By Sam Sooppersaud | Scorecard
The Everest/ACS Cricket Organization won their fifteenth (combined) Cricket Championship due to the superb performance of their power-hitter Amjad Khan, who bruised, battered, and bludgeoned the Richmond Hill Cricket Club bowlers to score the fastest century in a Twenty/20 game in the New York metropolitan area (and probably in the USA), when the two clubs met in the Eastern American Cricket Association’s (EACA) T20 Blitz Finals at The Cage in Queens, NY on Sunday, September 30, 2012.
With Richmond Hill batting first, a lot was expected of the Sankar and Sadloo brothers, among others, although many thought the teams were evenly balanced. However, Richmond Hill could only post 144 for 9 in their 20 overs, an asking rate of 7.20 runs per over. That’s not where this story begins, it is where it ends, and that makes for an exciting match report on the 2012 T20 Blitz at The Cage.
In response to Richmond Hill’s 144, and with Everest/ACS in pursuit of yet another championship title, white missiles were bouncing off the bat of Amjad Khan, Everest/ACS’ opener, to all parts of the cricket field and over the high 18-foot chain link fence that encloses the cricket park, more familiarly known as “The Cage.”
Watching T20 cricket at The Cage on this day was potentially hazardous for cricket fans. A group of fans, including myself, were sitting outside the ropes on the mid-wicket boundary, while a Richmond Hill fielder Wahid Ward, was in front of us, supposedly guarding that position, when Amjad Khan “cut loose” a wicked pull shot off a short ball from Zaheer Sadloo, which flew towards Ward. The fieldsman moved to his left with his hands in catching position only to see the ball curve away to his right at shoulder-height and slam into the ground between myself and my cricket-watching buddy Richard Jogie. I was able to veer to my left and avoided being hit by the ball, “in the nick of time.” Luckily, no one was hurt. This prompted Mike Sewdial, dad of Everest/ACS’ Greg Sewdial, to remark, “It looks like we will have to put on helmets to watch this game.”
Amjad was outscoring his various partners at the wicket by leaps and bounds. In the first 50 runs scored by Everest/ACS, Amjad scored 43 of those. At one stage of the innings commentator Carl Bennett remarked that “Amjad Khan has scored 87% of the runs so far.” His first 50 came up off 33 balls. He was on 48 runs when he skied a ball to the deep mid-wicket fence, with a fielder settling under it, but failing to hold on to the chance. The ball rolled over the ropes giving Amjad his first half-century.
Richmond Hill was made to pay heavily for that lapse. Amjad let loose a barrage of shots which the fieldsman could only watch as the ball careened to the boundary or flew over the fence. In one over bowled by M. Seeram the “missile launcher” hit 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, the same over in which the batsman was given a life. Had the chance been taken who knows what the results might have been because at that stage the game was hanging in a poised position with 68 runs required for victory in 68 balls…talk about “catches winning matches!”
So far I have only written about the exploits of one player, Amjad Khan. My friend Jogie said to me, “Sam, Amjad is a one-man wrecking crew.” That, he certainly was. The other four batsmen who partnered him were just the “supporting cast” members, to use a Hollywood term. Amjad reached his first 2012 season T20 century in 56 balls. He was caught for 108 runs which include 9-4′s and 7-6′s, indeed, a nightmare for the Richmond Hill bowlers.
By now I am sure you, the readers, got the message that Amjad Khan was the star of the (show) game. So let me move on to the other cast members. There were others whose efforts deserve some accolades and I would give these to them. The Richmond Hill opening batsmen, W. Ward (40 runs in 38 balls) and Debo Sankar (25 runs in 27 balls) gave their team an excellent start, in a 71 run first-wicket partnership. At the 10th over mark Richmond Hill were scoring at the rate of seven runs per over and with nine wickets in hand, a score of over 150 runs was projected. Once Ward and Sankar departed wickets fell like bowling pins. Only the Sadloo brothers, Zaheer (28 runs in 18 balls) and Shameer (25 runs in 13 balls) offered any resistance. Five other batsmen fell for an aggregate score of 18 runs.
The Richmond Hill supporters felt that their team had not taken advantage of an excellent platform laid by their openers, and had thus squandered away the opportunity to score a challenging total. The Veteran Zamin Amin could be “blamed” for the destruction of the Richmond Hill batting lineup. He took four wickets for 32 runs in his four overs. Skipper Karan Ganesh helped his team’s cause by ending up with figures of 2 for 16 in 4 overs, while the hero of the Everest/ACS vs. Meten-Meer-Zorg Semi-Finals, Terry Hastoo continued his good showing with 2 for 15 in 2 overs.
Needing 145 runs for victory Everest/ACS called upon Steve Nowrangilall and Amjad Khan, a regular middle-order batsman, to commence the run chase. They lost Nowrangilall (2 runs) in the 5th over with the score on 33. Tamesh Balwant went in the same over without bothering the scorers. Richmond Hill was in the driver’s seat then with two wickets down for 34 runs, and 5 overs having been bowled. But the destructive Amjad Khan was “at work” and saw to it that the “job was done”. When Amjad departed Everest/ACS needed 14 runs from 27 balls. Captain of Everest/ACS Karan Ganesh (22 runs not out off of 24 balls) and Zamin Amin (7 not out off 6 balls) saw their team home at 145 for 3 in 15.3 overs.
Richmond Hill used seven bowlers in all. Zaheer Sadloo was the most successful of them with figures of 2 for 17 in 4 overs. Skipper R. Bactowar claimed one for 31 in 4 overs.
It was the largest crowd this season that showed up at The Cage to watch a game. The supporters for each team were about evenly divided. They were entertained, regardless of which team they were supporting. This was the last game in the EACA 2012 cricket season. Everyone had a grand time.
See you at The Cage in 2013.