By Sean Devers
Skipper Rajendra Naikbarran starred with both bat and ball in a Man-of-the-Match performance as Demerara crushed Essequibo by 155 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-hit opening round of the GTM under-19 one-day competition at the Police Sports Club ground, Eve Leary, yesterday.
The East Coast right-hander blossomed from a scratchy start to fashion an entertaining unbeaten 59 and help spur Demerara to 206-7 off 37 overs. He then returned to take 5-31 – opening the bowling with his spin – as Essequibo, set 216 in 37 overs to win on the D/L method, crumbled for 61 all out in 15.5 overs to lose by 155 runs.
National under-19 opener Trevon Griffith (47) benefited from three chances, and along with debutant Quincy Ovid-Richardson, who hit an aggressive 38-ball 42, added 84 in 13 overs for the first wicket, after Demerara had elected to bat first on a sluggish track.
Ovid-Richardson, a national under-17 batsman who was not selected for the three-day Demerara team, played an array of delightful shots including his trademark cut and a pull over mid-wicket off pacer Xavier McDonald which would have been six on any ground.
The GNIC right-hander hit four fours and a six before he played over a full delivery from skipper Royston Alkins and was bowled by the off-spinner.
The left-handed Griffith, who hit two fours and three sixes in his 47-ball innings was then stumped off left arm spinner Floyd Henry (96-2).
Shameer Fazal (12) skied Henry to long-off (110-3) while Delon Fernandes (19) was caught behind off left-arm spinner Anthony Adams. It was 166-4 in the 30th over.
Dexter Solomon (3) was also caught behind off Adams (174-5 off 33.3 overs) at which time rain stopped play.
When play resumed, with Essequibo needing to bowl another 3.3 overs, Andre Stoll (3) was run out and Carl Rambarose (1) was taken at long-on off Grayson Paul (202-7).
Naikbarran, in his third year at this level, grew in confidence as his innings progressed and his aggressive running between the wickets put pressure on the fielders who, like they did in Essequibo in the three-day format, badly let their team down.
McDonald (4-0-38-0), a former Guyana under-15 pacer, replaced the lively Ronsford Beaton whose injured ankle is still not yet fully healed, and was very expensive while his new ball partner Rovi Harris (3-0-22-0) also struggled with his length on the slow track as the Demerara openers batted positively.
Henry (2-28) and Adams (2-33) were the pick of the bowlers for Essequibo who started their reply in attacking mode before Navin Singh was taken at mid-off (16-1) driving at Andre Stoll after hitting Naikbarran for a straight six.
Rovindra Parasram (13) was then well taken at short cover by Stoll off Naikbarran, whose non-turning off-breaks with the new ball were used in tandem with the left-arm pacer Stoll on the fairly fast outfield.
When Henry was bowled by Naikbarran for a duck (44-4) and opener Herrell Greene (18) was caught and bowled by pacer Rambarose without addition to the score, the innings went into chronic decline as none of the last seven batsmen reached double figures. Alkins, the only under-19 national on the Essequibo side, was handicapped by a knee injury sustained while fielding and soon missed a wild swipe at Naikbarran and was bowled for 13.
Even without national under-17 pacer Seon Daniels, who was surprisingly dropped yesterday, the Demerara attack proved too hot to handle as the hosts romped to a comprehensive victory.
Rambarose, who replaced Stoll from the Northern end, bowled Dwayne Singh (2) at 46-6 but was strangely taken off after taking 2-11 from three overs.
National left-arm unorthodox spinner Totaram Bishun (2-3) took two wickets in his only over before Fazal Karim was bowled by Naikbarran after hitting a six off the previous ball as the one-sided contest ended with 21.1 overs to spare.
The Essequibo team looked very tired yesterday and their physical woes will no doubt be compounded today when they travel from the city to Blairmont to face defending champions Berbice in the second round.
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