Guyana's bowlers teamed up for a determined effort to claw out a 22-run win over Windward Islands on Tuesday at Queen's Park Oval. The win meant that both Guyana and Jamaica have qualified for the semifinals while Windward Islands and Ireland have been eliminated from advancing in the Nagico Super50 tournament. With 30 needed for victory in 36 balls, Veerasammy Permaul took three wickets in the space of seven runs to end the match leaving defending regional 50-over tournament champions Windward Islands stunned.
Windward Islands paid dearly for a poor performance in the field and as a result failed to fully capitalize on early seaming conditions after Guyana chose to bat first. Guyana's win was even more impressive considering that Shivnarine Chanderpaul missed the match due to injury.
Delorn Johnson struck in the first over to remove Trevon Griffith without scoring and Johnson should have claimed Ramnaresh Sarwan for nought two overs later but a straightforward edge behind was shelled by wicketkeeper Andre Fletcher. It was a costly error as Sarwan eventually made the game's high score of 62 and built a 121-run second wicket partnership with Chanderpaul's replacement, Assad Fudadin.
The pair focused on survival in the testing conditions at the start of play as Guyana crawled to 20 for 1 in 14 overs. Fudadin was on 8 off 53 deliveries before striking Guyana's first boundary in the 15th over off Mervin Mathew but by the end of his knock he made 51 crucial runs. Their patient stand was vital in the final result, protecting the middle order from deliveries that darted around on an up and down wicket.
Guyana captain Christopher Barnwell and Leon Johnson provided a late burst with an 84-run fourth wicket stand in just nine overs to give their bowlers something to aim at defending. Johnson scored 41 off 31 balls with three fours and two sixes while Barnwell scored 51 in 43 balls before being caught on the final ball of the innings in Guyana's total of 235 for 7. Mathew took 4 for 41 for Windward Islands.
Even though Windward Islands lost both openers in the first nine overs, they kept their run rate moving swiftly as they seemed intent on chasing a bonus point win by reaching the target inside 40 overs. After 11 overs, they were 69 for 2 but the introduction of spin from both ends brought Guyana back into the game.
Devendra Bishoo had been clubbed for a huge six by Fletcher over midwicket in his second over, but won a generous lbw decision two overs later when Fletcher shuffled across his crease and missed a flick to fine leg to go for 17. Bishoo gained a second leg before dismissal two overs later when Tyrone Theophile was late on a quicker delivery to make it 96 for 4 on the first ball of the 21st over.
From there, Windward Islands shifted focus away from chasing a bonus point and moved along at a moderate pace to 143 for 4 in 30 overs. However, opening bowler Ronsford Beaton returned for a key middle-overs spell to bowl Romel Currency, breaking a 59-run stand with Keddy Lesporis. Paul Wintz trapped Lesporis in the next over for 33 to put Guyana back in control at 158 for 6.
Mathew tried to counterattack with a six and two fours and fortune looked to be smiling on Windward Islands when captain Liam Sebastian was given not out on a tight runout decision. Sebastian was on six when he clipped a delivery from Wintz to deep midwicket and ran back to the bowler's end for a third. Wintz appeared to have received the relay throw and flicked off the bails in time, but the best replay angle from side-on was obstructed by Barnwell positioning to backup the throw.
Windward Islands needed 36 off 48 balls with four wickets in hand but Beaton intervened to end the 42-run partnership between Mathew and Sebastien. The breach opened the door for Permaul to spin out the tail. Permaul claimed wickets on back-to-back balls in the 45th to make it 206 for 9. First was Garey Mathurin, who top-edged an attempted sweep off his pads and into the gloves of the keeper Anthony Bramble before Johnson was caught off guard by a quicker delivery to be bowled first ball.
Two overs later, Permaul finished the match when he bowled a fuller delivery that Sebastien was late sweeping to win Guyana's fourth lbw decision of the match clinching a hard-fought win. Permaul ended with 3 for 24 but despite his late heroics, Beaton was named Man of the Match for his momentum-shifting spell and finished with 3 for 43.