Gayle in action in 3rd place play-off
By Sean Devers
A raucous crowd of close to 10,000 watched as Universal DVD Berbice Titians and the Gizmos & Gadgets Georgetown Pitbulls qualified for tonight’s Jam Zone Masters’ Cup t20 cricket final at the Guyana National Stadium.
The Pitbulls got the better of New Line Cavaliers in the first semi-final before the Berbicians, Guyana’s defending t20 champions, showed that team cricket is more important than individual glory by beating a Hits & Jams All Stars team which included Super Star Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Danza Hyatt, in the second semi-final.
With many in the colourful crowd chanting Berbice, Berbice, Test fast bowler Brandon Bess was given the task of bowling the final over on a low and slow track with variable bounce with 13 required for a Hits and Jams All Stars victory.
A no-ball from an above the waist full toss was cut for four by teenager Raj Nanan and a leg-side boundry could not prevent Berbice emerging victorious by a run in an exciting finish at 01:00hrs as the HJ All Stars were all out for 149 off 20 overs replying to Berbice’s 150-8 off 20 overs.
No one passed 22 for Berbice as the new ball bowlers of Russell 2-16 from four overs and left-arm spinner Nanan 1-16 off four overs ensured the team from Guyana’s second largest county had to work hard for their runs on the sluggish surface.
But like they showed in the last t20 competition when overseas players were allowed and opted for their home grown players, Berbice played superb team cricket as the pugnacious Gayle briefly threatened with two massive sixes and a four before lofting Esuan Crandon to deep mid-off for 18 from 14 balls.
Organised by the Hits and Jams Entertainment in collaboration with the Guyana Cricket Board as a part of their 11th Jam Zone Summer Break 2011 activities, the competition concludes today at Providence with Berbice facing the Pitbulls in the final from 20:00hrs after Hits and Jams All Stars and New Line Cavaliers clash in the third place play-off from 16:00hrs. Fans this evening, will be hoping for something special from Gayle, the competition’s headliner.
Krishna Deosarran (5) was bowled by Royston Crandon at 18-1 before Bravo (22) and Gayle took their team to 44 with attractive batting to the delight of the crowd, most of who had come to see Gayle for the first time in action after his destructive 2011 IPL tournament in India.
But once the very impressive Devendra Bishoo bowled Bravo in his first over, Hyatt who top-scored with 30-ball 34 from a four and two sixes and Russell, whose 13 included two fours, tried to keep their team in the fight against a disciplined Berbice unit.
Under a clear night sky and with the rhythm of Tassa drumming in the stands, Hits and Jams slipped to 74 -5 when Leon Johnson (2) was bowled by Royston Crandon (3-23) who induced Hyatt to edge a catch to the keeper.
Russell and Skipper Tyrell Tull (10) kept hopes alive before Russell was bowled by Bishoo at 106-6.
In the end two runs outs sealed the issue as the Berbicians, for the second time in two years nullified the Gayle force.
Berbice lost Anthony Bramble; caught and bowled by Bravo for eight at 18-1, while Richard Ramdeen (13) and Assad Fudadin (10) fell in the space of 10 runs to leave the score 61-3.
When Devon Clements fell to Russell, Berbice had slipped to 61-5 before a thunderous 22 from 9 balls by Jonathon Foo, which included two sixes and fours off pacer Seon Daniels, had the crowd jamming.
Sixteen from Veerasammy and nine not out from Bishoo ensured their team reached the 150 mark as Gayle, Russell and Johnson collected two wickets each.
In the first semi-final, Simmons scored 41 but only Mahendra Nagamootoo (21) of the other batsmen passed 12 as New Line Cavaliers were limited to 114-8 off their 20 overs.
West Indies left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn had 3-20 and after Bajan Dwayne Smith was bowled for a duck with a ball that kept very low.
Gajanand Singh was run out for six and Alcindo Holder was bowled by Kellon Carmichael for 12 as New Line Cavaliers were never allowed any momentum. Keiron Pollard supported with 2-6 for the Pitbulls.
Trevon Griffith (47) and Shemroy Barrington (17) gave the City side a solid 65-run start before former West Indies under-19 Skipper Andre Percival removed them both.
Steven Jacobs (16*) and Chris Barnwell (17*) then saw their team to a comfortable eight-wicket win as they reached 116-2 in 17.5 overs.
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I have been doing columns since 1988. I have been a major columnist with the Catholic Standard, Stabroek News, Kaieteur... more