By Sean Devers
Under a clear night sky and flood lights that malfunctioned, a gathering of just over 100 fans watched the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) beat a Cricket Guyana Inc (CGI) X1, led by out of favour Test batsman Leon Johnson, by 59 runs in their first of two practice matches, at Providence on Monday night.
A majestic 66 from 40 balls decorated with 10 fours and two sixes from 24-year-old Brandon King was the highlight of the practice game ahead of tomorrow evening’s clash with St Lucia Zouks as CPL T2O crickets starts at Providence from 18:00hrs.
The Jamaican shared in rapid 88-run opening stand with Guyanese left-hander Chanderpaul Hemraj, who reached the boundary five times and cleared it once in his 44 from 20 balls in just 7.2 overs as Warriors galloped to 210 on a slow track which made hard work for the pacers.
Skipper, Pakistani Shoib Malik, with the experience of 328 T20 matches, stroked a well-compiled 47 from 25 balls with eight boundaries, while a cameo 13-ball 20 with a couple of fours and a six from Trinidadian Nicolas Pooran also contributed to the challenging total.
Pacer Keon Joseph had 2-39 from his four overs for the CGI X1, who struggled to 151-6 when their 20 overs expired.
Trevon Griffith hammered an entertaining 35 from just 15 balls but in a display of poor shot selection which has become a familiar phenomenon among West Indian batsmen, only Tevin Imlach of the other batsmen passed 21 with an unbeaten 38 from 31 balls. Johnson made 21 but never suggested permanence as spinners Chris Green (2-14 from 4 overs) and Veerasammy Permaul (2-32) were the main wicket-takers as they made good use of a spin friendly track.
With Warriors Fast bowler Clinton Pestano conceding 54 runs playing for the CGI X1, the Warriors commenced their innings in explosive fashion as King, who made 77 in his last First-Innings for West Indies ‘A’ against India ‘A’ last month, drove Joseph gloriously through extra cover for consecutive boundaries before a disdainful flick to the square-leg boundary and a murderous pull over mid-off ended an expensive over from the West Berbice quickie.
Hemraj smashed Pestano over cover for four, pulled him for six and neatly tucked him off his hips for another boundary as the runs came fast and furious.
Hemraj, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, watched as King, making his debut for the Warriors after playing for the Patriots the last two years, danced into left arm spinner Gudakesh Motie and effortlessly dumped him over long-off for six.
Hemraj, who played for the St Lucia Stars last year, missed a cross batted shot at left-arm spinner Anthony Adams and was bowled.
Two overs later the Western Lights went down and after 32 minutes, play resumed and King, who reached his 50 from 29 with eight fours and a six, played a loose slash at a wide ball and nicked a catch to wicket-keeper Kemol Savory as Renaldo Ali Mohamed made the break through at 126-2.
Anthony Bramble, used as a specialist batsman at number three hit Joseph to mid-on after hitting a six in 16 to leave the Warriors on 133-3 before Pooran, later used as the Keeper, hit Motie to long-on at 167-4.
Malik slashed Pestano behind point for a boundary before he was caught in the deep off Joseph at 195-5 before Sherfane Rutherford, who had been bought by MI for next year’s IPL in India, was run out for eight.
Robin Bacchus began the reply with a pair of magnificent cuts for boundaries off the expensive Odean Smith.
Griffith pulled him into the stands before hitting over cover for another six and flicking him for four as his three overs leaked 49 runs.
But after Bacchus (12) was caught and bowled by Green at 50-1 and the aggressive Griffith played around an arm ball and was LBW to the Australian off-spinner who operated with impeccable control, Ali Mohamed (4) looked out of place at this level.
The West Indies youth player, played across his first ball and seemed lucky to survive a LBW shout before being comprehensively beaten by a flipper, while a wild swipe off his third ball from Green was skied to mid-off where Romario Shepheard floored the catch.
Ali Mohamed then played an ugly slug at pacer Ben Laughlin and was taken at long-on while West Indies youth player Raymond Perez (1) walked past Permaul for Pooran to effect the stumping.
Johnson, trying to cut at balls too close to him, hit a couple of boundaries but was soon taken at long-on trying to go after Permaul before Imlach and Anthony Adams (15) played positively in the unbroken half century stand in the losing cause.
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