Feb 28, 2021 Sports
Guyana’s title drought extends to 16 years
Kaieteur News – On the back of the highest total in a final and highest score this season by Lendl Simmons, unbeaten T&T’s Red Force inflicted a crushing 152-run victory over Guyana Jaguars at the Coolidge ground in Antigua yesterday in the final of the CB Insurance Regional Super50 tournament. This was T&T’s first title since 2016.
The humiliating defeat extended Guyana’s title drought to 16 years and further exposed Guyana’s lack of mental toughness in pressure situations.
The 36-year-old Simmons fashioned a magnificent 146 from 145 balls and decorated with 15 fours and seven sixes and along with Evin Lewis, who hammered three fours and four sixes in his 53-ball 57 built a wonderful foundation with a 121-run opening stand.
Simmons also shared in a 100-run second wicket stand with the classy Daren Bravo who made 47 with three fours and two sixes, 67 for the third wicket with Nicholas Pooran, who made a shot filled 39 from just 15 balls with three fours and four sixes and 21 for the fourth wicket with Kieron Pollard, who made a cameo 23 from 16 with four boundaries.
Denesh Ramdin’s unbeaten 27 with two fours and a six carried Red Force to 362 from their 50 overs.
Romario Shepherd had 2-105 from 10 overs in the most expensive spell in the history of Regional 50-over cricket which began in 1976.
The tournament’s leading wicket-taker left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, had 1-43 to take his tally to 17 wickets, while Raymon Reifer (1-53) and Nial Smith (1-59) were the other wicket takers for Guyana Jaguars who responded with 210 in 43.5 overs as only Reifer, who registered his 12th50 with his unbeaten 97 from 112 balls with seven fours and three sixes, but only Motie (28) passed 20.
The 36-year-old Ravi Rampaul (4-52) became the fourth bowler to 100 wickets in Regional 50-over cricket and Jayden Seales (3-40) did the damage with the ball for the Red Force who has beaten Guyana in three finals since 2005.
Jaguars won the toss and Red Force batted first for the first time in the tournament on a small ground and good track for batting.
Simmons and Lewis galloped to 67 in 10 power-play overs with Simmons on 30 andLewis on 35 with the pair blasting six fours and five sixes.
Nail Smith, rested in the semi-finals, started the 11th over with three consecutive wides with the first going for five wides, while Simmons deposited Kevin Sinclair for two straight sixes and a delicate paddle sweep for four in an over which cost 16 runs.
Simmons then hit Shepherd for a six and followed it with a clipped boundary when he strayed on the pads as the 100 was posted in 13.3 overs.
Simmons soon reached his 28th50 from 51 balls with 6 fours and three sixes before Lewis pulled Sinclair for six then edging Motie for three to get to his 17th50 from 41 balls with three fours and fours sixes.
But after a quiet period from Motie and Sinclair, Lewis, looking well set for a big score, played an injudicious shot and lofted Motie high to long-off at 121-1 in 19.4 overs.
Bravo joined Simmons and featured in another good stand. The 200 was posted in 34 overs when Bravo hit left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul for an effortless six before stroked Shepherd majestically past cover for fours before pulling him disdainfully for another.
A double off Raymond Reifer got Simmons to his seventh List ‘A’ ton and second in this tournament.
Simmons, who seemed lucky to survive and LBW shout from Permaul on 102, joined Roy Fredericks, Shai Hope, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Shiv Chanderpaul and Sylvester Joseph as batsmen who scored a century in a Regional 50-over final. Fredericks was the first to achieve that feat when he scored 119 in 1980 in Antigua to lead Guyana to their first of nine 50-over titles.
After Bravo fell to Shepherd at 221-2 in the 39th over, Pooran and Simmons continued to flay the bowlers to all parts of the ground.
Simmons upped the tempo with two sixes and a four off Permaul while Pooran joined in the fun by clobbering Reifer for three humongous sixes, with the first two coming off consecutive balls.
Another gigantic six from Simmons off Smith brought up the 50 partnership with Pooran who lofted Shepherd for six before ‘skying’ him to long-off in the same over to push the Red Force to 288-3 in the 43rd over.
Simmons continued to participate in the sumptuous run feast with audacious stroke-play to post the 300 before he was removed by the expensive Shepherd with the score on 309-4 in the 45th over.
Pollard and Ramdin continued the onslaught and took a liking to Shepherd, strangely kept in the attack by Skipper Leon Johnson with Chanderpaul Hemraj or Chris Barnwell not bowling a single ball.
With the score on 357 Pollard was bowled with the perfect yorker by Smith in the last over as the last five overs leaked 57 runs.
When Guyana began their run chase before Tevin Imlach (5) fell at 17-1 while Hemraj hit two fours and along with century maker from the last match Shimron Hetmyer raised hope of a Guyana fight back by adding 23 for the second wicket.
But once Hetmyer, who smashed two fours and a six in a 12-ball 20 to reach 300 runs, edged a loose drive to Ramdin off Rampaul at 40-2 and Hemraj (14) departed at the same score, there was still hope in the Jaguars when Chris Barnwell and Johnson, both with centuries in the tournament, joined forces.
However, Johnson fell for his second duck in the tournament, Barnwell departed for 5 and Shepherd’s nightmare game continued when was bowled by Rampaul for four the wounded Jaguars were 55-6 in the 10 over.
Reifer (97*) and Motie (28) offered resistance but their 71-run stand just delayed the inevitable.
Motie took the Curtly Ambrose trophy for the most wickets and Hetmyer was the best fielder in the tournament. (Sean Devers)
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