PM Softball: Regal Masters, Speedboat retain titles
By Akeem Greene
A thrilling finale gripped the second edition of the Prime Minister’s T20 Softball Cup, which saw Regal Masters and Ariel Speedboat XI retain their respective titles in the Masters (Over-45) and All Stars categories when the finals were contested on Sunday at the Everest ground, Camp Road, Georgetown.
Regal’s triumph over Mike’s Wellman was most the nerve-wracking as it went down to the final over where Wellman required 10, but they could only muster four runs after Regal’s captain and Man-of-the Match Mohendra Arjune capped off a fine spell with figures of 4-28.
Wellman were in pursuit of the 146-5 set by Regal, but stumbled to 140-8 after they were relatively coasting at 115-5. Wellman had several starts throughout their innings, which was top-scored by Jagdesh Persaud with 29 (3x4s; 1×6).
Unfortunately, many of their batsmen lost their wickets cheaply at crucial stages as Regal showed no intentions of throwing in the towel. Lloyd Rooplall (22) and Ramesh Deonarine (21) supported with useful contributions, while Parsan Persaud took 2-28.
Regal’s innings got off to the worst possible start as they lost Eon Abel first ball and then fellow partner Mahendra Hardyal for 11 in the in the second over. The in-form Eric Thomas (07) also struggled and it was until Arjune and former national player David Harper added 65 for the fourth wicket that the defending champions looked threatening.
The duo complemented each other and when boundaries were not coming they found the important singles. After the slow start, momentum was building as they bashed Persaud for 17 in his lone over.
Arjune kept going all guns blazing, as he smashed six fours and a lone six in a rapid 44 from 33 balls. Harper went one step further by reaching his landmark with three fours and four sixes until he fell for 53.
Rudloph Barker came and scored a quick-fire 24 (3x4s) in the middle-order rally. Imtiaz Mohamed (3-17) and Ramesh Deonarine (1-17) were the pick of the bowlers for Mike’s Wellman.
The All Stars clash was more one-sided as captain Wazir Hussain blasted a 28-ball 76 (5x4s; 8x6s) in racing Speedboat to their target of 126 in 10 overs, handing Boots All Stars a nine-wicket thumping.
Hussain, who swept the individual awards, one of which was a brand new Hero Motorcycle for being the player of the final, sparked an electric atmosphere with his power-hitting.
At the other end, Shazim Hussain got a front row seat to the spectacle and played his hand with 32; Anand Bharat was the lone dismissal for 11.
Boots’ innings never got kicking, with wickets falling in clusters, mainly down to injudicious shots.
Opener Keith Fraser made 22, however, it was the lone fight shown by Balram Samaroo in a gusty knock of 55 (1×4; 4x6s) that helped their side reach a respectable 125-9 given they were 87-6 at one stage. Wazir also did the damage with the ball; he took 3-17, while Kishore Smith had 3-24.
Regal won $600,000, while Speedboat pocketed $700,000 and both the runners-up were awarded $100,000. Additionally, Florida/Guyana Hope made a donation of US$21,000 towards local charities and also close to US$15,000 in scholarship grants.
The three-day event featured 24 teams, five of which were from overseas. Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, along with Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan were present at the match.
The Prime Minister lauded the organisers, Georgetown Softball Cricket League, for a well-run event and said he hoped that in the near future, the softball community can produce a national team to go and dominate foreign tournaments.