MEMORY LANE: The title-winning hundred that landed Chattergoon in hospital

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By Avenash Ramzan

October 16, 2005.

It’s almost a decade and a half ago, but memories of that day are still fresh in the mind of Sewnarine Chattergoon.

A packed Bourda (the last day it really had that many spectators for a regional game in Guyana), drenched in brilliant sunshine hovering over two of the best teams in the region and some of the finest cricketers of that time, had all the ingredients of mega showdown.

And so it turned out to be, between regional powerhouses Guyana and Barbados in the championship game of the KFC Cup 50-over tournament.

With his more illustrious countrymen, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, having a rare off-day, the diminutive ‘Chatts’ stood tall, battled hard on an empty stomach (yes, you read right, an empty stomach) and scored a magnificent, title-winning hundred.

It was a knock for the ages, one that proved the ultimate difference between the two sides, which boasted over a dozen players who had already or would later play international cricket.

But instead of celebrating the success with his teammates, the opener had to be rushed off to a city hospital immediately after the game, suffering from a serious bout of dehydration, after spending almost the entire day on the field.

He would spend the entire night in medical care.

SCOREBOARD: https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8792/scorecard/222302/guyana-vs-barbados-kfc-cup-2005-06

“I didn’t eat lunch that day,” Chattergoon recounted with a chuckle.

It is something he can reflect on now with a sense of accomplishment and bravado, but at that point it was a risk, one which a courageous 24-year-old, with ‘fire in his belly’, was willing to take against one of the better bowling attacks in the region at the time.

His reason for missing lunch was simple; he would usually feel bloated and “sluggish” after eating. That aside, “I was excited to go back out,” he related.

By this point, he had already spent 50 overs on the field, as Barbados, sent in to bat by skipper Chanderpaul, posted a solid 249-8, built on an opening stand of 104 in 26.3 overs between Martin Nurse and Kurt Wilkinson, who were the principal scorers with 63 and 43 respectively.

Middle-order mainstays Ryan Hinds (41) and Floyd Reifer (34) consolidated on the foundation, as Guyana’s spin twins, leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo (3-53) and left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell (3-57) stood out with the ball.

A target of 250, considered huge those days, was always going to an enormous challenge, but Guyana had a quality batting line-up, led by an in-form Sarwan, who had already racked up three centuries in the competition.

What made the second half of this contest intriguing though, was that the Bajans had an equally impressive bowling attack- some had already played international cricket and others would eventually do so.

The Bajans were not short of options with Ian Bradshaw, Corey Collymore, Fidel Edwards, Tino Best and Sulieman Benn being the frontline men, and Hinds and Dwayne Smith providing support.

No doubt, at the halfway mark, Courtney Browne’s men had harboured thoughts of silencing a partisan Bourda crowd, and that they almost did. Had it not been for a Chattergoon special, followed by moments of drama gone right for Guyana in fading light, the KFC Cup was surely heading to Bridgetown.

Seven months after his Bourda heroics, Sewnarine Chattergoon made his ODI debut at the same venue (Photo: Getty Images)

‘Chatts’ blocks out the chatter

Chasing such a target required sensible batting upfront and Chattergoon and his long-time partner Krishna Arjune answered the call by laying a solid platform for the home side. The pair batted together for 20.5 overs, adding 92 to put Guyana on course for victory, before the Arjune fell for 34 off 60 balls.

The stage was set for Sarwan to build on what he had already achieved in the tournament, and that may have been a cause for concern for the Bajans. However, Sarwan’s West Indies teammate Collymore lured the right-hander into the drive and Benn made no mistake at cover.

Sarwan gone for five; Guyana 102-2.

Notably, it was Sarwan’s lone failure in the tournament as his previous five innings yielded three hundreds and two fifties. He eventually finished as the competition’s leading runscorer.

Two overs later, Collymore struck again, removing the experienced Chanderpaul for five, with the umpire ruling the skipper had nicked one through to wicketkeeper Browne.

Suddenly, in the space of six overs, Guyana had slipped from the comfort of 92-0 to a wobbly 119-3, and the Bajans were in with a chance.

In came Narsingh Deonarine, and as Chattergoon recalled, the sledging began, as the Bajans felt they were in with a real opportunity of upstaging the Guyanese on home soil.

Though he does not remember exactly what was said, Chattergoon said the chatter came primarily from Best and Benn.

Getting flustered was not on Chattergoon’s cards though, as he started to get the feeling that once he was there, and Guyana had the cushion of a long batting line-up, the game was far from over.

“I just ignored what they were saying, because that’s all part of the game; I already had a good start, so it was a just a matter of building on it. We needed a partnership at that stage and luckily ‘Nar’ came in and batted well,” Chattergoon reflected.

The two Albion left-handers proceeded to rebuild the innings, consistently picking the gaps, running the ones and twos and hitting the occasional boundaries. During the course of the partnership, Chattergoon brought up what turned out to be his second and final List A hundred.

By the time Deonarine was dismissed for a brisk 34 off 37 balls by Benn, cutting to Best at short third-man, Guyana were 209-4.

A free-flowing partnership of 90 in 89 balls brought Guyana back into the contest, and with 41 needed off 55, six wickets in hand and Chattergoon in full flow, it seemed a done deal.

Swift collapse

However, what transpired over the next five overs would send Bourda into a frenzy as wickets started to tumble and the light began to fade.

Benn struck a telling double blow, bowling Lennox Cush for nine and having Assad Fudadin stumped for one, before a tiring Chattergoon dragged on an Edwards delivery, ending a magnificent knock of 119 off 140 balls (14x4s).

A solid position of 221-4 swiftly became dicey at 225-7, and the game was on a knife’s edge with 25 required off 28. Rapidly fading light added to the drama, not just in the middle, but in the stands as every single spectator was engrossed in the action and Bourda was at its noisiest best.

McGarrell and Derwin Christian, both capable with the bat, ran every run like their life depended upon it, and by the time the umpires Billy Doctrove and Norman Malcolm decided to call off the contest because of bad light, with exactly one over remaining, Guyana were seven runs ahead on the Duckworth/Lewis method.

It was the 49th over that really turned the game in Guyana’s favour, as McGarrell went after Benn, hitting the lone boundary of that unbroken, run-a-ball partnership of 22 with Christian, and picking up valuable runs that pushed the hosts over the line.

“Worth it”

“It was a great game and a great win,” Chattergoon told News Room this week.

“Unfortunately, I had to go to the hospital after because I was drained. I was the only player so long on the field, almost the entire match, and I didn’t eat, so that made it worse.”

“I was dehydrated, but looking back now, it was all worth it in the end.”

“It was my best innings no doubt, because Barbados had a very good bowling attack at the time. To get runs against them in a final and win in front of all those people was a great feeling.”

Chattergoon spent 95.2 of the 99 overs of the game on the field that day. His monumental effort not only handed Guyana a famous win, but an ODI debut seven months later, in what was incidentally the final international match at Bourda.

He would go on to play 18 ODIs and four Tests before his career ended in 2014.

Notably, the 2005 success remains the last time Guyana has laid hands on the regional 50-over title.

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