Regal Masters stumble at final hurdle after batting meltdown
NYSCL/New York Independence Cup 2019…
by John Ramsingh in New York
A match-winning sixth-wicket partnership of 65 runs between Erapalli Sahadeo and Nandalall Doodnauth, combined with a four-wicket haul from Navin Narine, handed the New York Softball Cricket League (NYSCL) Masters a fighting 5-wicket victory over 2018 champions, Regal Masters, in the final of the NYSCL/New York Independence Cup 2019 competition, played on Sunday last at the Baisley Pond Park in the southeastern part of Queens, New York.
This match lived up to its billing as being highly competitive, and prospects swung in multiple directions before the outcome was finally settled in fading light in front of a large and vocal crowd that was highly in favour of the home team.
When Doodnauth swept Throy Kippins for a boundary off the first ball of the 19th over, NYSCL Masters had completed the shocking task of beating a very clinical Regal Masters unit by five wickets, with 11 balls to spare.
Doodnauth finished on 26 not out (3×4), while the more attacking Sahadeo, who had brought up his half-century in the match-changing 18th over, was left not out on 50 (3×6; 2×4).
Set 131 to win from 20 overs, to be made on a tricky but hard pitch situated on a slope with big outfield, NYSCL lost opener Karramchand Panday (04) in the second over, brilliantly caught by Eric Thomas keeping up to Kippins.
Sahadeo, who was later named Man of the Match, then joined Rishi Singh in the middle, and they put on 47 important runs, which although scored at a slow rate, gave Regal Masters some hope.
There were further grounds for optimism when Ramesh Narine got the breakthrough in his first over — the ninth of the innings — as he induced Singh, who had made 22 of the 53 runs scored at the expense of two wickets, to offer a regulation catch off the top edge to backward point.
At this, the halfway stage, it was even-steven at 60-2, with NYSCL Masters still needing 71 runs from 60 balls to dethrone Regal; but after the resumption of play, the champions hit back with a triple-blow.
In the 11th over, Ramesh Narine clean bowled Faizul Ulla (05), before knocking over Ravi Sahadeo for a duck with the next ball. Incoming batsman Abdul Hafeez survived the hat-trick ball, but was not so lucky in the next over, losing his leg stump to left-arm spinner Laurie Singh — also for a duck, and when the score was at 66-5.
At this stage, Regal Masters and their supporters felt their spin twins Narine and Singh had it all wrapped up; but Sahadeo found a useful partner in Doodnauth, and they watched these spinners carefully. With 38 runs needed from 24 balls, Regal Masters’ captain, Mahendra Hardyal, opted for pace, but that decision had a backlash.
Over number 17, bowled by David Harper, cost 23 runs. It comprised two no-balls, three wides, one four, and a six. In the context of the game, it was very expensive, and left the equation at 15 runs to win from 18 balls.
The experienced, fleet-footed Mahendranauth Parasnauth then commenced his final over, only to be dispatched for 11, leaving the hosts with 12 balls to get just four runs and a maiden title, which was easily done at the start of the next over.
The main wicket-takers were Narine, with 3/17; Singh, with 1/14; and Kippins, with 1/27.
Regal Masters had earlier had a start-stop innings, with steady bowling, bad shot selection, and rain creating drama. Throughout the tournament, the Guyana side won the toss and batted; in the final, the trend continued, but not the luck.
Uniss Yusuf and Eion Abel got the men in green-and-yellow off to a good start, reaching 42 without loss halfway through the fifth over, before disaster struck. In Navin Narine’s first over, Yusuf attempted his trademark sweep shot and was bowled for 15 (2×4); and two balls later, Kippins also attempted to sweep and was easily taken at short backward square for a duck.
They were quickly followed by Ramesh Narine (01), Harper (02), and Mohendra Arjune (02); and the champs had suddenly lost five wickets for 12 runs, and were reeling at 54-5 after nine overs.
Abel and Lloyd Ruplall then tried to repair the damage, but were held up for about an hour because of the onset of rain when the score was at 66-5 after 11 overs. After the break, Abel was caught at cover for 36 (3×4) in the 12th over, before Eric Thomas and Ruplall put together the best partnership of the innings.
The pair put on 55 before Thomas was bowled in the final over of the innings for 38 (4×6; 1×4), leaving Ruplall not out on a patient 19 (28 balls) and Regal Masters at 130 for 7.
Navin Narine was the pick of the bowlers with 4-10, while Ricky Edwards (1/19), Kumar Chickery (1/26) and Faizul Ulla (1/30) were the other wicket-takers.
In the other categories of this tournament, which started last Friday, defending champions SVC All Stars beat NYSCL All Stars in a repeat of the 2018 Open finals, while Toronto Blizzards beat NY Hustlers to take the Pro title (over-50).
The other Guyanese team, Fishermen Masters, were knocked out at the semifinal stage when they were bowled out for 69 in replying to 228-7 made by Regal Masters. They lost by 159 runs in this, their debut participation in the NY Independence Cup.