By Sunesh Wazid
The Commonwealth Cricket League (CCL) 35 overs competition culminated with a scintillating final last Sunday at Ferry Point Park (Whitestone) where Albion Cricket Club pulled off a dramatic 9 run victory over Striker Cricket Club. Albion reached a competitive 170 all out off 34.1 overs after being sent in to bat, then restricted Striker – with tight bowling and aggressive fielding – to 161 for 8 off 35 overs.

The victorious Albion cricket club.

These two teams possessed the best regular season records in the Premier Division – and earned a place in the final by winning their quarter-final and semi-final match-ups – so it was fitting that they meet in the league’s most important game of the year. In addition, Striker gave Albion their only loss during an 11 game regular season, so revenge was definitely on the minds of the Albion players.

After Albion’s captain, Tariq Aziz, called incorrectly at the toss, Sarfraz Samad and Allon Harmacoond strolled to the crease in breezy conditions. The opening bowlers for Striker, Mohammed Irfan and Asad Ali, utilized the favorable conditions by moving the ball around and consistently troubled the Albion openers. However, Samad and Harmacoond weathered the storm and put on 41 off 9 overs before a miscommunication led to Samad being run out by Mohammed Nadir for 13. The prolific Sudesh Dhaniram, a man who needs little introduction around the New York cricketing circle, joined Harmacoond and they carried the score to 67 before the latter played an ugly swipe on the run and was stumped off leg spinner Sarmad Khan for 32. Harmacoond finished the season on a career best 532 runs at an average of 40.9 with four 50’s.

Runners-up Striker.

At the mandatory water break, Albion was poised for a decent total at 83 for 2 after 20 overs with Dhaniram – who was batting judiciously on a pitch with variable bounce – and Sunesh Wazid at the crease. After the interval, these two picked up singles and doubles, along with the odd boundary, in a steady partnership that yielded 42 runs. A clever bowling change – the introduction of medium pacer Nadir – by the Striker captain, Khan, broke the stand and stemmed the Albion run flow. Nadir induced an aerial drive from Dhaniram to long off where Mohammed Habib took a splendid catch on the run. Dhaniram was gone for an invaluable 41, which included three boundaries. The inning brought Dhaniram’s run total for the season to 568 at an impressive average of 47.3, including two centuries and three 50’s.

At the fall of Dhaniram’s wicket, the elegant all-rounder Nyeem Baksh, who had scored 431 runs at about 40 per match and taken close to 30 wickets, made his way to crease to join Wazid at 109 for 3 off 25 overs. However, in an attempt to accelerate the scoring rate, Wazid holed-out to Ijaz Ahmed off spinner Ritesh Patel for 21 and Baksh needlessly ran himself out for 6. These three dismissals triggered a sudden batting collapse as the last 5 Albion wickets fell for just 49 runs. It was only the second time Albion got bowled out for the 2010 season and all the batsmen fell in order based on their batting position.

Sudesh Dhaniram (right) collects the MVP award.

For Strikers, the death bowlers were particularly remarkable as Nadir took 3 for 34 off 6.1 over and Patel got 3 for 18 from his 4 overs. Nadir was also electric in the field as he effected three run outs and saved precious boundaries.

With Albion falling way short of their projected target and the formidable batting line up of Striker that consistently posted scores in excess of 200 through out the season, the chase promised to enthrall the small but vocal crowd on hand. Shabaz Ahmed – who was in prolific form with over a 1000 runs to his name, including five centuries – and Imran Afzal stepped briskly to the middle and approached the target circumspectly. The Albion captain reached into his bag of tricks and countered with spin from one end and medium pace from the other. The move didn’t pay immediate dividends but kept pressure on the batsmen.

It was the introduction of Albion’s leading wicket-taker, Baksh, that accounted for the initial breakthrough as he bowled Afzal for 10. Baksh struck gold in the 12th over when he removed the dangerous Ahmed, who missed a wild slog and was adjudged L.B.W. for 22. At the break, Striker crawled to 69 for 3 and had plenty to contemplate. They reached 73 for 4 when Nadir was brilliantly stumped by Samad off part-time leg spinner Thakurdeen Dhanraj, who had accounted for the previous wicket as well. Dhanraj bowled with unerring accuracy and guile to snare 3 for 28 off his allotted 7 overs.

At 95 for 5, Khan, who had settled in after coming in at number 4, was accompanied by the hard-hitting Mohammed Habib and the two put on 55 in about 6 overs. The two batsmen threatened to take the game away from Albion.

Commonwealth Cricket League president Lesley Lowe presents Albion captain Tariq Azeez with a team prize.

At 95 for 5, Khan, who had settled in after coming in at number 4, was accompanied by the hard-hitting Habib and the two put on 55 in about 6 overs. The two batsmen threatened to take the game away from Albion. But captain Aziz re-introduced himself in the 33rd over with 30 runs needed and removed Khan, who as well-caught on the point boundary by Baksh for a fighting 60. Habib swung as hard as he could in an unbeaten knock of 31 but couldn’t get his team home as Tavendra Pooran and Dhaniram bowled two quality overs to finish the game.

Dhaniram was adjudged Man of the Match for his fine all-round performance, which included scoring a prized 41 and taking 1 for 23 off his 7 overs. Both teams received prizes before the match from CCL president, Lesly Lowe, who wished the players best of luck.

Scorecard

Innings of: Albion
Batsman How Out Bowler Score 4′s 6′s
Sarfraz Samad Run Out (M. Nadir) 13 1 0
Allon Harmacoond Stumped (wkpr. I. Afzal) S. Khan 32 3 0
Sudesh Dhaniram Caught (M. Habib) M. Nadir 41 3 0
Sunesh Wazid Caught (I. Ahmed) R. Patel 21 0 0
Nyeem Baksh Run Out (M. Nadir) 6 0 0
Tameshwar Sewak Caught (M. Habib) R. Patel 5 0 0
Thakurdeen Dhanraj Stumped (wkpr. I. Afzal) R. Patel 11 0 0
Tavendra Pooran Bowled M. Nadir 4 0 0
David Pierre Run Out (A. Ali/M. Nadir) 12 0 0
Tariq Aziz Caught (M. Habib) M. Nadir 11 0 1
Cyril Choi Not Out 2 0 0
Batsman Total: 158
Extras: {No Balls (0), Wides (6), Leg Byes (2), Byes (4)} 12
Grand Total for 10 Wkts off 34.1 Overs 170
FoW: 1-41 (Samad), 2-67 (Harmacoond), 3-109 (Dhaniram), 4-116 (Wazid), 5-121 (Baksh),

6-126 (Sewak), 7-136 (Dhanraj), 8-150 (Pooran), 9-158 (Pierre), 10-170 (Aziz)

Bowling Analysis: Striker
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wkts
Mohammed Irfan 7 1 26 0
Asad Ali 6 0 30 0
Shabaz Ahmed 5 0 21 0
Sarmad Khan 6 0 33 1
Mohammed Nadir 6.1 0 34 3
Ritesh Patel 4 0 18 3
Innings of: Striker
Batsman How Out Bowler Score 4′s 6′s
Shabaz Ahmed L.B.W. N. Baksh 22 2 0
Imran Afzal Bowled N. Baksh 10 1 0
Ijaz Ahmed Bowled T. Dhanraj 15 1 0
Sarmad Khan Caught (N. Baksh) T. Aziz 60 3 0
Mohammed Nadir Stumped (S. Samad) T. Dhanraj 8 1 0
Mohsin Riaz Caught (T. Aziz) T. Dhanraj 7 0 0
Mohammed Habib Not Out 31 1 1
Ritesh Patel Run Out (S. Samad) 0 0 0
Nainesh Patel Bowled S. Dhaniram 1 0 0
Asad Ali Not Out 1 0 0
Mohammed Irfan DNB
Batsman Total: 155
Extras: {No Balls (0), Wides (4), Byes (0), Leg Byes (2)} 6
Grand Total for 8 Wkt off 35 Overs 161
FoW: 1-29 (Imran), 2-43 (S. Ahmed), 3-53 (I. Ahmed), 4-73 (Nadir), 5-95 (Riaz), 6-150 (Khan),

7-156 (R. Patel), 8-160 (N. Patel)

Bowling Analysis: Albion
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wkts
David Pierre 3 0 14 0
Tavendra Pooran 7 0 30 0
Sudesh Dhaniram 7 1 23 1
Nyeem Baksh 7 0 35 2
Thakurdeen Dhanraj 7 1 28 3
Tariq Aziz 4 0 29 1
 

10 Comments

  1. Raheem says:

    It seems like some of the negative comments are coming from people who were defeated by Albion. I guess defeat can bring about bitterness. It’s very hard to play competitive cricket every week, however, playing against Albion is always competitive and no doubt the league needs more team like them. When we played Albion, not only it was competitive (we ended up losing) but the professionalism by these guys are outstanding, they have an experience unit and respect the game and that’s all you can ask for. I hope team can learn from them.

  2. Mr.Experience says:

    Fun and a good time, depends in what sense? I had fun because i know how to have fun, Commonwealth had nothing to do with it.
    How can you be so sure that any other league is not FUN?
    There is no competition in commonwealth, Even if there is? Mr. management screws it up messing up the in the playoffs. Playoffs must be competitive.
    Yes, i played more than 14 games but only 5 of them were competitive. I play for one of the top teams in commonwealth. BELIEVE ME if my team stays here we will still be one of the best 4-5 teams. But i wanna play for a league which is under good management.
    I don’t go on the field to meet old friends. I go to play competitive cricket. My team mates are my friends, and we don’t joke on the field.
    I know you have to many teams but that is the reason why management does not have interest in the games. They are too busy counting the money.
    Also what you have mentioned above is evident that Commonwealth league is not about competitive cricket, It is all a JOKE.
    Why don’t you answer my questions now?
    Do you think commonwealth league has good pitches and grounds?
    What about the umpiring standards?
    Do you get 2 umpires every game?
    Are you playing cricket to see friends?

  3. V. Mackie says:

    Albion is a fun team and commonwealth is a good league it’s just cricket an we are playin for fun a friendship you you guy want play for house an land then go to some other league we dont no you here we have too much team.

    So Mr. Exp
    Answer this questions
    When you play cricket this year did have fun an an good time?

    Did you play more then 14 Games?

    Did you meet any old or New friends?………..

  4. cricket league says:

    New York Cricket League will be up and running 2011.

  5. Mr. Experienced says:

    I play for commonwealth. This league has great teams, NO DOUBT. But the league management is the worst. Extremely unprofessional, NO ONE KNOWS WHO they are paying in playoffs. Playoffs should be the most interesting part of any league. But Mr. management of this league does not care and wants make everyone happy, so the teams can come back for the year’s league. In the end everyone is a winner. This is absolutely ridiculous, i have already spoken to a 3 teams including mine. We are going to try some other league next year.
    Can someone answer the following questions please:
    How much are the league fees?
    How much are the empire fees?
    Do you go guys have to arrange for mating in your league?
    Please name your league and answer the following questions.
    Thank you.

  6. FAIR CRICKET says:

    NOBODY KNOWS THAT ALBION WAS PLAYING WITH THIRTEEN PLAYERS WITH TWO EMPIRES AS WELL.

  7. mr cricket says:

    albion is joke team that’s why them leave nassau league cuz them can not win a game there. if we team go to commonwealth league no team cant beat me.

  8. hasib says:

    Why not set up a match between the best team in the Eastern American League(Everest/ACS)and the best team in the Commonwealth League(Albion)? It would be a blockbuster!!

  9. Ricky says:

    Congrats to both teams, because this match could have gone either way. I think the changing point was when Sarfraz stumped Nadir.

    Hats off to the boys from Albion. It good to see players such as Dhaniram and Nyeem Baksh still contributing to the game of cricket.