American Cricket League
by Dyon Ravello,
Melbourne New York Alliance (MNYA) meet newcomers Punjab as the American League resumed after last weekends rains. At Baisley Pond, Queens, both teams seemed pumped for a keen contest. Punjab former Brooklyn champions in their last seasons of league play and MNYA 2011 American Champs the last champs to be crowned, met in moist conditions, as the clouds looked to clear after a some 10 days of torrential weather.
Following a romping win over MVP a fortnight earlier with MNYA piling 370 on the back of 170 from Troy Mars, as MYNA looked to continue in the same vein. However Punjab had other ideas as they looked to improve on their record with one win from their solitary match played previously. Mars called incorrectly on a day when most captain with rather have won the toss. Shoaib “Babar” Chaudhry inserted the visitors to take first strike. Babar’s decision proved a significant one as he employed left arm seamer Zafar Khan. Z. Khan was greeted with a flowing on drive through mid wicket as Steve Samuels look to get his side on the way. Khan struck with the very next delivery Samuels failed to get bat on a full delivery to be adjudged leg before wicket. Z. Khan buoyed by the early breakthrough, held on to a return catch from namesake Zafar Yusuf, as he stuck out his left arm to hold on to a clinically one-handed snatch. Melbourne NY Alliance as ominous as the grey clouds overhead at 7/2 after the first over.
Mars opened his account as he whipped Ghallani to the mid wicket boundary. At the other end Kristoff Narine
found his stride with an expansive delivery over cover to find the ropes. Narine’s bravado was short-lived as Zafar made timber music to scalp his third. Jameel Khan made it two for two on the namesake list as he was adjudge leg before. Zafar was not quite done as he trapped Rahimullah Shakoor in front to achieve his five wicket haul by the end of his third over. Mars continued to be a spectator for much of the proceeding at the non-strikers end, but he too met his fate, with Zafar at work again this time with a suspect leg before decision. As the famous football “soccer” commentator, Ally Mc Coist would say, “they are six down on their own ground,” a chill to the MNYA cause. Stephan Rampersaud looked solid first up, yet Zafar would again breach the gate to account for the first seven scalps.
Melbourne NY Alliance looked to use its get out of jail card as Ravello and S. Persaud looked to build a match saving partnership. The pair took 14 of first over from change bowler S. Ahmed, as they played Zafar with caution. The repair job was foiled as Ravello was stumped by Imran Mahzar off Rizwan Akram. For a moment if seemed that the Zafar show had ran its course, but he was never short of appetite on the day as the bails were made to do the jig, Carlos Bachu being number eight. S Roopnarine played his shots at number eleven as if the alarms had been silenced. Another attempt to stem the carnage only for a while, even as Zafar completed his quota at the drinks break. Waseem Akhtar completed the rout as Roopnarine was the last man out for a topscore of 24. Melbourne NY Alliance stuttering to a paltry 90 all out in 16 overs. Zafar Khan’s eight wicket grab setting the bar for the 2013 season.
Punjab were always in control as Abdul Hafeez thumped Bachu over long on for a maximum in the very first over. Bachu had a reprieve as Shabeer Ahmed skied a simple catch to Jameel Khan at cover. Adnan Khan looked nonchalant as he rotated the strike with the aggressive Hafeez. Persaud was employed with his left arm spin in the eleventh over, and he accounted for Hafeez, stumped by Samuels for 34. Adnan and Qasim worked the singles and pounced on any loose bowling on offer to complete a comprehensive eight wicket win, Adnan unbeaten on 34. An earlier wake up call for the Melbourne NY Alliance as Punjab seek to assert the standard.