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Guyana stumble at tape

Hydn Gill

Guyana stumble at tape

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THE KINGS of comebacks have been all but dethroned as Caribbean Twenty20 champions.
     Guyana, sensational winners from seemingly hopeless positions in three of their previous four matches dating back to last season’s final, just failed to transform another certain defeat into a remarkable turnaround at Kensington Oval on Tuesday night.
     They lost by two runs to the Windward Islands, but it was to their credit that they made the match another tense cliff-hanger after they appeared down and out when they needed 56 runs from 4.5 overs to chase down a target of 139.
     The defeat left the reigning champions in a three-way tie atop Group ‘A’ on eight points with Jamaica and Windwards after their final preliminary match.
    Guyana’s largely inferior net run-rate makes it almost impossible to emerge as one of the two semif-inalists from the group which concludes with a double-header today.
     Guyana, without key batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who returned home to attend to personal business, were in early trouble at 36 for four in the eighth over following the dismissal of captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.
     Even during a fifth-wicket partnership of 42 off 40 balls between Steven Jacobs and Royston Crandon they never appeared to be in with a chance but Chris Barnwell came out at No. 8 to change the complexion of the match by lashing 31 off 15 balls.
     Jacobs looked the part in making 36 off 34 balls but when fast bowler Nelon Pascal knocked him over with a full length ball that earned him one of three wickets, it left Windwards as favourites with Guyana at 82 for six from 15.1 overs.
      Barnwell smashed three sixes, including one of the biggest seen on the ground in recent times with the ball landing on the roof of the four-tier Coppin, Cozier and Shirt Media Centre at the southern end of the ground.
     Windwards struck a vital blow when they removed Barnwell from the last ball of the 19th over thanks to a smart catch by captain Darren Sammy at straight mid-wicket and it sent the match into the last over with Guyana needing 16 to win, one more than they required against CCC last Friday when Derwin Christian was the hero with an unbeaten 40 off 13 balls.
     Christian was at the wicket again but was unable to finish the job this time in the face of an impressive over from left-arm seamer Kenroy Peters.
     Peters delivered one loose ball, a full toss from the fourth delivery which Christian clouted over cow corner for six, but the Guyana’s wicketkeeper/batsman could not snatch a match-winning boundary off the last ball and was run out coming back for a second run.
     The win for the Windwards triggered huge celebrations among the players and looks likely to send them to the semi-finals.
     Even if they lose to Jamaica tonight, it is expected that will have a higher net run-rate than the winners of the 4 p.m. match between Combined Campuses and Colleges and Somerset, who both go into the contest on four points, four fewer than the other three teams in the group.
     Windwards’ effort with the bat was helped by Andre Fletcher’s 40 off 21 balls, along with 26 each by skipper Sammy (16 balls) and Keddy Lesporis (30 balls). While they were able to score freely against the faster stuff, the spin of Royston Crandon, Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo checked their advance.