Eastern American Cricket Association
On a delightful Sunday morning, NY Centurions loaded up the drinks and food, tables and chairs, scoreboard and iceboxes, balls and cricket kits into 5 cars and hit the Southern State Parkway for a 45 minutes drive to Hecksher State Park for their first game against host Victory C.C. in Division 2 of the Eastern American Cricket Association Power 40 limited overs competition.
Manager Raj Sewanan, captain Vijay Persaud and the rest of the players were still disappointed about not qualifying for Division1, but even with points lost from a rained out match against an opponent they were heavily favored to beat, NY Centurions could not finish off a few games where they had the upper hand, so they could only blame themselves.
Consoling themselves with the fact that they were the top ranked team in their division, NY Centurions decided go out and enjoy their cricket while maintaining their ranking all the way to the finals.
Arriving at Hecksher, the players were shocked to see a giant stage erected on top of the pitch they were scheduled to play on while games had started on the 2 adjoining pitches. Fortunately after some phone calls and discussions it seemed that the game would commence on one of the other pitches once the game in progress had finished. With about an hour and half to go, NY Centurions utilized the time to do some catching practice, stretches and enjoyed an early lunch of grandma’s famous homemade cook-up.
A little after 2 pm, skipper Vijay won the toss and, having been advised by the players to bat first, announced his decision to do so, with a maximum of 28 overs to bat. Victory C.C were probably not expecting what came next, as NY Centurions tore into their bowling attack with intent. Raj Sewanan and Trevor Singh (former USA U-19) opened the batting and put on 99 runs in 12 overs before Raj was caught on the extra cover boundary in of Garrdi for 23 with 4 fours.
Kevin Jairam, in good form with a half century in his last match, joined Singh who brought up his maiden 50 for NY Centurions. Singh, looking to increase the already healthy run rate, went soon after for a well played 66, with 9 fours and a six, to Garrdi as well.
Shazam Ramjohn, the brilliant all-rounder with 6 magnificent catches in the last few games and a string of good scores with 2 half centuries, one of them in the upset victory over Big Apple Cricket Club, strode out to the pitch but perished early off the same bowler who now had 3 wickets in only his third over.
Garrdi and the rest of the Victory players were very vocal on the field now, sensing that they might be able to restrict NY Centurions to a score they could chase down.
In walked Troy Dudnath to the crease. Troy was struggling to find form in his last few matches and was due for some runs. It was obvious that today would be his day as he proceeded to make a statement from the first ball he faced, which he drove viciously straight down the ground for 4.
Kevin and Troy worked the ball around for a few overs and as they started to get their eye in, they unleashed some savage strokes all around the ground. Kevin was not afraid to take on the fielders at long off, hitting the ball well over their heads and bringing up a successive half century with a huge six.
It was Troy however, who hit some of the biggest sixes seen at Hecksher Park, one of which went over the top of the tree line and about 15 meters inside, with another endangering the cars parked about 100 meters from the pitch. He brought up a well deserved century and first for NY Centurions this year in the 28th over, batting for some 15 overs. At the end of the innings, both batsmen were not out, Kevin Jairam on 60 with 6 fours and 4 sixes, and Troy Dudnath on 104 with 10 fours and 6 sixes. NY Centurions had amassed a huge total of 281.
Victory C.C. were likely entertaining thoughts of overhauling the 281, with the mindset being” if they can get it, we can get it too”. This was soon dashed as Troy Dudnath opened with the new ball and Victory were not prepared to deal with his pace and bounce and even though he was holding back a little, the reduction in speed meant he was more accurate.
It was the skipper, Vijay Persaud, however, with a number of wickets in his bag already this season, who struck first to remove the aggressive looking Harleen and then had Sumish caught behind with the very next ball. After that, Troy continued to trouble the batsmen, eventually removing the Misbah-like Navjot by the caught and bowled route, and then bowling Darshan with the next ball. Vijay added another wicket in his 5 over courtesy another excellent catch by Shazam Ramjohn pedaling backwards at point, and ended with 3 for 22 from his spell. Troy added two more 2 wickets hitting the stumps out of the ground on both occasions and ended with 4 for 21 from his 6 overs.
Even though Kabir came in and played a little cameo of 20, the writing was well and truly on the wall for Victory, with the fat lady having finished singing and taking a drink with NY Centurions camp. Kevin Jairam, left hand medium pace tightened up in his second over and bowled the last 2 batsmen with consecutive balls to end the innings on 60 and giving NY Centurions victory by 221 runs.
After the game, some of the spectators came over to congratulate the NY Centurions players and overheard (Deo) Raj Sewanan, Troy Dudnath and Shazam Ramjohn chatting away in a strange language. Upon asking it was then revealed to them that these three players were actually cricketers from Suriname, having all played for and captained Suriname at various times in ICC Americas tournaments and also in ICC Pepsi World Cricket League tournaments, playing in countries all across the world. Raj Sewanan, who has settled in New York, teamed up with Vijay Persaud, Chris Raghunath, and a few others to form NY Centurions, which is now in its second year. Through his “Dutch Connections”, Shazam Ramjohn and Troy Dudnath were able to join NY Centurions this year for the first time. Conversation further revealed that Chris also had some Suriname connections of his own, so the NY Centurions’ Dutch connection is well and truly established.
NY Centurions, the top ranked team in their division has set their eyes on the championship trophy and will be contacting the Eastern American Association regarding the dimensions of the trophy so as to custom order the cabinet.
Good luck to all teams!