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Guyana And Pakistan Clash In 20/20 Finals

By John L. Aaron

Pakistan with a second shot at securing their first championship title in the Ed Ahmad Cup, in as many weeks, meet with Guyana today at the Floyd Bennett Cricket Facility in Brooklyn, NY in the tournament’s Twenty/20 championship final, starting at 11:00 am.

Showing Some Muscle
Pakistan is hoping that the second time is their charm, having lost last weekend to Trinidad & Tobago in the longer version of the game at Idlewild Park. Playing for the fourth year in the Ed Ahmad NY Caribbean Cricket Cup, Pakistan has shown tremendous determination in reaching the finals of both competitions – a tribute to the players and management staff led by Mohammed Hussein of SA Sports Shop in Brooklyn and the team’s principal sponsor.

Over the years Pakistan like some of the tournament’s other minnows have been fodder for the stronger Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados squads. However, with a great blend of experience and youth the Pakistani team has emerged as a determined group.

Time Of Reckoning
Pakistan defeated Guyana in the 50-Overs semi-final to reach Trinidad & Tobago last week, only to lose to the T&T squad. Now, having defeated Trinidad & Tobago in their Twenty/20 semi-final match, Pakistan finds itself facing off against a strong Guyana team, that is expected to include the in-form USA skipper Steve Massiah, with three first-class centuries to his credit in the past month, “Runs Galore” Sudesh Dhaniram, coming off a near double-century (191) last weekend and several centuries to his credit in the Nassau League’ 2006 tournament, and among others on the deep Guyana batting line-up.
Guyana has a score to settle, after losing to Pakistan a few weeks ago in a match that they should have easily won they would no doubt be looking to win the Twenty/20 championship. In the interim, Pakistan has been growing from strength to strength and despite their loss last weekend to Trinidad & Tobago, Pakistan will no doubt be looking to come out ahead of Guyana in this leg of the tournament.

Need For Speed?
Guyana’s encounter with Pakistan in their 50-Overs clash exhibited a need for more speed or at least more bowlers. The team’s opening pair of Darlington and Bux was less than effective against the hard-hitting Nadeem Younas. In that match-up Darlington was taken off after being shown some amount of disrespect by the burly ball beater Younas. In addition, Guyana was missing Cush, George, Nandalall and skipper Steve Massiah. Four bowlers equally threatening to the Pakistani batsmen.
It would be advantageous for Guyana to use their spinners against Pakistan, as Trinidad & Tobago did effectively last Saturday. The top order batsmen on the Pakistani squad relish pace bowling, but appear more suspect to genuine spin.

Determination and Perspiration
Pakistan, led by Nadeem Younis - a player just a bit over his prime, but still with a keen eye for the quicker ball, has always been a hard-hitter of the ball. However, in recent times, he has been content to open for Pakistan and enjoy the first ten or twelve overs, while dispatching leather to the boundary, before requiring a runner or on his return trip to the stands. Thus taking the sheen off of the new ball may be his role, before turning it over to the younger Pakistani players, who are not afraid to take strike at the middle.

The Pakistani squad has been making some headway into the minds and hearts of the fans, and they are quickly developing a non-Pakistani fan base, solely on their sportsmanship and fearlessness of the stronger squads. Watch for the nucleus of this team to become a greater force to be reckoned with in future competitions.

Who Needs It More?
Today’s match should be an exciting one, as both teams will (hopefully) bring their “A-Game” to the park, albeit for the same of different reasons.

Guyana, because it has been such a dominant force for so many years in the competition and because it needs to regain its respect and win back the hearts of its fans, who have been bothered recently by some of the individual performances.

Look for skipper Steve Massiah, just back from the Americas Cup in Canada and with runs on his bats, to enjoy a solid knock. Andrew Gonsalves and Marlon Kallicharran to impact the batting line-up and Bhim George, if available to add a creditable all-round performance to the team’s effort. Lennox Cush does not qualify for this Twenty/20 championship match, because he was in Antigua enjoying the success of Guyana’s victory in the just concluded Allen Stanford multi-million dollar Twenty/20 tournament, and did not play the requisite number of games in this tournament.

Pakistan, on the other hand, despite feeling a bit dejected from their loss last weekend to T&T, will no doubt still believe in their ability to perform well against Guyana. After all, they have beaten the South American nation’s representative team this year, in the longer version of the game. In addition, what does Pakistan have to lose? They must realize that the odds may be against them, although I am not so sure, given their determination and willingness to attack whatever is thrown at them.

The inherent chemistry in the individual teams and the contest will be the basis for who wants the win this inaugural Ed Ahmad NY Caribbean Cricket Cup Twenty/20 championship.

May the best team win.

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