In their round 2 match up, Outlaws made the trip up to Lehigh to take on SW Cricket Club at beautiful Veterans Park.
SW Cricket, one of the newcomers to the league this season, had a promising start in their round 1 match against President, although they came up short. They were excited to face Outlaws because their roster was bolstered by the addition of Chattergoon who was making his debut for SW Cricket.
OutLaws were coming off a dominant victory in their round 1 match and looked to continue their winning ways. However, they were without the services of the dangerous Andrew Premaul.
As Outlaws players and their families arrived at Veterans Park they were all in awed of the beautiful cricket field and the wonderful facilities. This is without a doubt the best cricket venue compared to all other venues in South Florida. Â The captains made their way out to the middle and the toss was spun. Outlaws won the toss and after a little debate because of the dampness of the wicket, decided to bat.
Once again Kaiume and Vivian were tasked with opening the batting as they did in game one. However, they did not fare as well as they did before. They both started watchfully at around 5 runs an over during the power-play. Vivian was the first to go, playing what is an unusual reverse-sweep to a Chattergoon offering and was caught beautifully at backward point by the young at heart Jamal. He anticipated the batsman shot and made his move early to be in position for what would have otherwise been an easy boundary.
Nazim Ali coming off an impressive showing in game 1 joined Kaiume at the wicket. However, that partnership did not last long as Kaiume was caught at short square-leg after spooning a simply catch to Bell off the bowling of S. Churaman. This brought the skipper himself Anoop Basdeo to the crease with his team in a bit of a bother at 27 for 2 after 5 overs.
It did not get better as Nazim was next to go, bowled by S. Churaman without adding to the score. Outlaws were in trouble at 27 for 3 after 6 overs. The skipper was then joined by Alastair Khan in the middle as they both look to consolidate the Outlaws inning. After a brief partnership of 19 runs, Alastair was guilty of chasing a wide delivery from Saffie and offering a simply catch to Jamal at point.
The ever so reliable Mustaq joined Anoop at the crease and they batted wisely to see Outlaws to the break at 64 for 4 after 13 overs. This score was well below par for this ground and definitely under what Outlaws were targeting when they chose to bat.Â During the break the Outlaws camp got together and began a backup plan for the second half to get a defendable total on the board. It was obvious that at least 100 runs is required in the next 12 overs to have a fighting chance.
When the game resumed, Anoop did not waste any time in pursuit of the 100 runs needed as he took 16 off the 14th over and got Outlaws some momentum to start the second half. His aggression would prove costly though as he looked to hit everything that came his way. He was soon caught by the keeper attempting a loose shot off what wouldâ€™ve been called a wide delivery down the leg-side. Anoop went for a well played 38 including 5 boundaries. The score was now 84 for 5 after 15 overs.
Outlaws plan had to be adjusted once again as Fahron joined Mustaq at the wicket. They were to occupied the crease for a few overs and create a launching pad for our hitters. They did just that as they picked up the singles and doubles on offering. After a 23-run partnership Fahron was next to go, caught once again by Jamal for his third catch of the game.
The hard hitting Asif Sharief was next and he did not waste any time to take on the SW bowlers. He launched two massive sixes in his short cameo of 15 runs. Outlaws target of 100 runs in the second did not seem possible at this stage. They were now hoping to get to the 150 mark;Â However, their inning would be saved by the hard hitting left-hander Avinash Ramersaud and the reliable Jon Haricharran who replacedÂ Andrew for this game. These two put on a game winning partnership of 41 runs in the last four overs to see Outlaws to a respectable total of 177 for 8.
Avinash finished on 26 not out with 2 boundaries and 2 huge sixes. Jon was also not out on 15 including 1 four. Outlaws inning finished with a flourish of runs and it showed the depth of their batting as they had another capable batsman in Narran Bacchus yet to come.
The pick of the bowlers for SW Cricket was Saffie with 4 wickets for 40 runs. Churaman nabbing 2 wickets for 29 runs and Chattergoon with an economical spell of 5 overs for 23 runs and 1 wicket. SW Cricket was tidy in the field with the impressive display of catching by Jamal and the keeper not allowing any byes.
The SW camp had to be confident as their run chase began. With the wicket drying out and a lightning fast outfield, the target of 178 seemed just about par and could be attained quite easily with some sensible batting. Outlaws were also aware of the ground conditions but were confident they could defend their total as well with some early wickets.
SW Cricket openers were the hard hitting Saffie Rahaman and the reliable left-hander R. Bell. Outlaws as always handed the ball to the economical Fahron Persaud to get things on its way. It was a quite start to say the least as only 1 run came off the bat. Add two wides to the total and the score was 3 without loss after one. With the prized wicket of Chattergoon on his mind and early wickets required, the skipper took the ball himself to bowl the second over. It was an excellent move as he produced a 2-wicket maiden to start his spell. He picked up 2 wickets in the span of four deliveries.
Saffie was first to go; bowled by Anoop on a deliver that pitched on leg stump and moved back in to square-up the batsman and crashed into middle and off stump. The next batman in was K. Chin who lasted just two balls. His attempted pull shot off the second delivery he faced produced a straight forward catch at the square-leg boundary where Mustaq was waiting to pouched it comfortably. It was exactly the start Outlaws needed to defend their modest total.
In came the dangerous Chattergoon who now had to rebuild the inning for SW Cricket as they were down 2 wickets for 3 runs. He started watchfully as he saw out the two remaining balls in Anoopâ€™s opening over.Â Fahronâ€™ second over went for 2 runs but a 4-byes from Anoopâ€™s first over and a few more extras saw the score at 11 for 2 after 3 overs. Anoopâ€™s second over was not as successful as the first. He decided to take the pace off the ball and bowl spins to Chattergoon. The plan didnâ€™t seem to work at first as he was hit for a boundary and a huge six off a full toss. That over went for 14 runs and finally SW Cricket chase was on the right track with the score at 25 for 2 after 4 overs.
After Fahron bowled his third over, the skipper was faced with a difficult decision, he was fully aware that he went for 14 runs in his last over and the dangerous Chattergoon still at the crease. He eventually trusted in himself and took the ball for another over. His decision seemed questionable as his first delivery was put away for a boundary over extra-over by Chattergoon. The game was starting to sway into SW favor and you could notice it on the faces of the Outlaws players. The skipper plan to bowl spins to Chattergoon was backfiring and was now proving costly for his team.
As an experience cricketer himself, Anoop stuck to his plan and on the very next delivery induced an expansive drive from the batsman off a ball that was slow and turning. The batsman was not in the correct position and was playing away from his body The attempted shot over long-off produced an edge, a simply pop up that was spinning and tailing away. Finally, the plan has worked thought the skipper. Unfortunately, the spinning pop-up was falling in the VACANT short-cover region. With Outlaws losing their grip on the game and needing the big wicket of Chattergoon, the bowler and the cover field took off frantically in an attempt to secure the catch. The call was made by the bowler Anoop but with the pressure of the situation and the distance that had to be covered by both fielders, the call was not heard and there was a massive collision. The 6â€™4â€ almost 300 lbs Avinash bulldozed into the much smaller Anoop and sent him flying. The outstretch hand/fists of Avinash smashed into the left jaw of Anoop and he was flattened to the ground. It seemed everything stood still for that moment, especially for Anoop. The skipper miraculously held onto the catch, yes the catch was taken and Chattergoon was dismissed for a brisk 19 with 2 fours and 1 six. It was definitely a turning point in the game and the Outlaws team could breathe a sigh of relief; However, their captain was still on the ground for quite some time. He was furious and at the same time scared for his own health because he was coming off a serious hand injury that ended his prior season. After some chatter and sledging from his players he eventually got up and finished his over. Wow what drama in that 5 minutes span.
SW Cricket was now at 47 for 3 after 8 overs. They were maintaining a health run rate in pursuit of their target. Bacchus and the hard hitting (literally) Avinash was brought to stem the flow of runs and they did just that. Bacchus first over went for 3 runs and Avinashâ€™s went for 2 runs. Outlaws were back in the game and just need to contain the batsmen and force the run rate to climb. Mukesh contributed 16 valuable runs before he was run out by Asif who put down the return offering, only to follow through with the play, picked up the ball and was in a foot race with the batsman to the strikers end. Asif surprisingly won that race and Mukesh was out. To be fair to Mukesh he was indeed injured and could not run at full speed. Dave Singh added 7 runs to the total before he too was run out. This time by
Avinash who raced in from his cover position, gather and return a good throw to the keeper for the run out.
In came Jamal, who was hoping to make an impact with the bat after a nice display in the field. He continued with Bell who was still at the crease batting with patience. Bell didnâ€™t last much longer as the skipper called on Alastair Khan to entice Bell to play some attacking strokes and it worked. Bell was caught at the extra-cover boundary by Mustaq, he was on 32 with 1 four and 1 six.
Churaman made a brief appearance hitting a boundary before he was brilliantly caught on a return catch by Alastair diving forward for the low offering. Feroz Khan then joined Jamal in the middle and together they kept the scoreboard ticking and SW Cricket in the game. Jamal unsettled the bowlers with his attempted sweeps and reverse-sweeps. He did connect on a few that found the boundary.
The game was evenly poised at the 21st over with SW Cricket requiring another 45 runs with 3 wickets in hand. They probably felt they game turn in their favor when Outlaws lost a fielder Alastair Khan to a horrible finger injury while attempting to take a catch at the mid-wicket boundary. It was a well hit ball that was rapidly traveling and dipping at the same time. Khan stuck his hand out while running in and in a freaky way his finger was pushed backwards to the point where the elasticity of his skin was breached and it burst open at the metacarpophalangeal joint on his right index finger. There was blood everywhere as his teammates rushed towards him. It was dÃ©jÃ vu all over again for Outlaws players because they had just experienced a similar injury last season. Alastair was quickly rushed off the field to get help to stem the flow blood. As he was attended to, the 12th man was summon, Mr. Basdeo who was already doing the job of scoring.
The game continues without further incident and Outlaws were able to contained Feroz and his captain Kayman Singh from reaching the target. Feroz was not out on 19 and Kayman was not out on 4. SW Cricket put up a great showing and made the run chase interesting as they once again came up short. They are definitely a team to watch as the season progresses.
As the two teams wished each other well after the game, Alastair was still present to see his team to victory as he hang tuff with his injured finger. He eventually made his way to the ER where he received 6 stitched and will be out for some time. We all wishes him a speedy recovery.
It was a rewarding victory for Outlaws as they found a way to win after their top order batsman did not fire. It was a total team effort as everyone did their part to help in this victory.
Many thanks to our supporters that made the trip up there and to the ones that live up there. It was a nice change. It must be said that a facility like this would encourage more supporters to come out and enjoy the game.
Thank you also to the entire SW Cricket Club for their hospitality. There were plenty of food and drinks. It was a fun day of cricket and we look forward to visiting in the future.
Next week Outlaws will take on CS United at Wellman field. They will be short-handed without Alastair and Avinash. Next man up with be our motto for that game.