By Sean Devers
It was just a practice match. But for the over 15,000 raucous, flag-waving fans at the Guyana National Stadium on Saturday night, national pride was at stake as Guyana battled Trinidad and Tobago in the first of two warm-up games for their Champions League Campaign in South Africa next month.
The atmosphere was simply fantastic, a sea of green and yellow created by one of the largest crowds at the Stadium and all sizes of Guyana flags being passionately waved. The Guyanese could not have asked for better support.
But in the end it was T&T, led by a Man-of-the-Match 39-ball 52 with 3 fours and 2 sixes from Lendl Simmons, who won by 9 runs to back up their ‘talk’ as Guyana could only reach 142-4 chasing the 150-9 made by the visitors on a slow and low track.
The result might have been inconsequential to Guyana’s South Africa campaign but for the thousands, some of whom disgracefully pelted beer cans and bottles in disgust, it was a huge psychological deflation and left the Guyanese with batting concerns to ponder as they prepare for their September 12 opening engagement against Royal Bangalore Challengers.
Both teams were without key players. Dave Mohamed and the Mumbai Indians pair of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo were unavailable for T&T while Guyana, hit by illness to some of its players, rested its most impressive Caribbean Championship bowler (Davendra Bishoo) and West Indies opener Sewnarine Chattergoon.
Skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan, who opted to send Jonathon Foo, Chris Barnwell and Royston Crandon ahead of himself in the last five overs with the asking rate just under 10, was like Narsingh Deonarine, affected by fever but insisted in playing for the capacity crowd.
That Guyana experimented with the batting order in their penultimate practice game before playing the first of four preliminary round games in South Africa was of little consolation to the screaming fans who came to see their team ‘shut up’ T&T.
Deonarine hit a six off the game’s final ball to finish unbeaten on 41 from 35 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes but like he did in the Caribbean Championships, he struggled to get the ball away at crucial times and if Guyana are to be successful in South Africa both he and his Skipper will need to improve their strike-rate.
Asked to open, Wicket Keeper Derwin Christian (29 from 30 balls) and Travis Dowlin (39 from 36 balls) put together 68 for the first wicket but apart from Deonarine, only 19-year-old Jonathon Foo (10) of the other batsmen reached double figures as T&T were allowed to bowl too many ‘dot’ balls on large outfield.
Guyana’s newest sensation 19-year-old Jonathon Foo (10) was asked to bat at number four and when inexperience got the better of him and he missed a big swing at Khan and was bowled at 120-3, Guyana still needed 31 from 21 balls.
Foo, who only last year was playing at the under19 level, was mainly responsible for Guyana qualifying for South Africa and the spectator who pelted him with a Beer can as he walked back to the pavilion after his impetuous shot should hang his head in shame.
Those junior members of the Guyana Police Force, who denied Chairman of the West Indies Selectors Clyde Butts entry to the venue and who seem incapable of talking to citizens in a professional manner without using indecent Language and who struggle with crowd control at big events, should also do the same.
With 20 required in the final over Barnwell (5) skied Sherwin Ganga to short extra cover and although the left-handed Deonarine hit the final ball for six Guyana had only managed 10 from the last over.
Earlier, T&T elected to bat first and were never allowed to score freely as the experienced Lennox Cush, two days after his return from helping the USA win the ICC Division 4 tournament in Italy, conceded just 16 runs from his four overs with the new ball, despite being cut for four off the 2nd ball of the match by Adrian Barath.
Man-of the-Match Lendl Simmons played an array of enterprising shots and got support from Skipper Darren Ganga who scored an unbeaten 40 from 28 balls with 2 fours and six as T&T took 20 important runs off the final over of their innings bowled by part-time off-spinner Royston Crandon who took 2-44.
Off-spinner Steven Jacobs then took the first of his four wickets by bowling Simmons at 83-3. The former West Indies under-19 Skipper, who did not play a game in the Caribbean Championships, removed Justin Guillen (4), Imran Khan (4) and held a stupendous left-handed return catch inches off the ground to get rid of Sherwin Ganga (1) as T&T slumped from 79-1 to 100-6 in the 16th over.
Jacobs who bowled an accidental ’beamer’ earlier in his spell should have had a 5-wicket haul but for Umpire Clyde Duncan’s questionable decision to call no-ball for height and take him out of the attack at the start of his final over. Jacobs held a return catch by Cooper from what Video evidence confirmed was a high full toss but just below waist level.
Royston Crandon removed Cooper (13) and Emrit (1) and Narine (1) were both run out as Ganga ensured his team reached 150 thanks to Royston Crandon’s expensive final over.
In the Exhibition match, Universal DVD Berbice Titans continued their local dominance when they beat New Line Cavaliers by 6 wickets.
Pacers Michael Newland (4-15) and Keon Joseph (2-30) helped to skittle out Cavaliers for 79 despite 18 from Chien Gittens. Renrick Batson (31) then spearheaded the Berbicians to 80-4 in 14 overs as Andre Percival and Orin Forde took two wickets each in a losing effort.
Guyana and T&T met in the final practice match at the Stadium last evening and details will be in tomorrow’s issue.
A Barat c Barnwell b Crandon 8
L Simmons b Jacobs 52
DM Bravo b Crandon 12
D Ganga not out 40
J Guillen c Wintz b Jacobs 4
I Khan b Jacobs 4
S Ganga c&b Jacobs 1
K Cooper c Foo b R Crandon 13
R Emrit run out 1
S Narine run out 1
D St Clair not out 0
Extras (lb-2, nb-9, w-4) 15
Total (for 9 wkts – 20 overs) 150
FoW: 18, 79, 83, 89, 98, 100, 124, 124, 149
BOWLING: Cush 4-0-16-0, E Crandon 4-0-25-1, Wintz 3-0-23-0, Barnwell 2-0-17-0, R Crandon 4-0-44-2, Jacobs 3-0-23-4
T Dowlin c&b Narine 29
D Christian b Khan 39
N Deonarine not out 41
J Foo b Khan 10
C Barnwell c wkp Simmons b S Ganga 5
R Crandon not out 1
Extras (lb-8, w-6, b-3) 17
Total (for 4 wkts off 20 overs) 142
DNB: R Sarwan, S Jacobs, L Cush, E Crandon, P Wintz,
FoW: Cooper 4-0-22-1, Emrit 3-0-29-0, Narine 4-0-22-0, St Clair 2-0-21-0, S Ganga 4-0-28-1, Khan 3-0-20-2
Result: T&T won by 9 runs.
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