By Sean Devers (Kaieteur News)
Incisive spin bowling spearheaded Berbice to a thrilling four-run win over hosts Demerara in the opening round of their Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Under-19 Inter County 50-over contest at the Wales Community Centre yesterday and badly exposed Demerara’s vulnerability to spin bowling.
Played in bright sunshine on a treacherous pitch with lots of moisture, especially at the Northern end, Berbice were asked to bat and struggled to 142 all out in 39.1 overs as only Parmanand Ramdhan (33) and Balchand Baldeo (26) reached 20.
Daniel Basdeo (3-34), Sherfane Rutherford (2-22), Malcolm Hubbard (2-32) and Steven Sankar (2-19) bowled impressively on a track which made stroke-playing a difficult task.
Demerara slumped from 121-5 to 138 all out in 46 overs as the home team lost their last five wickets for 17 runs. Ramnarine Chatuia (42), Tagnarine Chanderpaul (40) and Skipper Brian Sattaur (24) all threw their wickets away with injudicious shots as the batsmen were again befuddled by a potent four-prong off-spin attack.
In their three-day encounter Demerara crashed to a 138-run defeat after they had gained first innings points as Baldeo and Sharaz Ramcharran shared eight wickets between them. Berbice, despite losing first innings points, defeated Demerara by 138 runs with only five balls of pace being bowled in Demerara’s second innings.
Yesterday, the only over of pace was bowled by Nial Smith, who was plundered for three sixes in the first over which cost 20 runs as Sattaur waded into the hapless fast bowler on the slow surface to give Demerara a rollicking start.
However, once spin was introduced Sattaur clobbered Ramcharran for a huge six before he again played an irresponsible swipe at a ball which bounced from Ramcharran and was caught behind at 33-1 and his continued poor shot selection is becoming a concern for Coach Gavin Nedd.
Ramcharran, the leading wicket taker in the three-day competition continued to impress as he extracted prodigious turn yesterday; without addition to the score, had Ronaldo Reene caught at slip for a duck.
Randolph Singh (4) then skied a ball which ‘stopped’ on him to cover off Baldeo who quickly removed Rutherford (5) to leave the score on 59-5. Chatuia, who hit four fours and a six played some lovely drives and along with First Class left-hander Chanderpaul who received a succession of balls which spun viciously past his bat, took the score to 121 before Chanderpaul was caught behind by off-spinner David Latchaya after reaching the boundary four times.
The usually level-headed Chanderpaul surprisingly opted to play an ill-advised reverse sweep and the ball rebounded off of his bat onto his chest and was acrobatically taken by wicketkeeper Akim Hinds to start the dramatic collapse.
Urged on by a partisan crowd with included several students of Patentia Secondary School, Demerara slipped and stumbled chasing their small victory target once Chatuia, who like Chanderpaul, was dropped in their half-century partnership, fell to off-spinner Arif Chand at 128-6.
Three of the last four batsmen failed to score with Chand finishing with 4-41. He got support from Ramcharran (2-22) Baldeo (2-24) and Latchaya who sent down five maidens in his 10-over spell which cost just nine runs and achieved a wicket.
Earlier, Berbice lost Martin Singh (7) caught behind off Kevin Paul at 7-1 before Baldeo (26) and First-Class batsman Shemron Hetmyer (19) steadied the ship with a 45-run second wicket stand before Hetmyer edged a catch to the Keeper off Basdeo while Baldeo was removed by Rutherford at 65-3.
Latchaya (20) offered a late order rally with Ramdhan before they were both dismissed in quick succession leaving birthday boy Grisean Grant unbeaten on two. Demerara were without their leading pacer Keon Morris who was denied time off by his employers Hand-in-Hand Insurance Company to play in the one-day version of the tournament.
A disappointed Demerara Coach Nedd said he was worried by the number of reckless shots played by his senior batsmen and the quality of the pitch, which he feels contributed to his team’s loss yesterday.
The competition continues today with Demerara playing the President’s X1 at Bourda and Berbice facing Essequibo at Enmore.