By Orin Davidson | Semi-Final Gallery | Final Gallery
Metropolitan League backed up its strength on paper with two powerful performances on the field Sunday to run away with championship honors in the New York MAQT20 tournament which ended at 223rd Street Idlewild Park in Queens.
So rich in talent, Metropolitan which most pundits thought too good to be real, disposed of Commonwealth League in the final by a sizable margin in an unbeaten performance over two days in the eight team competition.
It was after they brushed aside New York League earlier in the day in the semi-finals at 80th Street Canarsie. At around the same time Commonwealth League staged an astounding comeback to eliminate Brooklyn League in the other semi-final.
Ironically it was two discards from the United States national team who stole the show and engineered Metropolitan’s finals victory in an action packed day.
Barrington Bartley who was surprisingly dropped this year from the U.S. national team and former captain Richard Staples rolled back the years with two virtuoso performances that stopped a rampant Commonwealth League in its tracks, before a 4th of July holiday gathering of fans.
Batting first Metropolitan League rattled up 188 runs for eight wickets in their allotted 20 overs and then limited Commonwealth to 149-9, when their overs expired to take away the Maq T20 trophy and a $2,500 first place cash prize.
Bartley hammed a hurricane 76, batting at number three which included eight fours and seven sixes to lead an onslaught Commonwealth League failed to match. Staples entered the fray at number seven and went on to batter the attack for 46 runs not out, and such was his power he hit six boundaries all of which were sixes.
Three of Staples ‘ sixes were struck in the final over which went for 23 runs as Commonwealth labored with an attack missing key spinners Vejai Seonarine and Sudesh Dhaniram.
Ali Zar was the pick of that bowling attack, grabbing two wickets for 22 runs while Shameer Khan had 2-34.
Metropolitan then tamed Commonwealth’s batting lineup mainly through the efforts of Bartley who bagged 2-27 with his left arm orthodox spin which helped earn him the Man of the match award. Staples then cleaned up the lower order by firing out three batsmen with his off spin to record a rare hat-trick.
Dennison Thomas, the ex Windward Islands allrounder weathered an initial counter attack led by Commonwealth’s Asif Mohamed to bag 2-34. Thomas who opened the bowling, cleverly used the slower ball to serious effect and at one stage he could’ve been mistaken for an off spinner with a fast bowler’s run up. One notable scalp was danger man Wahab Munir who had destroyed Brooklyn’s attack in the semi-finals, but was comprehensively beaten and bowed by the wily veteran Thomas for nought.
Jason Greaves supported with 2-32 and had the prized scalp of Mohamed who slammed 39 that included five sixes and two fours enroute to Commonwealth’s topscore. Shaeed Shajad added 33 while Shameer Khan contributed 28 and Hunain Munir 26.
Commonwealth was given a rousing start by Mohamed and Shajad and at one stage were 77-2 off seven overs. But Metropolitan’s spinners intervened by hijacking the middle order with clever variations.
The said Commonwealth batting lineup had earlier set the ground ablaze as they recovered from 66-6 to blast Brooklyn out of the competition with a murderous assault. Wahab Munir, better known for his fast bowling led the carnage with an electric 69 not out that was laced by 10 sixes.
Commonwealth eventually overcame a target of 203 that is usually unreachable in Twenty20 cricket, ending on 203-8 in 19.3 overs. Ahmad Mustapha supported with 44 while Shabazz Ahmed made 21 Hunain Munir 19.
Adam Stanford took 2-43 and K. Payne 2-41 for Brooklyn who had earlier raised the previously highest score of the competition of 202-6. Romero Dean led the runs spree with 56 that included five fours and four sixes. Stanford hit three fours and three sixes, chipping in with 38 and Orien Bostic had 27. Khan shone with the ball, taking 3-19.
Metropolitan had a less frenetic experience in defeating New York League by five wickets after cruising to 142-5 in 18 overs in reply to 140-6.
Thomas topscored with 30 not out while Desmond Bennett hit 26 not out. Dennis Evans chipped in with 28 and Akeem Dodson 24. G. Gooden and E. James took 2-21 and 2-34 respectively for New York whose topscorer was L. Serrias with 39. R. Peters added 25 undefeated and James made 24. N. Powell had 2-24 and Greaves 2-35 for Metropolitan. The series was sponsored by Sam’s Foods, T20 Energy Drink and Daibes Enterprise.
Metropolitan ‘s success gives them an opportunity to play for a $20,000 first prize in the U.S. Open in December in Florida, but the final decision rests with the New York Regional committee which also has a choice of fielding a Regional team.