Akshaya Persaud hit a polished 116-ball 90 under pressure as Demerara easily defended their Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Under-19 Inter-County One-Day title with a thumping five-wicket win over the Select Under-17 squad in the final on Saturday at the Everest Cricket Club Ground.
Chasing a modest 223-run target, Persaud, who was later adjudged Man-of-the-Match, struck five fours and four sixes and Tavin Imlack (69) stitch a 150-run stand for the third wicket to lay the foundation for the victory.
Demerara eventually reached 224-5 in 47.4 overs on a batting-friendly pitch.
When victory was achieved, Sherfane Rutherford was unbeaten on 43 off 39 balls with three fours and similar amount of sixes and Travis Persaud on four.
Earlier, Ronaldo Ali Mohamed smashed an unbeaten 69 runs of just 32 balls at the far end of the Under-17 innings, hitting eight fours and two sixes, to help his side score a challenging 223-9 after decided to bat.
Mohamed added 74 for the ninth wicket with Richie Looknauth, who contributed only six to the partnership.
The final five overs yielded an astounding 63 runs with Mohamed tearing apart the Demerara bowling attack. He began the onslaught, carting a six and three fours off Travis Persaud in the 46th over.
Raymond Perez and Joshua Persaud got off to a slow start but they batted to a plan, rotating the strike to good effect to add 36 for the first wicket when the latter was removed caught and bowl off Carlton Jacques (1-41) for 18, with the first 10 overs yielded only 45 runs.
At that point Demerara tight bowling and their good fielding started paying dividends.
Perez (23) looked in good touch, but he couldn’t go on, and edged behind the stumps off left-arm medium pacer Daniel Basdoe (3-18).
Basdeo returned for his next over and got rid of Adrian Sukwah in similar fashion without scoring. Timothy McCalmont (2), who had come in to bat at number five, was the next to depart as he attempted a big shot off Malcome Hubbard (1-18) only to find his off stump uprooted.
Bhaskar Yadram added 43 for the fifth wicket with Kevin Sinclair but he never looked settled at the crease. He was out just before the batting powerplay was due, in the 35th over, playing a horrendous stroke and was caught at mid-wicket off Travis Persaud (2-47) for 27.
Sinclair and Ramnarine Chatura exercised timely caution in the Batting Powerplay which yielded just 13 runs.
However, Sinclair made a fighting 35 with five boundaries, while Chatura (15) and Ashmead Nedd (0) were the other batsmen to be dismissed in quick succession.
Mohamed then came out and batted with intent. Rutherford (1-47) and Akshaya Persaud (1-14) were the successful bowlers.
Two quick strikes from Looknauth and Mohamed have left Demerara with a mountain to climb in their chase.
Vivian Albert (1) was the first batsman to fall, leg before wicket to Looknauth, while Ronaldo Renee (2) was Mohamed’s victim, miscuing a pull shot off a well-directed short delivery.
Tavin Imlack and Akshaya Persaud then alleviated the pressure and reduced the threat of a defeat. The pair got together and played sensibly, mixing caution with aggression.
Both the batsmen were content to see off the new ball. The duo kept rotating the strike with ones and twos and punished loose deliveries that came their way.
But once they managed to set in their eyes, both played freely until lack of concentration cost their downfall. Sagar Hatheramani removed Imlack, while and Sinclair accounted for Persaud.
A mixed up between Rutherford and Hubbard saw the latter run out for seven.
Rutherford and Travis Persaud then took Demerara home to safety without further damage, with Rutherford hitting back-to-back sixes off Sinclair to seal the win.
(Taken from Guyana Times)