By Sean Devers
Despite their loss to Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday night another capacity partisan crowd turned up on Sunday at the Guyana National Stadium to support the home team in their final practice match before they face Royal Challengers Bangalore in next month’s Airtel Champions League 20/20 tournament in South Africa.
Led by a masterful 68 from Skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan, a solid 39 from Travis Dowlin and clean, consistent hitting in the last five overs of their innings from Chris Barnwell (32*) and Jonathon Foo (24), the Guyanese did not disappoint their fans as they registered an emphatic 48-run win.
Guyana, with 4 wins in six 20/20 games against T&T, reached 188-5 in 20 overs after they were asked to bat first under lights on another slow track and then dismissed the visitors for 140 in 17 overs as only Kevon Cooper (42) and Skipper Daren Ganga (39) passed 25.
The 30-year-old Sarwan, still recovering from illness, stroked the ball with majestic timing and his array of audacious shots had the over 14,000 fans screaming in the stands after many of them had verbally abused him the night before for not batting in Guyana’s 9-run loss.
Under a clear night sky and with the music in the Party Stand and the Congo drumming in the Eastern Stand providing off-the field entertainment in between overs, Sarwan, with a strike rate of 104 from 18 T/20 Internationals, delighted the vocal crowd with scintillating stroke-play after he came in at number three in the order.
Derwin Christian (1) failed to control a pull at pacer Kevon Cooper and lobbed a catch to the keeper at 11-1 and Sarwan, a veteran of 156 ODIs, suggested that something special was about to unfold when he majestically on-drove the first ball he faced to the boundary.
Sarwan and Dowlin batted confidently to take the score to 78 in the 11th over before Dowlin was bowled by teenager Yannick Carriah to break the 67-run stand.
Narsingh Deonarine (8) was then run out at 116-3 after Sarwan had reached his fifty in commanding fashion.
The elegant right-hander nonchalantly swept leg-spinner Imran Khan for six before an imperial square drive off the next ball which reached the point boundary like a scud missile, brought up his 50 and the flag-waving crowd was dancing in the stands.
Sarwan, whose role in the team should be to bat through the innings from number three with the others batting around him, played an enterprising ‘inside out’ loft over extra cover for six off Carriah before he was dropped on the cover boundary off Richard Kelly when on 66.
Sarwan led the Guyanese brilliantly in the Caribbean 20/20 tournament but struggled to dominate with the bat. On Sunday night it was an exhibition of glorious batsmanship at its best as Sarwan returned to form less than 2 weeks before Guyana’s opening game in South Africa.
With 2 overs remaining Sarwan, who hit five fours and three sixes in his 53-ball innings, was bowled by Sherwin Ganga at 134-4. Barnwell and the pugnacious 19-year-old Foo then tore into the visitor’s attack with several savage shots as 38 runs were scored in the last two overs in their 49-run partnership.
Foo, who was pelted with a Beer can after his first 20/20 failure for Guyana on Saturday night, was off the mark in sensational fashion, effortlessly flicking Sherwin Ganga for consecutive fours off the 2nd and 3rd balls he faced to send the crowd wild with delight.
Barnwell matched Foo shot for shot and a thumping straight-driven boundary off Kelly was followed by an effortless six in an expensive 17th over which cost 15 runs.
Barnwell had the Stadium rocking with a 6 off Ganga in the final over before Foo played an unbelievable cover drive for six in the same over before he was taken at short 3rd man off the final ball of the innings.
Barnwell’s 32 lasted 15 balls and was decorated with three fours and two sixes while Foo, who faced just 9 balls, made 24 with 3 fours and a six and at the half-way stage of the match the Stadium looked like a huge Carnival party.
Once T&T slumped to 14-3 it was always going to be difficult to recover especially since two of the region’s most exciting batting prospects (Adrian Barath and
Daren Bravo) were already back in the pavilion.
Justin Gillian (7) was bowled by medium pacer Esuan Crandon, Barath (3) was taken by Sarwan off pacer Paul Wintz and Bravo, a Brian Lara look-a-like , was run out for a duck and the noise level at Providence was deafening.
Lendl Simmons (21 from 22 balls) was bowled by Barnwell at 62-4 before Sherwin Ganga (2) was run out without addition to the score.
Daren Ganga suffered the same fate as his younger brother and his 39 came from 28 balls. Cooper revived some hope for the lads from the Twin Island Republic with some lusty hitting before he edged a cut at Royston Crandon and was caught behind for 42 from just 19 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes.
Steven Jacobs, who took 4 wickets in three overs on Saturday night, removed Kelly (1) before Sunil Narine was run out for 2.
Sarwan said that while his team was happy for a win the whole focus of the two matches against T&T were for practice and experimenting with the batting order and bowling options.
Guyana rested Lennox Cush and brought in Assad Fudadin for Sunday night’s encounter while Richard Ramdeen and Sewnarine Chattergoon were again left out of the starting X1.
Sarwan said that while not yet 100% recovered, both he and Deonarine were almost ‘back to normal’ after experiencing high fever. He added that he was pleased with the batting, especially the finish, in Sunday’s match.
A feature of Guyana’s innings in their 2nd match was the aggressive running between the wickets and the reduced number of ‘dot’ balls in their innings.
The Guyana Captain again thanked the sell-out crowd for their support and said that once everyone pulls their weight in South Africa, Guyana could go all the way after T&T reached last year’s final in India.
President of the Guyana Cricket Board Chetram Singh congratulated Guyana for the win and thanked the T&T players and their board for coming to provide much needed practice for the Guyanese after the South Americans had done the same for them when they qualified last year.
Guyana’s President Dr. Bharath Jagdeo and this country’s Sports Minister Dr Frank Anthony were present at the presentation ceremony and the Head of State was introduced to the new players in the side including the big-hitting Foo.
The Guyanese are expected to depart for South Africa on September 6.
Dec 13, 2018By Sean Devers Guyana Jaguars began their campaign for a 12th Regional First-Class title and fifth in a row with a 126 runs win over the Windwards Volcanoes at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium...
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