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By Sam Sooppersaud
On Sunday, September 23, 2012, at The Cage, both the Richmond Hill Cricket Club and Everets/ACS won their respective semi-final game in the Eastern American Cricket Association T20 Blitz, and by virtue of these wins would clash with each other in the Final to be played on Sunday, September 23rd at the same venue located at Foch Boulevard and Long Street, Jammaica, Queene, New York.
The semi-final games were played infront of a large crowd of boistrous cricket fans cheering their favorite team on. The day started with a one-sided affair in the first game, but ended with a tense and exciting finish in the second game. In the first game the powerful Atlantis Cricket Club squared off against a determined Richmond Hill Cricket club.
RHCC batted first and demoralized the Atlantis bowlers, to the tune of 187 for 7 in their 20 overs of batting. Opening batsman and all-rounder, W. Ward (40 runs) and Zaheer Sadloo (31 runs) came together in a second wicket partnership which yielded 41 runs. At the fall of Ward's wicket Sadloo and Imran Ali (62) broke the spirits of the Atlantis boys .with a blazing 91 runs partnership. Ali was at his punishing best blasting 6- 6's and 2-4's. They got together with the score on 62 for 2 in the 8th over and were not separated until the 17th over and with the score 153 for 3. All the Atlantis bowlers, except C. Davis and J. Greaves came in for some rough treatment. In all they used seven bowlers. The most successful was Greaves who grabbed 3 wickets for 23 in 3 overs. Davis was very economical, allowing only 15 runs in his 4 overs while claiming a sole wicket. Nick Stanford, 1 for 30 in 4 overs and Alex Amsterdam, 1 for 30 in 3 overs, were the other wicket takers.
In reply the Atlantis batsmen seemed lethargic against a tight RH bowling attack. They were especially at a loss as to hiw to cope with the slow medium of Derek McDonald and the slower stuff offered by Zaheer Sadloo. Atlantis was bundled out for 88 runs in just 14.2 overs. Their undoing was a series of bad shot selection or the lack of movement at the crease. Only opening batsman H. Blades seemed to have had any semblance as to how to counter the bowling. McDonald, 3 for 18 in 4 overs; Sadloo, 4 for 21 in 3.1 overs; W.Ward, 2 for 19 in 3 overs; and M. Seeram, 1 for 28 in 4 overs, accounted for the destruction of the Atlantis batting machine.
Throughout the season they were scoring over 250 runs almost every game. It is a wonder what went wrong this time!
In the second game of the double header semi-finals on this day, fans who may have felt that they were shortchanged in the first game were treated to suspense galore. MMZ took first strike. At the half way mark -10 overs- they were 77 for 4, a run rate of 7.7 runs per over. The Amin brothers, Saeed and Zamin were able to silence the bats of the aggressive,youthful MMZ batsmen. At the end of the 17th over they were at 119 for 6. At the 7 run per over rate it was projected that they would end up around the 140 run mark. But some lusty hitting in the latter stages, from S. Hussain and H. Ramdihall, and former USA Under-15 batsman, Trevis Ross, took them to a challenging 152 runs in their 20 overs. Helping their cause were, Amar Persaud, 26 runs; Trevis Ross, 18 runs; Saad Hussain, 25 runs; and H. Ramdihall, 25 runs.
Bowling honors were shared by Saeed Amin, 4 overs, 25 runs, 3 wickets; Zamin Amin, 4 overs, 23 runs, 2 wickets; and Terry Hastoo, 3 overs, 33 runs, 2 wickets. An MVP performance behind the stumps was put on by wicketkeeper Tamesh Balwant, who accounted for 5 victims: 1 caught, and 4 stumped.
The Everest/ACS batsmen collectively saw to it that they were always in the game. A . Merchant (26 runs), T. Balwant (22 runs), Gregory Sewdial (22 runs), and Zamin Amin (18 runs) made sure that the scoring rate was on target. In the first 10 overs they were exactly at the required scoring rate of 7.7 runs per over. With 17 overs completed Everest/ACS needed 28 runs for victory from 18 balls. The game was still anybody's to win. Entered Terry Hastoo into the picture!
Some lusty hitting at this stage tipped the pendelum steeply toward a definite winner- Everest/ACS. In publicizing the two semi-finals, EACA President, Rudy Persaud, had warned spectators to secure their vehicles . This is what he said:
"fans driving to the matches are advised to park at least two blocks away from The Cage, so as to avoid possible damage to their car windshields resulting from small red 5 1/2 ounce projectiles being launched from the blades of English willow".
Of course, white balls were used, not red. (White projectiles, Rudy, not red).
Everest/Acs Terry Hastoo was the launch master as he battered the offerings of Amar Persaud, in the 18th over, to grab the initiative completely in his side's favor. By the end of the 18th over the game was, for all intent and purpose, over. First ball; Persaud to Hastoo, a towering hit unto Long Street for 6. The next ball was launched over wide mid-on for another 6. The third; smacked into the upper portion of the high fence, for yet another 6. The Everest/ACS players and fans went berserk with excitement, jumping up and down and high fiving each other. With 12 balls remaining Everest/ACS needed 9 runs for victory. In the context of T20 cricket this is a virtual win. Skipper Karan Ganesh shouted to his batsmen in the middle, "singles would do it". Seven balls later the game was over. Everest/ACS had defeated the youthful MMZ and thus elevated themselves to the T20 Final against Richmond Hill Cricket club.
It is said that Twenty20 Cricket is a spectators' game. This format of the game is played for the suspense, excitement,
and enjoyment, of the cricket fans. Well, the fans were not disappointed watching MMZ and Everest/ACS encounter. The final will be played this Sunday, September 30, at THE CAGE, when Everest/ACS meet Richmond Hill Cricket Club in the EACA T20 Blitz Final.