By Sam Sooppersaud
The publicity posters and stickers distributed at Spring Creek Cricket Park in Brooklyn on Saturday, June 25, 2011 read:  BEST IN THE CITY.

Queens player Randall Wilson was named Most Valuable Player.

At least, for the cricket fans at the park, the Mayor’s Cup All-Star Tournament was the best event being staged in New York City on this Saturday. Displaying their cricketing skills were our youthful home grown future cricket stars, representing the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan/Bronx combined. Three very exciting Twenty/20 cricket matches were enjoyed by the more that 300 fans that turned out to witness the Inaugural Mayor’s Cup Tournament. So exciting and closely contested were the games that the ultimate championship was decided by a percentage of a run.

In the first game which started at 10:30 A.M. Brooklyn II outplayed Brooklyn l by first restricting them to 93 runs all out then getting the required 94 runs for victory without loosing a wicket, and this, in the 9th over. No Brooklyn l batsman reached double figures. Opening the batting for Brooklyn II, Abrar Zafar was 53 Not Out while his partner, the exciting Zahib Tariq scored a more sedate 18 Not Out.

The second game of the day was played between Queens and Manhattan/Bronx Combined Xl. This game started about 2:00 P.M.  Combined Xl won the coin toss and asked Queens to take first strike. The opening batsmen, Skipper Tahseenul Khan and the hard-hitting Troy Mars gave their team  an excellent start racking up 58 runs before the fall of a wicket (Mars for 24) in the 5th over. Two overs later Queens lost another wicket (Khan for 24). From 68 for 2 in the 7th over Queens collapsed to 79 for 6 wickets. A 7th wicket partnership between Inzaman Khan (20) and Wyne Khan (20) avoided any further collapse. The Queens innings closed at 147 runs for 9 wickets. The 20 extras gave up by Manhattan/Bronx Combined Xl were surely welcomed by the Queens boys. Bowling for Combined Asfaque Chowdhury and Banaras Sohail claimed 3 wickets each for 37 and 23 runs respectively.

The stage was now set for Brooklyn II to do battle with Queens for the top prize, the Mayor’s Cup Trophy. The crowd which had swelled to nearly 350 fans waited in suspenseful anticipation. It is getting late, when the final would begin! It was now after 5:00 P.M.! The game finally got underway at 5:30 P.M., the foregone conclusion being that bad light would play a role in the final outcome. And it did.

Brooklyn II won the toss and took first knock. Abrar Zafar and Zahib Tariq attacked the Queens bowlers immediately. Tariq’s first scoring shot was a maximum away in the marshes over midwicket. He hit two more 6’s in his innings of 24 runs made in 18 balls. Zafar started his innings more patiently milking singles and an occasional double. He hit two boundaries in his 26 runs made in 29 balls.

Inzamam Ul Khan was named the Best Bowler. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Brooklyn II  lost their first wicket in the seventh over and with the score on 46 runs. Wickets tumbled in succession and they were in trouble by the 12th over with 66 runs on the board and five of their top batsmen sent to the showers. Buoyed by their successes in getting some quick wickets, the Queens boys found renewed vigor.

Then Bilal Ahmed stepped up the batting tempo. He decided to have a go at the bowlers, and that he did with a vengeance. In one over he hit the Queens skipper, bowling his left arm spin, for three successive 6’s. From 79 runs in the 14th over Brooklyn II were comfortably poised on 125 runs in the 18th over, 46 runs scored in 4 overs. Ahmed was finally caught going for yet another maximum. He scored an exciting 46 runs. The Brooklyn II innings closed at 133 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.
Bowling for Queens Inzaman Khan (2 for eight) and Amit Seenarine (2 for 16) were the more successful bowlers. There were 3 Run Outs.

Queens commenced their run chase with 12 runs coming off the bat of Troy Mars in the first 3 deliveries of the innings. He was then run out having failed to make his ground after having been hit in the ribs by a short pitched ball. Then walked to the wicket, Amar Persaud, USACA National Under 19 batting star. He pummeled the bowling scoring 24 runs in 13 balls before giving a simple catch to mid off. Tahseenul Khan joined in the fray and after seven overs Queens was advantageously placed at 62 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. Khan (22) lost his wicket and from there on the Queens batsmen self-destruct. By this time, predictably, the light began to fade. Four more wickets fell for an addition of only 10 runs. At 93 for 7 in the 13th over Queens was in dire need of some damage control. This was not forth coming as they had already lost their top batsmen. By the time the game was called in the 18th over the batsmen could hardly see the ball in the bad light. For Brooklyn II Osama Iqbal claimed 2 for 17 and Zahid Tariq 2 for 15. Three Queens batsmen were run out.

The game ended with Queens having scored 108 runs in 18 overs, an average run rate of 6 runs per over. Brooklyn II having scored 133 runs in their 20 overs at an average run rate of 6.6 runs per over, were declared the winner and the champions of the Inaugural Mayor’s Cup All-Stars Tournament.

Congratulation to the Borough of Brooklyn and the players and coaches, Lall Saitram and Nigel Fisher.

At a presentation ceremony following the game various players were recognized for outstanding performances in the games.

Best Bowler
Inzaman Ul Khan (Queens)

Best Batsman
Bilal Ahmed (B’klyn II)

Most Valuable Player
Randall Wilson (Queens)

Coach Fisher gleefully and with pride accepted the 2011 Mayor’s Cup Trophy on behalf of his players. Runner-Up medals were awarded the Queens players and coaches, Sam Sooppersaud and Dharamveer Gehlaut.

Kudos goes out to the people at PSAL for their planning and execution of this very successful tournament. Hats off to Donald Douglas, Ms. Lorna Austin, Commissioner Bassett Thompson, Assistant Commissioner Ricky Kissoon, and the entire staff at PSAL that had a hand in putting PSAL cricket on the map. Of course I would be remiss if I do not mention the hard work put in by the people in the Mayor’s Office, Jeff Mohl, Evan Ely, and the their staff. Cricket lovers and fans thank all those who have helped to bring this wonderful game in the New York City schools. We are seeing some exciting young talents in the various cricket parks, and PSAL has contributed immensely to this revival of cricket among the youngsters.