Tri-City Topple Rochester "Hill"
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Kailberg Field, Schenectady, NY- Wow, what an AMAZING turn of events in today's limited, 30 over friendly match vs. a combined Rochester and West Hill Cricket Club. In a hard fought, absolutely topsy turvy example of how "it ain't over 'till it's over", Tri-City STORMED back from some early troubles to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in convincing fashion with a resounding 119 run win on Saturday, July 7th, 2012.
Things were not looking so good for the home team in the early going. After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Tri-City found themselves floundering mightily right from the start. Rochester "Hill"'s Ijaz Safi came loaded for bear, and proceeded to mow down batsmen with some spectacular deliveries right from the start. In his first over, Safi managed to dismiss two quality batsmen for ducks with a couple of wicked yorkers that left Tri-City in shock with two wickets down and only three runs on the board after one over!!
Thank heaven for the cool headed batting of Aribijit Indulkar who, despite watching partners drop like flies around him, kept a solid straight bat at his end until Matthew Persaud came in to help him steady the ship. Coming in at #5, Persaud showed how much he has matured as a batsman, as he batted with a wisdom and skill that could only make his legendary father Maurice (a Tri-City founding member) proud. Indulkar and Persaud batted with grit and determination, weathering the aggression of Safi, and pouncing on any loose bowling with style and grace. Slowly but surely, under the guidance of these two steady hands, Tri-City climbed up and out of the hole they had dug for themselves. Soon the run-rate climbed to respectability, and by the time Indulkar was caught beautifully on the boundary by Safi off the bowling of Boycott, he and Persaud had managed a solid 95 run partnership on which the rest of the home town batting side could build. Indulkar finished on 46, with 7 boundaries and a six to his credit. Persaud fell just 20 runs later with his own 46 run total, which included 7 boundaries.
Rochester "Hill" was not ready to concede the match, however. Some tight bowling and excellent fielding soon slowed the run rate in the middle of the innings, but as Tri-City passed the midway mark, it became clear that they intended to leave a formidable challenge for the visitors to overcome. The first resounding blow came at #7, as Fizal Husain, or "G" as he is known, emphatically announced the uptick in runs with a blistering 33 run knock that feature three towering sixes and three blazing boundaries that skipped across the close clipped outfield like comets. Safi was able to dampen Hussein's fireworks in his final over, but there would be no rest for the weary Rochester "Hill' bowlers.
With the ruthless efficiency of a master chef at a five star restaurant, Tri-City's Anil Sahaman proceeded to carve up the visitor's bowling like a succulent side of prime beef. Fours and sixes came thundering off of his bat with stunning rapidity and the run rate soared accordingly. Sahaman was well supported by John Florent, who managed a solid 32 run knock with a series of 3 fours and two sixes of his own, but the piece de resistance was captain John Persaud's entry onto the field of play.
While Sahaman's 50 runs, not out was certainly impressive, it was matched in intensity by Persaud's 52 not out, and must have left the Rochester "Hill" bowling attack reeling. When Florent's bat was silenced in the 26th over, Tri-City were on 212. By the time Persaud's and Sahaman's onslaught was over, the two had tacked on an additional 73 runs in the last four overs! The final 285 run total was amazing considering the incredibly shaky start Tri-City made Truly remarkable, and a testament to the fact that cricket is a sport of glorious uncertainty.
What was lost in all this offensive firepower was the remarkable job that Rochester "Hill"'s Ijaz Safi did. Not only did he mow down FOUR Tri-City batsmen, he also took two fantastic catches, one of which was inches off the ground and off the bat of big hitter Kabir Poonoo. Kudos, too, to Boycott, who fought hard to keep his team in it with 3 crucial wickets.
And Safi was not done yet. In the Rochester "Hill" innings, he came in at #4 in the 5th over after his teammates had put a respectable 54 runs on the board. He proceeded to prove that he is a true all rounder, and in partnership with Alton Mason, put together a terrific 41 run knock, finishing with 6 boundaries and a six. Mason proved himself the dependable veteran of West Hill fame once again as he put on 29 hard hit runs, with five boundaries to his credit, before he, like Safi 26 runs later, was clean bowled by Tri-City's consummate all rounder, Anil Sahaman. The visitor's tail was cleaned up in fairly short order as Rochester "Hill" were bundled out for 166 runs in just 22.3 overs. Tri-City's bowling attack was evenly distributed, with Florent, Matthew Persaud, Sahaman, and Kabir Poonoo all taking two wickets apiece.
More important than the final score, though, was the terrific spirit and sportsmanship that was displayed on the field. Rochester and the folks from West Hill came together and played a spirited, hard fought game, and both sides should be proud of the effort put forth. For Tri-City, this was the final tune-up as we begin Commonwealth League play starting tomorrow, July 8th with a visit from Castle Hill. Given how today's warm-up went, here's hoping we'll surprise some of the seasoned Commonwealth teams as they head up here for their first taste of cricket, upstate New York style!!