T&T, Windwards Through to Finals

Fri, Sep 12, '03

 

USA JOHN AARON reports on the Ed Ahmad New York Caribbean Cricket Cup

After an ignominious tournament start the Windwards righted itself to come from behind and defeat Guyana in the semi-final of the inaugural Ed Ahmad New York Caribbean Cricket Cup clash last Saturday.

The Windwards will meet Trinidad & Tobago at Idlewild Park, Rosedale, Queens this weekend to determine this year's champion.

WINDWARDS WIN THRILLER OVER GUYANA

Batting first, Guyana scored 246 for 6 off the allotted 50 overs, the hoghlight of which was an exciting unbeaten 109 Steve Massiah. The USA player's knock included eight boundaries, as he held the Guyana innings together batting at number five. Massiah was well supported by Sunil Dhaniram's 71, with the two building a vital 133 partnership after the top four Guyanese batsmen had fallen for a paltry 29. The victims were S. Ramphal (1), M. Kallicharran (2), H. Hardeo (10) and M. Kingston (1) all failed to make any meaningful contribution to the innings with only West Indies' Mahendra Nagamootoo (28) and skipper Zamin Amin (4*) adding any respectability to the proceedings.

Guyana's wickets fell at 6, 9, 26, 29, 162, and 230 with M. Morgan (10-0-60-3) and L. Peters (9-0-52-2) being the principal wicket takers for the Windwards.

While many of the disappointed fans thought Guyana should have posted a lot more runs on the board it was ultimately Guyana's dreadful catching that cost them a spot in the finals, with seven chances going down untaken by the end of the innings.

The Windwards got off to a somewhat better start, with the first four Windwards wickets falling for 84 runs. Captain Gregory Anthony Blades, batting at number four, succeeded in establishing a positive response although aided and abetted by the Guyanese fieldsmen along the way.

Batting with an obvious leg injury Blades chopped, cut, and slashed his way to an unbeaten 111 which included five fours and six sixes. Looking more impressive on paper than it did in life, the Grenadian was given four chances, including two sitting gifts dropped by Steve Mangru, one with Blades on exactly 50 in the Windwards' 28th over. Blades would later put it very succinctly: "The Guyanese fielders dropping the catches was not my fault. I simply took advantage of those opportunities."

Like Guyana's Steve Massiah, the Windwards captain became the center column of the team's structure, albeit with a few more supporting beams than the Guyanese. T. Ross (34) joined Blades in a 70 run partnership in which Ross reached the ropes three times and hit one towering six over them. C. Telesford chipped in with an important with 25, holding an end for his partner and his team.

Although finding themselves in a tight spot as the overs wound down, the Windwards fought hard, seizing every opportunity to clinch the victory which came with 3 balls and two wickets to spare. Of no help to the Guyanese was the absence of Mahendra Nagamootoo in the later stages on the game, as Guyanese national player had to catch a plane back to Guyana to prepare for the upcoming Red Stripe Bowl.

In the end it was a bitter defeat for the Guyanese, who had so convincingly defeated the islanders in their previous encounter.

The Windwards wickets went down at 32, 47, 67, 84, 154, 198, 213, and 236, with Guyana bowling L. Jackman (10-0-44-2), S. Dhaniram (9.3-0-42-0), S. Massiah (6-0-25-0), M. Nagamootoo (10-1-32-0), S. Mangru (4-0-34-1), and Z. Amin (10-0-61-2) in the innings.

T&T's RAMPERSAUD OUSTS JAMAICA

Trinidad & Tobago beat Jamaica out of the Ed Ahmad Cup Final with a 6-wicket victory which came in no small part off the bat of the prolific Dennis Rampersaud. Rampersaud defied the Jamaicans to score 102 not out.

Trinidad and Tobago won the toss and boldy sent the formidable Jamaican batting line up - featuring USA National Captain Richard Staple and West Indies Leon Garrick - in to bat. Jamaica got off to an uncomfortable start losing the wickets of Staple (26), D. Williams (0), and O. Baker (0) for only 52 runs.

It was left to the diminuative Jamaican opener Leon Garrick to inject some life into the innings with a solid 60, before taking the lbw route back to the pavilion off the bowling of David Williams. Top scoring, he faced 102 balls and spent a painstaking two hours in the middle in his attempt to steady the quickly sinking ship, sharing a third wicket stand of 50 runs with Staple before the latter departed.

With the exception of tailender O. Wright's contribution of 30, the only other batsman to offer much resistance was M. Baker with 27. Wright and Baker put on 55 runs for the eight wicket, before the Jamaican XI finally folded at 182 all out off after 47.2 overs.

Jamaica lost their wickets at 1, 2, 52, 74, 105, 107, 107, 162, 169, and 182, Captaining the side and leading from teh front, former Trinidad and Tobago skipper Dave Mohamed was very impressive with figures of 2.2-0-9-3 and was well supported by G. Phillips (10-1-21-2) and D. Williams (10-1-35-2). R. Toussaint and M. Ramdeo each grabbed a wicket at a cost of 23 runs each off their individual six-over spells. Dennis Rampersaud captured the lone remaining wicket, conceding 42 runs in the process. It had taken Jamaica exactly 3 hours and 25 minutes to post the 182 runs.

Dennis Rampersaud turned up at the crease with T&T's tickets to the finals of the 2003 Ed Ahmad Cup. Following a very successful season with the bat at the club, invitational and Ed Ahmad levels, Rampersaud did not disappoint at a time when his other national team needed him most.

Losing the usually dependable Smyke Ells (5) with only 13 runs on the board must have been of some concern to T&T and cause for celebration in the Jamaican camp. Ells was bowled with a beautiful Yorker from O. Baker, actually snapping his middle stump in half. The quiet but consistent batsman Ells was politely asked to take the broken stump with him when he left the crease. Trinidad & Tobago, though tottering at 68 for 3 at one stage, saw Dennis Rampersaud and Inshan Ali getting together in the middle and successfully laying the stage to pull off the six-wicket victory with 183 for 4, firmly pushing Jamaica out of the finals of the inaugural tournament.

Rampersaud's century included four fours and one lofty six, as he powered his way past the Jamaican bowlers. Though Ali would be caught off the bowling of Garrick for 25, the die had already been cast and captain Dave Mohammed (12*) saw Rampersaud and T&T safely home.

Wickets fell at 13, 20, 68, and 145. Jamaica's only wicket takers were O. Baker (10-0-45-2), B. McLeish (6-0-20-1), and L. Garrick (5-0-23-1), as Trinidad & Tobago used 40.3 overs to overcome Jamaica's 182.