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Long Island City wins cricket title over Adams

Long Island City celebrates its victory over John Adams. Photo by Denis Gostev
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The captain provided the clincher in fitting fashion.

Long Island City’s first PSAL cricket championship was a foregone conclusion, but junior Mahanaz Mustafa came up with one more memorable moment. On the final pitch of the match, he got a swing and miss hitting the 10th and final wicket.

“I was going for it,” Mustafa said. “I just looked into the stump and I just confirmed that I would make this, and I bowled it.”

It completed a dominant performance by Bulldogs bowlers in top-seeded LIC’s 159-117 win over No. 3 John Adams in the championship match, setting off a wild celebration at Baisley Park Saturday afternoon in Queens. Mustafa immediately ran for the wicket and held it in the air in jubilation as his teammates did the same with the other two. Fans ran to the center of the field. The players lifted Coach Dharmvir Gehlaut into the air as the program captured it first title.

“That was an amazing feeling,” Gehlaut said.

What made the victory even sweeter was the fact that Long Island City fell to FDR in a super over in last year’s final. Fighting to get back to the final gave them extra motivation all season and they were not going to let it slip away a second time.

“All the players were very, very hungry,” Gehlaut said. “They were like a hungry tiger that has to go and attack and get their share of meat.”

The coach said his team was deeper offensively than Adams despite the Spartans featuring the city’s most dangerous batsman, Troy Mars. The Bulldogs (17-0) featured a balanced offensive attack with Attaur Khan leading the way with 33 runs, followed by Mustafa (28), Md Islam (28) and Redwanur Khan (25). They quickly quelled the John Adams order by eliminating the hot-hitting Gurprit Singh and Mars in the first seven overs.

“He’s a really dangerous batter,” said Khan, the game’s MVP who got Mars to swing and miss. “I got the wicket.”

Mars, who scored just eight runs, felt he let his team down. He also credited Khan with a good pitch that he put a bad swing on. Zafaar Yusuf picked up the slack with 26 runs and Singh added 21.

Adams (14-2) lost for the third time in the final, the others coming in 2008 and 2009, Mars’ freshman year. He didn’t think LIC’s 159 points were insurmountable with the bats the Spartans possess, but the offense didn’t click Saturday. Losing wickets early and often only eliminated the team’s top batsman.

“It was very disappointing,” Mars said. “My whole team was depending on me and I disappointed them.”

While his career comes to a close, Long Island City’s reign over the PSAL may only be beginning. The Bulldogs have just two seniors on their roster and a bevy of sophomores and juniors now with a championship pedigree.

“Maybe next year again,” said Khan, a sophomore. “We are all the same age.”

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