Essequibo kept their title hopes alive when they completed a nail-biting win over the President’s XI with Man-of-the-Match Gladwin Henry bagging 4-9 and Ronaldo Scouten clobbering 40 in the second round of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)/ Dave West Indian imports Inter County Under-15 tournament.
Playing on the Tuschen Sports Club Ground, yesterday, Essequibo won the toss and sent the President XI in to bat with an eye on the overcast conditions and scored 81-8 to which Essequibo replied with 82-5.
The President’s XI openers Budesh Persaud and Mahendra Gurdyal began steadily before Ken George trapped Persaud lbw for just five while Alvin Mohabir was removed by Henry as the rains came down with President XI on 17-2 from surprisingly 17.5 overs, only nine runs coming from the bat.
A three-hour delay caused the match to be reduced to a 32-overs-a-side affair mainly due to sloppy work from the groundsmen. This triggered much disgust from the scattered spectators that turned out to back their respective teams.
Play resumed at 14:15h but the delay proved fatal to the President’s XI captain, Tathesh Shivrattan (0), who pushed the first ball upon resumption back to Henry to set the tone for the rest of their innings. Aryan Persaud scored just two while Shreedat Roopnarine made nine.
Chandra Saffie joined Gurdyal and the pair looked to help their team post a respectable total but Gurdyal fell for 16, Henry’s fourth victim.
Saffie continued his composed innings and was joined by Yohance Angoy, the pair adding 35 precious runs as their team ended on 81 from their allotted overs. There were 17 extras.
Henry led the bowling unit with his six overs going for a mere nine runs while Ken George and Raynard Roopnarine collected two wickets apiece.
Essequibo’s chase began shakily as they lost Ramroop without scoring but special knocks from Jarrad Allicock and Ronaldo Scouten took the match away from President’s XI.
A contrasting innings by the young men showed what the future of the country had up to offer.
The brutal Scouten and the patient Allicock coasted along in a partnership filled with belligerent hitting, strike rotation and good understanding between the pair.
Scouten began his assault by smashing Avick Ramdial for four sixes in one over, three of them over the bowler’s head and two nearly clearing the compound. He followed up with back-to-back fours as he raced to 40 from just 38 from 27 balls.
Meanwhile, Allicock blocked and rotated the strike to his big hitting partner as he anchored the innings before the rain once again interrupted the match at the score 47-1 in 10 overs.
With all eyes on the weather Essequibo, desperate for a win probably prayed the skies to clear as 20 overs were required for a match to be completed.
However, only two overs were lost and the revised total was 82 runs from 30 overs, gettable at the rate they were going. But a loose shot from Scouten accounted for his wicket while Allicock watched Royan Atkinson fall to the same shot.
With Essequibo just 10 runs away Allicock fell after facing a massive 78 deliveries for his 14 runs. Ken George joined Mahendra Basdeo but lasted only one ball.
With the pressure mounting and wickets tumbling it boiled down to nine runs from three overs.
A misfield accounted for two runs while a cover drive saw the pair running two but coming short on a run, a clear sign of pressure on the batsmen.
However, when Mitra Dhanraj tossed the penultimate delivery of the over in the air Basdeo chipped down the wicket and lofted Dhanraj into the sightscreen, sealing the win.