Unsung Heroes Make All the Difference

4th February 2014

When the Sawdust Settles – match reviews

Nagico Super50 Tournament – 6th Match

Zone A: Guyana v Windward Islands, Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Guyana 235-7 beat Windward Islands 213 by 22 runs

The best match of the tournament so far provided excellent entertainment, and good cricket, and a tense finish.

250+ has proved to be the par score batting first in Port of Spain thus far in the tournament, and yet no side has successfully chased down over 200 to win, so Guyana’s under-par 235-7 was bound to be the right sort of score to make an interesting cricket match.

Griffith was dismissed for 0 in the game’s 1st over, but the 2nd wicket pair built a steady base, which perhaps erred on the side of caution, but in hindsight proved to be the match-winning partnership.

Assad Fudadin is few people’s pick as their favourite Caribbean batsman, but I for one think he was a little unfortunate to be dropped from the West Indies side after only a handful of Tests, even if his initial inclusion was a greater surprise. Fudadin’s best quality is to display some of that old-fashioned ‘grit’, and where he lacks flair he does his best to provide application. Perhaps this is the source of his relative unpopularity, but in times of empty cupboards I’m not sure Old Mother Hubbard should be turning her nose up at plain ingredients.

Today, Fudadin was perhaps too slow. His final tally of 51 from 120 balls registering a later ‘hurry up’ in his innings, but he and Guyana need only point to the result. True, if you are going to take that long over 50 in one-day cricket you need to double it quickly to justify the care taken, and this he failed to do. But top level sport is not about the taking part, it is about the winning.

With Ronnie Sarwan, Fudadin crawled along, adding 121 in almost 35 overs. Sarwan’s 62 from 92 balls showed a little more energy, but not much – but perhaps what they both showed, more importantly, was a mature and experienced reading of the prevailing conditions. Having provided the platform, skipper, Chris Barnwell (51) & Leon Johnson (41) were able to attack with freedom, and capitalised to the tune of 84 runs in 9 overs for the 4th wicket.

The Windwards felt they had a chance, and set off at ‘great guns’ in pursuit, knowing they needed to win to stay in the competition, having lost their 1st game to Jamaica. 35 were on the board after 5 overs when Devon Smith (5) departed, and 55 at the end of the 9th when Johnson Charles was bowled by Barnwell. But this was the problem – nos. 2-8 in the order all got in and made more than 15, but none of them got beyond Charles’ 35.

Nonetheless, with just under 8 overs remaining Windwards were, for perhaps the first time, emerging as favourites. An 8-over partnership of 42 between skipper, Sebastien (19) and Mervin Mathew (24) left them needing 36 to win at about 5-an-over with 4 wickets left.

At this point, another undervalued Test player, Veerasammy Permaul made the telling contribution. Firstly, he caught Mathew off the impressive Ronsford Beaton (who was adjudged Man of the Match for his 9-1-43-3); and then he took the last 3 wickets of the innings with a spell of bravely flighted slow left-arm – tossing it up, giving it air, but never being quite there.

It was easily the best I have ever seen him bowl. His 9.4-0-24-3 was the real match-winning performance – but then some cricketers in the Caribbean never get the acclaim or the limelight, even when it’s deserved.

To read ESPN Cricinfo’s match report, click here.

And to watch brief highlights of the game, click here.

David Oram

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