Keemo Paul played a superb captain innings, guiding Essequibo out of the brinks of defeat to a comfortable victory in the second round of the GCB/HIH Under-19 50-Overs Inter-County Competition at the Everest Cricket club ground.
Paul smashed a 120-ball 156 and added 147 with Leslie Allen for the eight-wicket in 15.2 overs as they helped Essequibo reach a mammoth total of 231-8 in 44 overs.
Essequibo won the toss and elected to bat first on a surface that seem to contain some moisture, depicting the expectation that the pitch will favor the bowlers at least during the first hour or two of the match. As was expected, the select Under-17s capitalized on Essequibo generous offer of inviting the select Under-17s to bowl first, in having Essequibo reeling at 74/8.
Essequibo batting misfortune started in the fourth over, Nathan Persaud was run out for duck, with the score on eight. Mark Williams and Siddiq Mohamed then cautiously took the Essequibo score to 36 before Mohamed was caught off leg spinner Tameshwar Motiram. The fall of Motiram also brought the pending rains, whose clouds had covered the ground for most of the morning.
On resumption from the rain interrupted break, the select Under-17s bowlers made further inroads to the Essequibo batting lineup, by dismissing Mark Williams, who was caught first slip off Motiram for 13 and Sachin Persaud caught behind wicket off medium pacer Collin Barlow.
Keemo Paul and Akinie Adams then took the score to 62 before left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd removed Adams for four and Jonathan Fernandes for one. Tameshwar Motiram then bowled Looknauth Chinkoo for a duck, while Kevin Sinclair had Miguel Jones adjudged LBW for six, to leave the score 74/8.
However, it was Keemo Paul’s heroics that propelled Essequibo to a seemingly unassailable score of 231/8 off their allotted 44 overs, which was reduced before of loss of play due to rain, A ninth wicket partnership of 147 of which Keemo Paul contributed a massive 140 of his unbeaten 156 and his able partner Allen seven not out. Paul’s century came in 105 balls, and was attained in demanding style with three consecutive sixes, and his 150 off 119 balls.
Bowling for the select Under-17s, leg-spinner Tameshwar Motiram grabbed 3-21, Ashmead Nedd took 2/15, while Collin Barlow and Kevin Sinclair took one wicket apiece.
In response, Bhaskar Yadram and Sachin Singh added 34 runs before Singh retired hurt on 16. Reyon Venture, then joined Yadram but was soon dismissed caught and bowl off Chinkoo without scoring. Adams then removed Yadram for 19 before Chinkoo took the wickets of Steve Deonarine for 5 and Sinclair for duck with consecutive deliveries to leave the score at 55/4.
Singh resumed his innings on the fall of Sinclair’s wicket, and helped in adding 53 for the fifth-wicket with Persaud. However, their hopes of an outside victory eventually diminished when Adams comprehensively bowled Singh for 39.
The select Under-17, then seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the ever increasing and elevated task, and as a consequence lost their last five wickets in quick succession for just 24 runs, as their batsmen Sagar Hetheramani, Persaud, Ashmead Nedd, Tameshwar Motiram and Joshua Jones were only able to make 10, duck, 1, and 14 respectively, to end the select Under-17s innings at 175, giving victory to the Essequibo by 56 runs.
Over at the Wales Community Centre ground, the encounter between defending champions Demerara and Berbice was called off without a ball being bowled due to continuous rain.
The third round is slated for Friday, 29 April 2016. The select Under-17s will go up against Demerara at GCC ground while Berbice will take on Essequibo at DCC ground. Both matches start at 9:30 hours.