By Sean Devers
The Guyana Cricket Board’s (GCB) Raj Singh Insurance sponsored 50-over under-19 Inter County competition began yesterday and the National under-17s showed better mental strength and held their nerves in their game against Essequibo to get past their older opponents by 11 runs at Wales.
Set 119 to win after they had dominated the U-17s batsman on a slow turner to dismiss them for 118 in 40 overs, Essequibo were solidly placed on 70-3.
However, Skipper and West Indies under-19 player Kemo Paul, well set on 22, lost his head, his wicket and eventually the match, as an injudicious lofted drive off pacer Sylus Tyndal was taken at long-off to trigger a dramatic collapse which saw the last seven wickets falling for just 37 runs to condemn Essequibo to a surprise defeat in sultry conditions in West Bank Demerara.
The U-17s opted to bat after winning the toss and were off to a poor start when Raymond Perez (11) and Adrian Sukwah (4) were removed in quick succession by Paul to leave the U-17s on 26-2.
Baskar Yadram (14) was dismissed by Looknauth Chinkoo at 40-3 and when Gavin Boodwah (11) was stumped off of left-arm spinner Akeeni Adams who also sent back Kevin St Clair (3), the National U-17s were in major trouble at 65-5.
Things got progressively worse for the National Colts when Skipper Renaldo Mohamed was run out for five and Ramnarine Chaturia (10) was sent packing by Keanu Harry to leave the score on 75-7 and although Ashmead Nedd (21) and Richie Looknauth staged a minor recovery to take the score to 102 before both batsmen were dismissed in the space of 16 runs with 10 overs remaining in their innings, it appeared that the run chase by Essequibo was just formality.
Paul (2-20), Adams (4-22) and Harry (2-22) had done their job for Essequibo who lost Parmesh Parsotam (6) and Nathan Persaud (9) by Lunch, but at 25-2, the lads from the Cinderella County were still in charge of the contest.
Despite frugal spells from Looknauth, Nedd and Sagar Hetheramani, Paul and David Williams were picking up the singles at will and seemed to be costing to victory when Williams (18) inexplicable missed a wild swipe and was bowled by Nedd at 62-3.
It soon became 70-4 when Paul, who cover drove Tyndal majestically to the boundary before dancing into Nedd and hammering him for a scorching straight boundary in the next over, gifted his wicket with an irresponsible shot at a time when should have been aiming to bat to the end.
His demise started the slide with Travis Drakes (15) being run out by almost the length of the pitch when Sachin Persaud refused what should have been an easy third run before Persaud recklessly tried to hit the leather off the ball and only succeeded in handing Looknauth, who been switched to that position a ball before, a catch as he went after Nedd, who operated with immaculate control.
Hetheramani, who flighted the ball teasingly, soon removed Mahendra Mahase for a duck and Harry, who played a brainless shot after not getting to the pitch of a cleverly flighted delivery and skied in ‘miles’ into the air. Off-spinner Looknauth, bowling very quickly, wrapped up the match by taking the last two wickets and the Man-of-the-Match award.
Looknauth finished with 3-27, while Nedd and Hetheramani had two each as the U-17s defended their paltry total beautifully although they were aided by some atrocious shot selection by the batsmen.
The competition continues today with Berbice facing Essequibo at Everest, while the National U-17s battle Defending Champions Demerara at the Police ground in the other match.
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