– Hardball final to be played before year-end
Playing with more freedom and comfort in a format they have dominated over the years,
Floodlight Masters turned the tables on the Guyana Media XI, winning the feature softball game on Friday night at the Demerara Cricket Club ground by nine wickets to level the series 1-1.
When the two teams clashed in a 20/20 hardball contest two Fridays ago, the Media boys surged to a commanding nine-wicket victory at the same venue and immediately accepted the challenge for a rematch at softball.
Eager to exact revenge, Floodlight Masters skipper Ricky Deonarain won the toss and without hesitation inserted the Guyana Media XI to take first strike under the newly installed floodlights at the venue.
The decision brought rewards in abundance as the Guyana Media XI crashed to 4-4 by the second over, with the experienced Lakeram ‘Mike’ Singh claiming three wickets in his first over to add to the one Rohan Booj-Raj captured off the fourth ball of the innings.
The wickets to fall were Esan Griffith (01), Jerry Singh (02), Rene Stoby (01) and Navin Budhai without scoring. Orlando Charles and Shahrukh Imran then added 27 for the fifth wicket, but just when the pair was looking to consolidate, Charles fell for two at 31-5. Without addition to the score, Imran who cracked three sweetly timed boundaries in 18, was also dismissed in the sixth over.
Floodlight Masters were sensing an early night, but Keon Blades and Avenash Ramzan then stabilised the innings with a fighting seventh wicket partnership of exactly 40 in eight overs. The pair rotated the strike well and scored the occasional boundary before Ramzan was stumped for 16 (1×4).
Blades, who started to up the tempo in the death overs, was joined by skipper John Ramsingh and the pair pushed the score beyond the triple figure mark, as the Media XI made 109 in 21 overs. Blades topscored with a stroked-filled 38 (4x4s, 1×6), while Ramsingh made 11 (2x4s).
Bowling for Floodlight Masters, Singh claimed 3-10 and Booj-Raj 2-29.
Chasing 110 for victory, Floodlight Masters openers Lalta Gainda and Patrick Khan wielded their willows to good effect, dispatching the white balls to all parts of the outfield.
They posted 103 for the first wicket with Khan blasting 57, an innings that included four sixes and a similar number of fours. Gainda, who ended the game with a six, finished on a stylish 49, inclusive of four sixes and three fours. Rene Stoby picked up the only wicket to fall as Floodlight Masters sealed the win in the 11th over.
At the presentation ceremony, Singh was named Man-of-the-Match, while Booj-Raj was adjudged Best Bowler on the winning side and Gainda, Best Batsman. For the losing side, Blades and Stoby were given a trophy each being Best Batsman and Bowler respectively. Trophies for the game were sponsored by the Trophy Stall.
Before the presentation concluded the two teams decided to settle the score once and for all, and have agreed to play a hardball match in November.
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