MEMORY LANE: A decade since Guyana’s historic CLT20 campaign

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By Avenash Ramzan

It seems like just the other day, but it’s already a decade since Guyana participated in the Airtel Champions League T20 as the Caribbean representative in South Africa.

The berth was sealed after the Ramnaresh Sarwan-led Guyana team won the Caribbean T20 in thrilling fashion, thanks largely to a freaky knock from Jonathon Alexander Foo in the championship game against Barbados in July 2010.

In an action-packed final at Queen’s Park Oval, Barbados, on the back of 57 not out from Jonathon Carter, mustered 134-5 with tournament MVP, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, taking 2-14 and off-spinner Lennox Cush, who opened the bowling, bagging 2-47.

From 62-2 at the start of the 13th over and the required rate climbing, Guyana suffered a monumental collapse to 85-8 as the Bajan spin trio Ashley Nurse, Ryan Hinds and Sulieman Benn ripped through the middle and lower order.

Jonathon Foo pulled off a miraculous win for Guyana against Barbados in the Caribbean T20 final in 2010 (Photo: Anthony Harris/West Indies Cricket Board)

Foo, a frail 19-year-old at the time, entered the fray with Guyana needing 63 off 36 balls with five wickets in hand. By the time Guyana lost two more wickets, the equation became 52 off 24 and though the 17th over produced 15 runs, including a six apiece for Foo and Derwin Christian, Nurse picked up his fourth wicket, that of Esuan Crandon.

Nurse completed his five-fer by dismissing Christian at the start of the 19th over, and with 26 needed off 11 balls and just one wicket remaining, Guyana needed a miracle, and that they got from Foo.

The Albion right-hander struck two sixes in the penultimate over from Dwayne Smith to bring the equation down to 11 off the final over.

Boundaries off the first two deliveries from Javon Searles-Canterbury made it three from four, and though Foo strangely took a single off the fourth ball, which saw him finishing on 42* off 17 (4x4s, 3x6s), Bishoo closed the contest with one ball remaining, driving through cover for two off the lone ball he faced on the night.

The victory meant Guyana earned the right to join top domestic T20 teams in the global Champions League T20, copping a spot alongside South Australia (Australia), Lions (South Africa), and Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians (India) in Group B.

Group A comprised eventual champions Chennai Super Kings (India), Warriors (South Africa), Victoria (Australia), Wayamba (Sri Lanka) and Central District (New Zealand).

The Champions League T20 squad

Ramnaresh Sarwan (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Derwin Christian (wicketkeeper), Esuan Crandon, Royston Crandon, Lennox Cush, Narsingh Deonarine, Travis Dowlin, Jonathon Foo, Assad Fudadin, Steven Jacobs, Richard Ramdeen and Paul Wintz.

Notably, Ramdeen was the only addition to the squad that won the Caribbean T20.

Christopher Barnwell topscored for Guyana in the opening match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (Photo: ESPNCricinfo)

Match One: Guyana vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Result: Royal Challengers Bangalore won by nine wickets with 46 balls remaining

Guyana’s first stop in the tournament was in Centurion against Royal Challengers Bangalore, a side that included Indian veterans Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, South African prolific all-rounder Jacques Kallis, fast bowler Dale Steyn, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor and a 21-year-old Virat Kohli.

Inserted to take first strike in Match Five of the competition, Guyana could only manage 103 from the 20 overs with Christopher Barnwell making 30 off 35, opener Sewnarine Chattergoon 18 and Narsingh Deonarine 13.

Kallis was outstanding with the ball, bowling 16 dot balls in his four-over spell and claiming 3-16. Fellow seamer Praveen Kumar took 2-22, while leg-spinner Kumble had 1-10, left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi 1-12 and Steyn 1-23.

Openers Kallis and Dravid then brought all their experience to the fore, adding 78 in 10.5 overs as Royal Challengers Bangalore mowed down the target in 12.2 overs to win by nine wickets.

Man-of-the-Match Kallis ended on 43* (32 balls; 4x4s, 1×6), Dravid made 33 (34 balls; 3x4s) before being bowled by off-spinner Royston Crandon, and Robin Uthappa hastened the win with 25* off eight balls (2x4s, 2x6s).

Post-match comments by Sarwan: “Majority of them (Guyanese players) have never played in these conditions, and it is a learning experience. But we really need to learn fast. We need to.”

Kieron Pollard was at his destructive best for Mumbai Indians against Guyana (Photo: ESPNCricinfo)

Match Two: Guyana vs Mumbai Indians

Result: Mumbai Indians won by 31 runs

From Centurion, Guyana travelled to Durban to face a power-packed Mumbai Indians, led by the ‘Little Master’ Sachin Tendulkar and including Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan, JP Duminy and young quartet Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Shikhar Dhawan and Ambati Rayudu.

Mumbai Indians won the toss and elected to bat, and the opening combination of experience and youth in Tendulkar and Dhawan laid a solid foundation of 82 in 10.5 overs, before Pollard went berserk in the final half of the innings.

Tendulkar made 48 (39 balls; 6x4s) and Dhawan 39 (37 balls; 3x4s, 1×6), but it was Pollard who stole the show, packing nine sixes in a 30-ball ‘highlights package’ that produced 72 runs. His unbeaten knock spurred Mumbai to 184-4.

Leg-spinner Bishoo picked 3-34 and Esuan Crandon 1-44.

Guyana responded with 153-6 with Sarwan making 46 (38 balls; 6x4s, 16), Deonarine 27 (23 balls; 3x4s), Barnwell 24 (15 balls; 3x4s, 1×6) and Royston Crandon 16* (14 balls; 1×4, 1×6).

Bowling for Mumbai, Bravo had 2-18, Harbhajan 2-33, Khan 1-17 and Malinga 1-28.

A young Steven Jacobs topscored for Guyana against Lions (Photo: ESPNCricinfo)

Match Three: Guyana vs Lions

Result: Lions won by nine wickets with 29 balls remaining

It’s on to Johannesburg and the Guyanese are down to face Lions, the South African side, led by opener Alviro Petersen and featuring very few players with international exposure, batsman Neil McKenzie being the most experienced.

Petersen called correctly at the toss and decided to bowl first. His decision was soon vindicated as Guyana lost both openers Dowlin (7) and Chattergoon (4) and Sarwan (21) in the Powerplay.

The 21-year-old Steven Jacobs, batting at number four, led the recovery job, topscoring with 34 (37 balls; 5x4s), and along with Cush 19* (10 balls; 2x4s, 1×6) and Royston Crandon 15 (11 balls; 1×6), Guyana managed a decent 148-9.

Ethan O’Reilly, who rocked the top-order, had 4-27, while Aaron Phangiso (1-15), Craig Alexander (1-30) and Robbie Frylinck (1-38) offered support.

Esuan Crandon removed opener Jonathon Vandiar at 16-1 in the third over, but it was one-way traffic thereafter as Petersen and Richard Cameron hammered Guyana’s bowling attack to give Lions victory in 15.1 overs.

Cameron smashed 78* off 42 balls (5x4s, 6x6s), while Petersen cracked 57* off 38 (6x4s, 2x6s), the pair adding an unbroken partnership of 133 in 77 balls.

Post-match comments by Sarwan: “Not enough runs. Thought we got off to a good start, but couldn’t maintain the momentum. Couldn’t rotate the strike, we got enough boundaries but we need to run harder.”

In the final game against South Australia, Paul Wintz (left) bowled impressively, and Ramnaresh Sarwan (top right) and Richard Ramdeen (bottom right) were among the runs (Photos: ESPNCricinfo)

Match Four: Guyana vs South Australia

Result: South Australia won by 15 runs

Guyana’s final match was against South Australia, led by Michael Klinger and featuring Shaun Tait, Callum Ferguson and Dan Christian. Guyana made three changes, bringing in debutant Richard Ramdeen, all-rounder Assad Fudadin and seamer Paul Wintz for Chattergoon and the Crandon brothers.

Sarwan won the toss and Guyana opted to bowl first. Led by Ferguson’s 55 (37 balls; 4x4s, 2x6s), Cameron Borgas’ 48 (36 balls; 3x4s, 1×6) and Christian’s 23 (10 balls; 3x6s), South Australia put up 191-6.

Wintz was outstanding in the Powerplay, claiming 2-11 from three overs; Bishoo had 2-29, while Fudadin (1-31) and Barnwell (1-39) were the other wicket-takers.

After the early loss of Dowlin (2), Ramdeen was dominant in the Powerplay, racing to 35 off 22 (5x4s, 1×6), before Sarwan and Jacobs produced a 56-run partnership for the third wicket to put Guyana on course for an exciting finish.

However, despite Sarwan batting deep into the innings for his 70 (46 balls; 8x4s, 2x6s), Guyana lost wickets at regular intervals which stymied their chances of closing the tournament with a win. Jacobs made 32 (19 balls; 4x4s, 1×6).

Daniel Harris took 3-33 and Christian claimed 2-20 as Guyana responded with 176-7, their highest total in the competition.

Post-match comments by Sarwan: “We played well today and showed what we are capable of. Unfortunately, could not win though. Pretty similar conditions to back home, just a little more bouncy. We need to build on this. Very happy with Ramdeen and Jacobs, they took their chance with both hands today.”

SMART STATS

  • Sarwan was Guyana’s leading runscorer with 144 runs at an average of 36. His 70 in the final match was the lone half-century by a Guyanese. The skipper was also the only Guyanese to score over 100 runs, with Jacobs and Barnwell the next best with 66 each.
  • First-choice openers Sewnarine Chattergoon and Travis Dowlin mustered only 49 runs in seven innings, striking at 66.2. Ramdeen, who replaced Chattergoon for the final game, made 35 off 22, striking at 159.09.
  • Caribbean T20 hero Foo produced just 16 runs from 22 balls in four innings. He batted at number seven for the first three games and at six in the final contest. There were suggestions he could have been pushed up the order in crunch situations.
  • Leg-spinner Bishoo was Guyana’s leading wicket-taker with five wickets. He also had the best bowling figures of 3-34.
  • Seamer Wintz had the best economy rate (8.14) by a Guyanese.

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