By Calvin Roberts (Guyana Chronicle)
FOLLOWING their emphatic triumph in the Guyana Cricket Board Inter-county Under-19 three-day tournament last week, Demerara completed the double by claiming the limited overs version yesterday, with a six-wicket victory over the President’s XI lineup at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground. Responding to the President’s XI meagre 148 all out off 43 overs, of which Sunil Singh topscored with 54, Demerara rode on the back of Tagenarine Chanderpaul’s patient and unbeaten 77 (6×4) to score 153 for 4 in reply off 48.5 overs and to cart off the title. Earlier, Singh provided the backbone in a mediocre President’s XI batting display, hitting four boundaries in his 85-ball innings on a slow pitch, after the President’s XI lost Ryan Shun (1) in the second over via lbw to the off-spin of Malcolm Hubbard. Singh and Damian Waldron orchestrated a recovery from the dodgy start with a second-wicket stand of 51 in 14.4 overs, before Waldron 23 (3×4) played across a quicker delivery from Hubbard and was dismissed lbw, as he played across the line to a quicker delivery from Hubbard. Just 5.4 overs later, the President’s XI had slipped to 58-3 when Nick Ramsaroop (1) departed, enabling Ronaldo Mohamed (23) and Singh to stage a mini-fight back by adding 40 valuable runs for the fourth wicket, during which Singh posted his half-century off 83 balls with four fours. However, when Mohamed, who struck Steven Sankar for a six and four, was dismissed by the same bowler, the President’s XI lost momentum, creating relentless pressure on the middle and lower batsmen, as Singh and Avishkar Sewkarran (7) followed in quick succession. The other four batsmen, Vivian Albert (4), Yenkini Favourite (2), Michael Shalim (1) and Matthew Shivtahal (2) failed to offer any resistance to the spin of Cleon McEwan, Chanderpaul, Hubbard and Sankar who took 2 wickets each for 10, 23, 25 and 38 runs respectively, leaving Gavin Moriah unbeaten on 11. Needing to bat six overs before the lunch break, Demerara lost their skipper Brian Sattaur (7), who was caught by substitute Kareem Mentore at mid-on off Moriah, as the eventual victors took the break at 11 for 1 with Chanderpaul on 3 and Renaldo Renee 1. The duo stretched their second-wicket partnership to 77, before Renee who struck two fours in his 57-ball 23, was bowled by Ryan Shun followed quickly by the wicket of Ramnarine Chatura, lbw to Albert for 7 at 104 for 3. Despite the loss of Renee and Chatura, Chanderpaul posted the second half-century of the match off 118 balls with four fours, following which Rudolph Singh 13 (1×6) struck Waldron back over his head for 6, before he was lbw to the same bowler at 136 for 4 in the 48th over. It was the last hurrah for the President’s XI, as Chanderpaul struck Mohammed for two fours in the 49th over to steer his side to victory, finishing unbeaten on 77 with Kemol Savory (2), to round off a painstaking win for Demerara, who made the final despite losing two of their three preliminary round matches. Moriah (1 for 14) was the best returns for a President’s XI bowler, even as Chanderpaul for his efforts was named Man-of-the-Match. At the presentation ceremony, he was the recipient of individual accolades after being named the Best Batsman (206 runs) and Most Valuable Player of the limited over phase of the tournament, with Berbice’s Arif Chan being the Best Bowler. For the three-day phase, Berbice’s Balchand Baldeo was named Best Batsman for his 238 runs, Sankar Best Bowler (17 wickets) and Essequibo’s Kemo Paul Most Valuable Player, having picked up seven wickets and accumulated 234 runs.