By Sean Devers in Antigua
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It is said that when night falls the stars comes out to shine and last Friday, under Floodlights at Coolidge 24-year-Chanderpaul Hemraj and 31-year-old Chris Barnwell were the shining stars as Guyana Jaguars beat Jamaica Scorpions by four wickets in a truncated Regional Super50 Festival game as the Jaguars qualified for their first semi-finals since 2015.
Pulsating music and large groups of flag waving Guyana supporters braved the adverse weather and created a fantastic atmosphere in a game that had three stoppages due to rain and two revised totals after a magnificent century from Chadwick Walton and an explosive unfinished eight wicket stand from four overs had lifted the Scorpions from 205-8 to 254-8 from 50-overs.
The 32-year-old Walton,with two Tests and nine ODIs, hit nine fours and three sixes in his 111-ball 104 and shared in half-century stands with Guyanese Trevon Griffith (21) for the first wicket, Steven Taylor (32) for the second and Brandon King (29) for the fifth before Odean Smith 32 (15 balls, 3×4, 2×6) and Alwyn Williams 27 (17 balls, 2×4, 2×6) finished off the innings in rollicking style. Hemraj (2-22) and Ramaal Lewis (2-36) were Guyana’s most successful bowlers.
In a game of fluctuating fortunes, Hemraj blasted six fours and five sixes in an 86-ball 80 and shared in a match winning 86-run stand with in the inform Barnwell, who followed up scores of 15, 36, 19 not out and 89 with an excellently crafted 73-ball 56 with five fours and two sixes to see the Jaguars, hunting a revised target of 212 from 40 overs, to 213-6 from 38.1. Off-Spinner Pete Salmon, operating with a very suspect action, had 4-28, while Steven Taylor took 2-19.
The Jaguars began their run chase with a flurry of boundaries from 21-year-old Tagenarine Chanderpaul who replaced his out of form father at the top of the order.
Chanderpaul, a replacement from Shimron Hetmyer, began in Hetmyer-like fashion; sweeping Chris Lamont for four, stroking pacer Alwyn Williams for three scorching boundaries in the second over before an imperious back cut off Andre McCarthy galloped to the boundary in the fourth over.
Hemraj blasted Lamont for consecutive fours as Jaguars raced to 50 in the sixth over before Chanderpaul was removed at 68 in the ninth over by Salmon. Chanderpaul faced 34 balls and hit five fours in 27.
Hemraj was on fire, dumping Lamont for two sixes and a four, while Leon Johnson (5) seemed lucky to be given a reprieve for a stumping off Salmon, patted a catch to mid-off, off the next ball as his up and down tournament with the bat continued and the Jaguars were 81-2.
Barnwell got going with a delightful flick for four off Smith, while Hemraj dumped Fabien Allen for six as both batsmen went after the bowlers although Salmon’s spell prevented Guyana from finishing the game much earlier.
Hemraj, in only his eighth match, got to his second fifty before he was stupendously caught, one-handed by a diving Griffith at point off Taylor at 167-3.
Barnwell reached his fifth fifty before he was LBW to Salmon and when Anthony Bramble (1) and Rutherford (1) were removed in the space of two runs by Salmon, the Jaguars had slipped to 195-6 and in danger of once again snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.
However, sensible batting by Adams (19) and Shepherd (5) saw the Jaguars, without a title in the format since 2005, advance to the semis.
Earlier, Scorpions opted to bat first and Walton got going with boundaries in the first over off Shepherd which cost 14 runs, while Griffith pulled Shepherd to the boundary before the next ball was inside edged past the Keeper for contrasting fours.
Walton hammered Paul Wintz past cover and drove him to point for boundaries while Griffith on-drove his DCC club mate for four and whipped him off his legs for another boundary and the 50 was posted in the eighth over. Griffith was removed by Wintz at 54-1 to bring Taylor to the crease.
Walton pressed on gas and hit Wintz back over his head before hitting Permaul for consecutive boundaries to reach his eighth fifty at this level from 37 balls with fours and a six. Taylor was content to play the supporting role before dumping Jamaican Lewis for six and hammering him for four to post the 100 in the 23rd over.
The 21-year-old Lewis and bowling in tandem with Adams put the brakes on the scoring and with the score on 127 Taylor tried to clear long-on to give Lewis his first wicket.
Clever bowling from Lewis, who flighted the ball nicely along with astute Captaincy from Johnson, orchestrated the demise of McCarthy for a first ball duck.
Johnson put Hemraj at forward short leg and Lewis bowled the perfect delivery. Given a bit of loop, it pitched just outside off and brought McCarthy, Jamaica’s leading batsmen in this tournament, forward. The ball bounced, turned, hit the glove and was taken by Hemraj and Lewis was on a hat-trick.
King joined the well set Walton who dumped Lewis for a straight six to post the 150 in the 32nd over.
Walton reached his fourth 50-over century from 101 balls with nine fours and three sixes before he was bowled by Permaul at 188-4, while King fell two runs later to well-judged catch, running back from cover by Johnson as Adams struck.
When Fabien Allen (9) was stumped off Hemraj, Scorpions had slipped from 127-1 to 205 -8. Williams and Smith joined forces to provide plenty of entertainment for the fans as they waded into Rutherford and Shepherd.
The semis are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday with the Final on Saturday.
Scores: SCORPIONS 264 for eight (Chadwick Walton 104, Odean Smith 32 not out, Steven Taylor 32; Chandrapaul Hemraj 2-22, Ramaal Lewis 2-36).
JAGUARS 213 for six off 38.4 overs (Chandrapaul Hemraj 80, Chris Barnwell 56; Peat Salmon 4-28, Steven Taylor 2-19).
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