By Darshan Chickery
In a ‘see saw’ battle, Ocean XI battled their way against Dynasty to win the West Indian Softball Association’s 2010 Independence Cup in a last ball thriller at Dr. Charles Drew Park last Sunday.

Khemraj Narine contributed 36 that included 7 fours. Photo by Shiek Mohamed.

An underdog before the tournament started, Ocean XI comfortably made their way to the finals. For Dynasty, it was a different road. They were listed as the overwhelming favorites and they played the part getting to the finals. They dispatched all their opponents except their semi finals’ one – WISA. They mysteriously lost to them in their final preliminary game.

The final got underway just after 3pm with Dynasty taking first strike with openers; Majid Khan and Ahmad Shazaman. Ocean XI countered with right arm leg spinner B. Mohan (Nash) and right hand fast bowler Latchman Mohan (Jr). Ocean XI got success immediately when Shazaman was out with the innings’ third delivery. The score was 1 for 1. That brought former National and West Indies Youth wicket keeper Gobind Narine to the crease. He and Khan added 27 runs before Khan was bowled by Jr. for 15 in the fourth over.

Vicky Subkaran joined Gobind. The two batted cautiously against Ocean XI’s tidy bowling attack until R. Munsammy struck twice in the 8th over. Vicky was the first to go for 5. He was followed by Imran Khan who was bowled with the very next delivery. To compound Dynasty’s problems, Prasana Malipal was out without scoring in the next over. Dynasty was in deep trouble at 46 for 5.

Khemraj Narine (Buns) joined his brother and repaired the damage with a 70 run 6th wicket partnership in only 7 overs. Buns’ contribution was 36 that contained 7 fours. The rock on the innings – Gobind continued to stroke the ball elegantly to all parts of the ground. He would bat through the innings for an unbeaten 87. His innings of class contained 10 fours. Dynasty managed to get to 184 for 9 in their allotted 25 overs. R. Munsammy was Ocean XI best bowler with 4 for 23.

With a required run rate of almost 7.5 runs an over to achieve their target, Ocean XI started slowly but batted steadily. They lost three early wickets at 26, 34 and 39 before A. Narsingh joined opener Y. Bhoj. They put on their own 70 run partnership of the game. Only this time, it was Ocean XI’s 4th wicket partnership. They did it in exactly 7 overs also. Did I said this was a ‘see saw’ battle? At 109 for 4 in the 17th over, it meant Ocean XI needed 74 runs in 8 overs with 6 wickets in hand.

They game was anybody’s at 149 for 5 at the end of the 20th over. Ocean XI had the inform M. Karan and Junior at the wicket. Vish Persaud and Vicky Subkaran had three of the remaining five overs to bowl. Vish bowled the 21st over for 5 runs and took the wicket of Junior. Vicky then bowled the 22nd over for four runs. That left Ocean XI at 158 for 6. It meant they needed 27 runs in the last three overs to win the game.

With boundaries scarce, Karran and B. Tulsie challenged Dynasty’s fielding with some impeccable running between the wickets. Tulsie was run out for 14 with four runs needed from three deliveries. Nash came to wicket to join Karran who took a single with the next delivery. With Nash on strike and Vicky bolwing, Dynasty seemed to have the upper-hand but that little glimmer of hope went by the wayside when Nash scored two runs on the innings’ penultimate delivery to tie the game. Pandemonium erupted in Ocean XI’s camp when Nash brought the game home with the game last delivery. Dynasty had lost another close game when it mattered most.

Dynasty vaulted bowling line-up was anything but. They never contained but never dominated the Ocean XI batting. Hence, all their six bowlers (Vish Persaud, Ricky Narine, Vikash Singh, Vicky Subkaran, Moe Khan and Gobind Narine) all took one wicket apiece. Ocean XI batting was lead by Y. Bhoj 52, A.Narsingh 27 and M. Karan 23 not out.