Keemo Paul (5-76) and skipper Leon Johnson (99) produced herculean efforts to see Guyana Jaguars scampering to a thrilling 16-run win over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes despite a blistering 100 from Rahkeem Cornwall in their third match of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional Super50 tournament at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua Sunday night.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, the Guyana Jaguars found themselves in unfamiliar territory with veteran batsman 42-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul bowled by Justin Athanaze for just six.
But Chandrapaul Hemraj and Shimron Hetmyer, fresh off a century in the last match, added 50 for the second wicket before a mix up in the middle saw Hemraj run out for 20.
Hetmyer continued his belligerent batting and, along with Captain Leon Johnson added 27 runs for the third wicket before
the free hitting of Hetmyer held out to Jeremiah Louis after hitting the previous ball of Akeal Hosein for a boundary.
Johnson then took up the aggression, reaching his 13th List A half century with a six off Athanaze.
Raymon Reifer played the supporting role as the two posted 125 runs for the fourth wicket off just 124 deliveries. However, Cornwall broke the partnership, dismissing Reifer for 36.
Johnson was next to go. With a century in sight he had scampered four singles inching his way to 99 leaving Anthony Bramble to be the aggressor at the other end.
However, a late push to backward point saw a tired Johnson struggling to make it to the non-striker’s end and the direct hit saw him on his way for 99, his highest score in a List A match.
He struck 10 fours and three sixes as Guyana brought up the 250 in the 45th over.
The aggression continued but wickets kept tumbling with Bramble, 40 from just 20 balls and Sherfane Rutherford, 33 from 22 deliveries helping the Jaguars to a respectable 298-run total.
Set 299 to win, and what would be their highest total in the competition, the Hurricanes were off to a bad start losing Keiran Powell (12), Devon Thomas (10) and Marlon Samuels six, with the score 61-3.
But a fourth wicket partnership of 51 runs between Cornwall and Montcin Hodge, swung the momentum back the Hurricanes way.
Hodge struck five fours and a six before being removed two runs short of his half century but Cornwall continued the assault tearing into the spinners.
The 6 foot 2 inches Antiguan all-rounder added 136 runs with Terrence Ward, bringing the Hurricanes within sight of victory.
Evenly poised, Paul forced Cornwall to flick a delivery to cover where he succeeded only in picking out Chanderpaul.
His innings of 136, included a whopping 10 sixes and four fours.
Jaguars found themselves back in the contest with Hosein and Louis falling to Permaul and Rutherford respectively.
With the match evenly poised, a composed Paul removed Mathews, his maiden five-wicket haul in List A cricket.
Later a deafening appeal by the Jaguars saw Berridge being given out LBW to Rutherford and Guyana had risen to the top of the points table by securing their third straight win.