By Royston Alkins
Junior Sinclair (61) and Nigel Deodat (3-18) turned in impressive performances to lead Berbice Combined to a resounding 90-run victory over Georgetown/Mahaicony Combined in the Guyana Cricket Board/Demerara Mutual Life Assurance Society/National Secondary Schools Cricket League semifinal at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, Bourda, yesterday.
The day started on a winning note for Georgetown when Skipper Sachin Singh won the toss and strangely, invited Berbice to bat on a usually flat pitch.
Pacer Omar Torrington, who took the new ball for Georgetown, generated good pace which was carefully negotiated by Berbice openers Sinclair and Alex Algu who took the score and their opening stand to 50 in the 11th over when Sinclair Drove Alphius Bookie down the ground for four then whipped him off his pads for another boundary to reach the landmark. Algu, however, was stumped in the following over off the bowling of left-arm orthodox spinner, Daniel Mootoo, for (20) after he danced down the pitch and missed a big swing.
His downfall brought Garfield Benjamin (43) to the crease and the two carried the score to 105 for 2 in the 25th over when Sinclair was dismissed by Dwayne Dick for a well-crafted 61. Sinclair, who brought up his half century in the 21st over, faced 76 deliveries and struck five fours and a solitary six. Skipper Kelvon Anderson was now at the wicket and along with Benjamin took Berbice to 143 for 3 in the 36th over when Ashmead Nedd had Anderson caught on the long on boundary for 15. Benjamin, however, pushed on by working the ball in the gaps to pick up the ones and twos.
Dick then removed Sean Glasgow for four while Benjamin threw his wick away four runs short of a half-century to give Nedd his second wicket and leave Berbice at 157 for 5. Nedd got his third wicket when he removed Antonio February without scoring. At that point, Berbice were 157 for 6 with five overs remaining. The last four wickets produced 27 runs and they were dismissed in the final over for 184. Left-arm orthodox spinner Nedd, grabbed 3 for 22 from his allotted nine overs while Pradesh Ballashun had identical figures from five overs. Off-spinner Dick grabbed 2 for 35.
Georgetown, in reply, lost the wicket of opener Bookie in the second over without scoring off the bowling of Leon Swammy. Singh and number three batsman Stefon Wilson took the score to 48 in the 11th over before Wilson edged Kevin Umroa to slip for an aggressive 31 which lasted 34 deliveries and included three fours.
The 50 came up in the 12 over but Georgetown soon lost skipper Singh who endured a tough time at the crease before being dismissed by Umron for 21 in the 15th over to leave his side 64 for 3.
Dick strolled to the crease with his side needing 120 runs from 30 overs with much of the responsibility resting on his shoulders. He, however, strolled back to the pavilion without scoring after he played an irresponsible shot after facing three deliveries to leave his in even deeper trouble at 64 for 4.
The side never recovered as they lost regular wickets. The writing was on the wall when Nedd, the last recognized batsman was bowled by Deodat for three to hand the spinner his second wicket. They then lost Nkosi Beaton for (0) to leave the side tottering at 82 for 7 in the 28th over. They eventually surrendered being dismissed for 94 in 33. 2 overs.
Deodat, (3-18) was the chief wicket-taker. He received support from Umroa, 2-13.
Berbice Combined will now face Essequibo Combined in the final at GCC tomorrow. The 50-overs-a-side affair will start at 9:30 hours and will determine the winners of the combine stage of the competition.