Cricket Zone Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA) Power 40 Division II
by Dyon Ravello,
Akshay Homraj announced himself with a measured century in only his third EACA Power 40 fixture this season. On a blistering hot day at Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Falcons won the toss and elected to take first strike against the host, Phantoms. Early on Phantoms were buoyed with excitement as A. Homraj guided two deliveries past the vacant second slip in the very first over. There would be no clear cut chances for the host in the immediate proceedings.
A. Homraj and opening partner Rajendra Khan would combine aggressive stroke play with sensible running to turn up the temperature on the Phantoms. A. Homraj played fluently through the covers along the ground as well as up and over the infield, while Khan took a liking to playing shots down the ground. A. Homraj skied a streak shot over cover which fell in no man’s land to bring up his half century with a single. At the first drinks break Falcons were flawless at 99 without loss after 13 overs.
Following the resumption both Khan and A. Homraj continued in the same vein as Phantoms looked dazed in the sun. Khan got a life when he was put done on the mid wicket boundary off Irfan, Imran Baig the culprit. But Khan failed to take advantage of the chance as he scoped a similar shot to mid wicket where Baig made no mistake this time, giving Irfan a reprieve. Khan scored 50 (6 x 4’s and 1 x 6’s) in what was his third score of 40 plus in as many matches, Falcons 122/1. Renwick Batson joined A. Homraj as the pair worked to maintain the momentum. Batson looked shelled as he gathered a number of singles.
A. Homraj continued in the same vein but would lose Batson at the other end. Batson trying to sweep Shakeel Hamdani could only glove his stroke for a pouch by wicket keeper Shahid Choudhary, Falcons 164/2. Himendra Kowlessar was the new batsmen and he signaled his intent early with some lofty strokes over the infield. At the end of the 24th over with the temperature cooling off the match was interrupted by a passing thunder shower. The interruption lasted 40 minutes, which resulted in a 10 over reduction with the teams to contest 35 overs each.
On the resumption A. Homraj approached his hundred without fear as he found the boundary frequently. A. Homraj would bring up his hundred with a quick single and then celebrate by strike three consecutive boundaries off Atiqur Mufti. A. Homraj upped the anti in an attempt to record 150, but could only hold out to Mufti off the bowling of Baig for 134 (17 x 4’s and 1 x 6’s). Kowlessar brought up his fifty as he saw the backs of two other batsmen. Nonetheless the impetus was sufficient as Falcons scorched 291/5 in 35 over with Kowlessar unbeaten on 68 (5 x 4’s and 3 x 6’s). Bowling for Phantoms Baig had 2/27, with Umer Aslam, Irfan and Hamdani sharing a wicket each. Mufti held three catches on the day.
In reply Phantoms were confident in chasing the huge total having set a similar score against Arsenal previously. Openers Mufti and Hamdani were circumspect against the pace of Batson in contrast to their attacking approach against the spin of Kumar Hemnauth. Hamdani found the boundary off of Hemnauth but fell the very next delivery to a sprawling catch by Batson, for Hemnauth to be vindicated. At the other end Mufti continued his battle against Batson, with Choudhary playing a perfect foil as he whipped a Batson bouncer over square leg for a maximum. Mufti repaid Medium Pacer R. Madramootoo for the three consecutive boundaries he has received by dishing out three in one over of his own. At this point Phantoms motoring along at a healthy rate.
Falcons captain Zulfiqar Alli picked up on the fact that the pacers wont as effective as he would like, resorted to spin. Ruhail Asghar struck in his sixth delivery bowling Mufti for 36. Asghar accounted for Choudhary in similar fashion to Mufti. M Homraj got into the act at the other end as he bowled Faiyaz Desai. M Homraj took care of Ali Raza to dent the Phantoms cause. Aslam got a life when K. Hemnauth dropped a chance off the bowling of Asghar. Asghar would be vindicated in his next over with K. Hemnauth holding on to a simpler chance to dismiss Aslam. M Homraj had Manvinder Singh bowl and caught to sap all life out of the Phantom chase.
K. Hemnauth return to pick up two more wickets with Kowlessar completing the rout off his only delivery. Phantoms all out for 119 with only Atiqur Mutfi (36) offering any resistance. Bowling for Falcons K. Hemnauth had 5-0-20-3, Asghar 7-1-21-3 and M. Homraj 7-0-23-3. Falcons extending there record to 11-2 on the season with one round left before they enter the playoffs, as Phantoms will continue to play for pride in their final Power 40 bout of the season. Akshay Homraj deservedly man of the match for his class innings of 134.