Berbice continued its dominance at the senior Inter-County level by retaining the El Dorado limited-overs cricket title for the third consecutive year with a six-wicket victory against arch rivals Demerara at the Albion Community Center Ground, Berbice, yesterday.
The victory was built on the back of a classy 105 not out from opener Assad Fudadin.
Fudadin flummoxed theDemerara bowlers with his stroke-play at the venue notorious for being the only stadia outside of Bourda and Providence Stadium to host West Indies International matches in Guyana since 1930.
In blazing hot sunshine, the day’s proceedings commenced with hosts Berbice winning the toss and inviting the visitors Demerara to take first strike on the dry-looking surface.
Both sides made on change for the final with Demerara somewhat surprisingly leaving out left-arm, wrist-spinner Totaram Bishun (given the state of the pitch) for left-arm medium pacer Andre Stoll, while Berbice brought in off-spinner Krisendat Ramoo for left-arm spinner Eugene La Fleur.
Demerara’s left and right-handed opening pair of Trevon Griffith and Shemroy Barrington, as they have done throughout the competition, negotiated the new-ball period en route to giving their side another solid start.
However, the consistent disappointing aspect of the partnership continued with Barrington again being the first to depart for a sub-20 score, leg-before to the innocuous medium pace of Berbice skipper Fudadin, to leave to score of 40 for 1 in over number nine.
Griffith was then joined by his skipper Leon Johnson (the leading run-scorer going into the final, with 145 runs from three (3) innings at an average of 72) and the pair began to steady the “ship” during a 108 run, fourth-wicket partnership.
During this partnership, Griffith brought up his half-century off 54 balls.
The innings was decorated with five boundaries, and the team’s total was 112.
With the duo progressing competently at a run-rate of five runs per over, they were separated totally against the run of play in the 31st over.
Johnson on 45 and looking well-set for his second half-century of the series, pushed a delivery from Narsingh Deonarine to extra-cover and set off for a impossible single.
He was subsequently sent back by Griffith, but it was too late, as the return from Fudadin to wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble left him about half a pitch length short of his crease. Three balls later Griffith misjudged the length of a delivery from off-spinner Steven Latcha and was bowled off-stump for a well-compiled 78 (88 balls, 6×4) and suddenly Demerara had slipped to 148 for three, as the momentum swung Berbice’s way.
Enter Guyana and West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul to a crescendo of applause from what was proving to be a sporting crowd.
But, along with partner Vishaul Singh, they got stuck as the Berbice spin-quartet of off-spinners Ramoo, Royston Crandon, Latcha and Deonarine put the brake on the Demerara innings.
Berbice coach Adrian Amsterdam in speaking to this newspaper during the week, had insinuated that his side had a very specific plan to counter Chanderpaul, but was not going to reveal it to the press. He was willing to let the cat out of the bag afterwards as Chanderpaul’s dismissal caught and bowled by off-spinner Ramoo – was the plan.
The Berbicians specifically dropped left-arm spinner Eugene La Fleur, to include Ramoo, since they felt the young off-spinner was a bit of a bogey bowler to the left-handed legend based on recent matches where they clashed.
After Chanderpaul departed at 167 for four in the 39th over, the rest of innings stuttered, with Demerara scoring a further paltry 69 runs in the final 11 overs for the loss of five wickets, to end on a below par total of 236 for nine from their allotted 50 overs.
The aforementioned spin quartet took the wickets with each bowler claiming two wickets.
In pursuit, Berbice had a few early scares as the Demerara new-ball pair of Wintz and Stoll reduced them to 22 for two in the seventh over.
First to go was Richard Ramdeen caught by Kellon Carmichael at mid-on for five off Stoll‘s first delivery.
The batsman got a top-edge and his shot went straight up into air as he attempted a pull shot.
Then, in the sixth over, Deonarine flashed at a delivery outside off-stump and was snapped up by Johnson for just four (4) runs.
That was the be the only period of real ecstasy for the Demerara side, as the rest of the Berbice batsmen in Devon Clements 26 (34 balls, 2×4), Jonathan Foo 43 (39 balls, 3×4, 1×6) and Royston Crandon 32 not out (31 balls, 4×4), batted around Fudadin sensibly in securing partnerships of 79, 75 and 61 unbeaten respectively, that aided the Berbicians in coasting to the target with eight overs to spare.
In a brief presentation ceremony, Fudadin was named both the Man of the Match and Man of the Series.
The Guyana squad based on performances in this El Dorado competition, for the regional 50-overs tournaments, scheduled to bowl here from October 18 – 29 is scheduled to be announced sometime today according to sources.
NOTE to readers: During the competition two bowlers in each side were allowed to bowl 12 overs maximum. Thus is part of the new West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) regulations, that will be implemeted for the upcoming regional tournament.
Trevon Griffith b Latcha 78
Shemroy Barrington Lbw b Fudadin 16
Leon Johnson* run out (Fudadin) 45
Shivanarine Chanderpaul ct and b Ramoo 7
Visahul Singh ct Clements b Deonarine 37
Gajanand Singh ct Foo b Ramoo 14
Zaheer Mohammed ct wkp Bramble b Crandon 19
Paul Wintz ct wkp Bramble b Crandon 1
Kellon Carmichael st wkp Bramble b Deonarine 2
Joseph Perry+ not out 2
Andre Stoll not out 3
Extras (lb 1, nb 1, w 10) 12
Total (9 wickets, 50 overs) 236
FOW: 1-40, 2-148, 3-148, 4-167, 5-192, 6-224, 7-229, 8-
231, 9, 231
Richard Ramdeen ct Carmichael b Stoll 5
Assad Fudadin not out 105
Narsingh Deonarine ct Johnson b Wintz 4
Devon Clements b Mohammed 26
Jonathan Foo st Perry b Johnson 43
Royston Crandon not out 32
Extras (w16, lb 1, lb 3, nb 2) 22
Total (4 wickets, 42 overs) 237
FOW: 1-5, 2-22, 3-101, 4-176