman Kris Sobhai to the crease, Kris looked very uncomfortable at the crease and played some very airy shots and was lucky that no one reached it or fell just short of the fielder. Asif and Kris kept the score moving with singles while the Assassins skipper felt that he needed wickets and brought on Raja.
Raja a slow blower and he made the crowd roar in disagreements Raja first ball was a long hop which Kris made sure clear the Baisley Park, the next ball was short and Kris made a swing and played well over it and loss his stump in the process, he was bowled for 12. Sudesh Persaud was the new batsman and he send the next ball to the boundary for 4, Raja over cost 12 valuable runs for Hustlers, while he was able to get the wicket of Kris. But the damage was done and Hustlers was able to maintain their run rate.
The fourteenth over was bowled by Frankie Baichu and he claimed that he slipped and fell and refused to leave the field, thus the game was unable to continue. The NYSCL was using the third umpire in the game and the three umpires met and try to get the game to continue but the Assassins captain refuses to play.
The NYSCL rules was used to determined a winner and since the team batting second had completed more than half their allotted over and was leading by 12 runs when the overs were compared, Hustlers was awarded a win. Asif Ally was left on 32 not out and Sudesh Persaud on 4. Bowling for Assassins Raja grabbed 1 for 12 and Amit 1 for 15.