Mafia Takes Control of the Assassins
By James Persaud
June 22, 2016
It is said that if you keep pushing and if you try hard enough, you will be successful one day. This much can be said about the Mafia cricket team, they persevered and this past Sunday won their first major competition in NYSCL. Mafia reached the final after fourth tries, starting back in 2015.
They won the quarter final game against United by a convincing margin of 60 runs. Then they scraped past Untouchables in the semi-final with four balls to spare. After winning the semi-final and Assassins doing the same against Braveheart. This game was billed as the battle between two teams, one with very strong batting and the other with plenty of pace bowling. But in the final it turned out to be a battle of the bowlers and Mafia bowlers prevailed.
The game started a little behind schedule, after Assassins won the toss, both teams took some time to settle on their final eleven players for the game. When play got underway, Assassins made the long wait worthwhile, Shawn Persaud struck in his first over and the second of the game. Mafia’s opener Vicky Sugrim was caught on the last ball of Shawn over with only 2 runs scored.
With the fall of Sugrim, this brought Nayal Singh to the wicket to join his elder brother Dharmpaul. Dharmpaul was very cautious and did not score until after he faced 7 deliveries, but he scored the first boundary of the game when he cracked Shawn in his second over for 2 consecutive boundaries. By this time the crowd was filling the park on a hot Father’s Day, and this brought on cheers from the crowd.
Popie Singh the other opening bowler for Assassins was bowling well; he got some movement off the pitch and was very hard to put away. With the score being 24 after 5 overs, the first bowling change was made with Frankie Baichu. Baichu started well and got some swing, he gave up 4 runs, and the fourth bowler was Murph Seeram in the next over.
Seeram was generating a lot of pace of the wicket and both batsmen played cautiously. The game went into a slow mode, with the bowlers bowling well and the Singh’s brother prepared not to take any chance of losing their wicket. As the batsmen settle for singles and doubles. Nayal was having a lucky day, two times he was stranded between wickets and the fielders either threw to the wrong end or misfielded the ball.
Mafia reached fifty in the eleventh over and added another 12 runs by the thirteenth over to take the water break with a score of 62 for 1. During the break both camps had long talks, Assassins had to be happy with their bowling, while Mafia was a little behind the run rate. When play resumed Dharmpaul pushed the second ball to a short mid-wicket, the fielder collected it cleanly and with a direct hit, struck the wicket at the bowler’s end; Dharmpaul was runout for 25, scored of 39 balls.
Raja Parasram was next to the crease, and Parasram looked out of touch, he was beaten by both bowlers, Shawn and Popie. Boundaries were difficult to come by and the next came in the seventeenth over. The next wicket to fall was in the nineteenth over when Parasram (8) was beaten by Seeram pace and lost his middle stump. Anil Beharry made his way to the crease with his team desperately needing runs, and the score on 93 and only six overs remaining. Beharry and Nayal added 5 runs before Nayal was bowled by Amit Moonsammy for 30 of 36 balls.
Seeram was bowling very fast, after bowling his last over and giving up 3 wides, he was back with a better line. The new batsman was Randy Narinesami and he did not last long, after scoring one, he played across to Seeram, beaten by pace and lost his leg stump. The next incoming batsman Prem Thakur, played almost the same shot as Randy to the next ball and lost his leg stump also. At this stage of the game, Mafia looked in trouble, six wickets down and only 100 runs and 4 overs remaining.
Vikash Singh made his way to the middle and his Captain met him almost halfway and had a talk with him. Assassins fielders and Seeram were looking for a Hat-Trick, and Captain Brian Manniram set a very defensive field with six men around the batsman. Seeram’s next ball to Vikash was fast, short and rising down the middle, Vikash pulled it to a short square leg for a single to quiet the crowd. Beharry continued to talk to Vikash and it looked as if they had a plan, Beharry was going to take the attack to the bowlers.
Almost everyone was out of their seat, with only 4 overs remaining, some asked was it a little too late? Well the plan was working, run hard between the wicket, rotate the strike and put the bad ball away. Beharry hit Moonsammy for the first maximum of the game, and took 10 runs off the over, both batsmen looked confident and was not fearful to give up the strike. Vikash did not let his partner have all the fun, he took Moonsammy deep for 2 boundaries. Moonsammy’s last two overs was very costly, a total of 26 runs was scored.
With 3 balls remaining Vikash was runout from a direct throw from Baichu that hit the stumps, and he was on his way for a well-played 16 runs. Ravi Balli was next in at number 9, he faced two balls before he was runout without scoring. Dane Glasgow and Saeed Khan did not bat and the at the end of the allotted overs Mafia scored a total of 140 for 8 wickets. Murph Seeram had match figure of 3 for 24, Shawn and Amit took 1 wicket each.
Assassins, one of the most successful teams in softball cricket, winning percentage, had to feel well placed in the game with chasing a total of 140 and required run rate of a little over five and a half an over. Many in the crowd were already calling to engrave the winning trophy for Assassins. Well you had to have many reasons to go with the hype, Assassins had a very long batting depth and Mafia was missing one of their strike bowlers, Dutchin.
The on field umpires Vibert Massiah and Desmond Gomes made their way to the middle and extra umpires were placed to watch the boundary lines at the far ends. The crowd took their seats and Assassins’ opening pair of Kaleem Bux and Kris Sobhai made their way to the middle. Umpires signaled to the scorers that they were ready and Anil Beharry marked his bowling run up. Beharry started well, good pace, line and length and Bux was very observant and played 5 dot balls before taking a single off the last ball of the over. Dharmpaul Singh shared the new ball and gave up 3 singles in his first over. In Beharry’s third over, he got Bux to pull one to a short mid-on and Raja took the catch.
The new batsman Zamal Khan came to the crease and added another 17 runs before Sobhai was runout by a very good throw from Saeed Khan with the score on 43 for 2. Anand Singh was next to the crease and he got off the mark with a boundary. Anand and Zamal were in very good form and rotated the strike well, Anand looked to be more aggressive and struck a huge maximum off Vicky Sugrim. Dane Glasgow was brought on in the eleventh over and he also bowled the thirteenth. Zamal tried to reserve sweep Glasgow and was caught by the wicketkeeper, Nayal Singh. Assassins went to the water break with the score on 64 for 3 and at this stage the game was evenly balanced.
With the fall of Zamal’s wicket, Manniram joined Anand at the crease and Dharmpaul got the ball to start the second half of Assassins’ innings. Dharmpaul’s third delivery was on the leg stump and Anand made good contact and hit it to deep mid-wicket and Narinesami covering plenty of ground, took a magnificent catch and a disappointed Anand (13) walked back to the pavilion. This was a big loss for Assassins, Eon Ellis joined his Captain at the crease. This pair did not last long after adding 5 runs, Manniram got one from Beharry, fast down the middle, he pushed forward, the ball took the edge and the keeper took the catch and Manniram was gone for 6 runs.
Amit Moonsammy made his way to the middle and had a talk with Ellis, Assassins was in trouble, this pair had to last long. Ellis and Moonsammy had a plan and both ran well between the wickets, picking up singles and doubles. Vikash Singh got the ball in the twenty first over and Ellis gave him no chance to find his length, Ellis took 11 runs, including 2 boundaries off the over. This brought some excitement to the Assassins camp as the score raced to 120. The game had shift in favor of Assassins, wickets in hand and plenty of overs remaining, But Vikash struck twice in his next over, Moonsammy was caught for 7 and soon after in the same over Ellis played a poor shot and lost his middle stump to Vikash. Ellis batted well and scored 32 runs off 16 balls, but he needed to make better shot selection and stay to the end.
In a surprise move by Mafia, after all of their front line bowlers finished their spell except for Vikash, the ball was given to Randy Narinesami, his first over gave up 3 runs. He did exactly what Mafia wanted, he struck twice in his second over, he had Frankie Baichu stunningly caught at a forward short square leg by the very energetic Saeed and two balls later he removed Popie Singh off stump without scoring.
With the last pair of Murph Seeram and Shawn Persaud at the crease and Assassins still needed another 16 runs to win and 2 overs remaining. Many in the stands were calling on the batsmen to block the stump, and hoping that the bowlers would bowl wides. But this was not the case, in the twenty fourth over bowled by Vikash, his second delivery shattered the stumps of Shawn to end the game with a score of 125 all out. Assassins lost their last four wickets fell for 5 runs. Vikash took 3 for 21 and scored 16 runs and took home the man of the match prize, Beharry 2 for 20, Narinesami 2 for 3, Glasgow and Dharmpaul took 1 wicket each.