EACA Power-40 Tournament
Self-described as the best inning of his career, Francis Mendonca, under immense pressure, put on a show in calculated run chasing for those present at the Baisley Cricket Cage last Sunday.

Francis Mendonca dominated the chase with an unbeaten 86.

Mendonca’s Liberty Sports Club had a last gasp at making it into the EACA ‘Big 4’ playoffs but the undefeated Big Apple Cricket Club (BACC) stood in their way. The result was a chanceless, unbeaten 86 by the stylish right hander to headline a chase of 159. This along with Terrence Madramootoo’s 4 for 16 off 8 overs lead #TheBlueNation to a 4 wicket victory, securing them the last Big 4 spot.

The task was clear. LSC was ahead of the likely contenders for the final Big 4 spot in net run rate. A win was needed to maintain point standings and keep the team in contention with NRR. That win had to come against the best team in the league, however.  BACC, with a formidable roster, were previously undefeated in their 12 games.

LSC on the other hand seemed to have lost the wind in their sail going into the final game of the regular season. Having finished on top of their zone the boys in blue only managed a lone victory in the division stage of the tournament. The slump hit rock bottom when Richmond Hill Cricket Club humbled them to 72 all out the previous week and continued on to win the game by 8 wickets.

Altaaf Habibulla, taking over new ball duties, gave #TheBlueNation the start they were looking for. Donwell Hector got a leading edge off the first ball of the match to Leon Mohabir at mid-on. Soon after Madramootoo had Brandon Dat stumped by Mendonca at the other end to leave BACC at 18 for 2 in the 4th over.

The dangerous BACC skipper, Zaheer Saffie, arrived at the crease and immediately got to business. Saffie knocked off 4 in Habibulla’s 1st over then 14 off his 2nd and another 7 off his 3rd to race to 25.  Madramootoo meanwhile, kept things quiet and five dot balls into his 3rd over to Saffie was followed by the wicket that LSC was searching for. Madramootoo slipped one through bat pad and clipped the off stump of the BACC skipper leaving the score on 25 for 3.

Wickets tumbled at regular interval. Up and coming spinner, Javed Shakoor, struck in his first 2 overs to send back Travis Ross (11) and Amarnauth Persaud (18), both caught behind by Mendonca. Trinson Carmichael removed Rocky Kowchai for 1 before Leon Mohabir had Troy Dudnauth stumped by Mendonca for 15.

Terrence Madramootoo lead the Liberty Sports Club bowling with 4 for 17.

Adam Stanford struck two fours and two sixes in his inning high 31 before he departed while Shiv Ragubar struck 2 sixes in his 24 before being the last man out to Shakoor when the score was 158.

Bowling for LSC; Madramootoo picked up 4 for 16 off 8 overs, Shakoor 3 for 35 off 7.2 overs, Carmichael 1 for 17 off 8 overs, Habibulla 6 overs 1 for 33, Mohabir 1 for 35 off 6 overs & Andy Harricharran none for 12. Wicket keeper, Mendonca, finished with 5 dismissals with the gloves.

The GMA Enterprise sponsored, LSC, began the chase watchfully posting just 24 without loss in the first 9 overs. Wickets fell quickly thereafter, though. Bose Persaud (8) ran himself out after hitting a boundary off Kowchai, Dilly Khillawan (14) and Carmichael (3) got out to mistimed shots. Habibulla only managed an edge while Terrence Madramootoo popped up a return catch to Sanford. This left the chase reeling at 53 for 5 in the 13th over having lost 5 for 29 in over a span of four overs.

Mendonca, coming in at number 5 had already begun to lay the foundation to his inning. His first five scoring shots consisted of three fours and one six. He found a partner in his captain Danesh Deonarain.  The pair consolidated to stop the procession of wickets and made it to the first water break at 75 for 5.  Upon resumption, Mendonca dominated the 66 runs 6th wicket partnership during which he brought up his half-century.

The ex-BACC player, Mendonca, was put under pressure by some of his former teammates but held his nerves to remain focused on the task at hand. Having struck six fours and two sixes, Mendonca reached the half ton mark with a pull shot for 3 into deep midwicket. Deonarain, who rotated the strike, struck two fours and one six before being stumped for 25 attempting to clear the boundary to bring an end to the partnership.

With 40 runs needed to get past the target, Mendonca switched into second gear. Four towering sixes and 2 fours came off the bat of the in-form right hander. Harricharan played the anchor role and ensure that no more wickets fell during the partnership. Mendonca fittingly finished off the chase with a single as the entire LSC camp burst into jubilant celebration.

Bowling for BACC Rocky Kowchai picked up 3 for 44 in 5.5 overs, Saffie 1 for 19 off 3 overs and Adam Sanford 1 for 42 off 8 overs with 2 maidens. Troy Dudnauth, Ragubar, Mark Gomes and Shailendra Shameer all bowled without picking up a wicket.

Though not officially confirmed yet by the league #TheBlueNation, in their 5th year after inception, is expected to qualify for their first ever EACA Power40 Big 4 berth. This follows the young side making it to the EACA T20 Blitz semi-final in 2013 for the first time also.

The 2014 Liberty Sports Club is sponsored by GMA Enterprise, located on 122nd St & Liberty Ave.  The please visit their website www.gmaenterprise.com to support our sponsor. Follow the progress of Liberty Sports Club and join #TheBlueNation via facebook (facebook.com/LibertyCricketClubb), Twitter (@LibertySportsC) & Instagram (@LibertySportsC)