By Colin Benjamin
Berbice took revenge on their Demerara counterparts atoning for the disappointment of losing the three-day inter-county title last week by securing a tense five run victory in the final round of the 2011 Guyana and Trinidad Mutual (GTM) Under 19, limited overs competition at Providence Stadium, yesterday.
Berbice won the final toss of the competition and true to form kept up the captain’s tradition of the entire tournament and elected to take first strike on the docile Providence wicket.
The defending champions were in early trouble when opener Verapeen Permaul was bowled by medium pacer John Paton (who was making his first appearance for Demerara in the competition), for 5, to leave the score on 9 for 1 in the second over of the innings.
Eleven runs later new boy Paton struck again when he dismissed Berbice star batsman Dominic Rikki who was leg before wicket for 4 to leave the score 20 for 2.
By the end of first 15 overs, which comprised of the mandatory first 10 overs power-play and first five elective bowling power-play overs, Berbice stood delicately placed on 60 for 3.
The third wicket to fall was that of Jamal La Fleur who was bowled by Demerara skipper Kwame Crosse for 11.
Opener Kandasammy Surujnarine at this stage, however, was holding the faltering Berbice innings together.
He duly brought up his composed half-century of 63 balls, which included five boundaries in the 22nd over of the innings.
But after he departed via a wonderful reflex leg-side stumping by Demerara wicketkeeper Denesh Mangal of medium pacer Neil Barry Jr for an eventual score of 62, Demerara seemed to be taking control of the contest.
However, thanks to aggressive sixth wicket partnership of 63 between number six batsman Jamally Odle and all-rounder Clinton Pestano who scored 47 and 40 respectively, along with valiant late ordering hitting and purposeful running by the remainder of the later-order batsmen, Berbice recovered well to post a challenging score of 231 for 8 of the allotted 50 overs.
The wickets were shared fairly evenly amongst the Demerara bowlers, with Paton and Ariff Habib claiming the best figures of 6-0-24-2 and 6-0-32-2 respectively.
Demerara’s reply was initially interrupted by rain for 62 minutes from 2:13 to 3:15 pm with the score on 25 without loss in the sixth over. But that pre-break period wasn’t without drama as, in the penultimate over before the rain delay a comical piece of cricket occurred. Opener Chandrika Persaud stroked a delivery from medium pacer Pestano to mid on and ran crazily to the non-striker’s end, leaving fellow opener Alex Ramalho scrambling to reach the striker’s end, only for the Berbice wicket-keeper Vidal Crandon to disgracefully fumble the return and thus miss an easy run out chance.
After the break, a revised Duckworth-Lewis target of 193 from 32 overs was set for Demerara to claim the 2011 double and an exciting passage of play beckoned.
Demerara response stuttered initially as they lost both openers soon after the break to left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai with the team total on 45 and 63. But when Chanderpaul Hemraj and the dreadlocked Jahron Byron joined forces at the crease, with their side requiring a daunting 129 from 18 overs, they immediately increased the run-rate and it seemed at times, that the pendulum was swinging Demerara’s way during their dominant 95-run third wicket partnership. Hemraj was the more aggressive of the two with Byron content to just run the singles intelligently.
The Berbice fielding appeared to fall apart under the pressure as they dropped Hemraj twice and also committed a procession of school-boy fielding errors.
However when Hemraj and Byron were dismissed within four runs of each other for scores of 59 and 39 respectively, the momentum again swung back they way of Berbice.
When Demerara’s Amir Khan, who was promoted up the order, hammered a delivery from medium pacer Clinton Pestano over mid-wicket for a massive six in the penultimate over of the innings, some 19 runs were needed off the last over.
In the final over Khan was caught on the long-on boundary off the first delivery while Crosse fell two deliveries later as Demerara were only able to score 13 runs in the over.
At the presentation ceremony Essequibo captain Anthony Adams was announced as the player of the tournament.
The selectors also announced the final 14 man squad, along with 4 stand-by players, which will take part in the regional Under 19 competition scheduled to commence right here in Guyana on July 16.
The 14 players named are:
Rossford Beaton, Ricardo Adams, Jamal La Fleur, Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai, Clinton Pestano. Anthony Adams, Amir Khan, Loydell Lewis, Kwame Crosse, Linden Austin, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Dominic Rikki, Kevon Boodie and Kandasammy Surujnarine.
The stand by players are: Kevin Ogle, Vijai Surujpaul, Brian Sattaur, and Tejnarine Chanderpaul.