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Pakistan KO’s Guyana, Despite Two Tons

By John L. Aaron
Pakistan delivered a knockout punch to Guyana in the closing seconds of the twentieth and final round of their Twenty/20 semi-final clash, last Saturday at Idlewild Park in Queens, NY. The late uppercut sent Guyana flying through the ropes and soon after the often star-studded squad appeared to be winning points in the eyes of the judges at ringside, in the reduced 45-over affair.

The Glorious Uncertainty
Cricket as they say is the game of glorious uncertainty and last week was no exception, as Pakistan appeared to sneak up behind Guyana to deliver the knockout punch that dashed any hope the South American nation’s representative team had of becoming this year’s Ed Ahmad New York Caribbean Cricket Cup 50-Overs champion. It is also said that catches win matches, however, in the case of Pakistan it was the reversal of fortune as the Nadeem Younas XI dropped close to a dozen catches, yet was able to hold on to defeat a Guyana team with not one, but two centurions.

Setting the Pace

Batting first, Pakistan displayed every indication that they were on the hunt for runs from the opening bell and against the Guyanese batting machinery, despite the absence of in-form skipper Steve Massiah and recent Caribbean 20/20 heralded millionaire Lennox Cush.
After losing their first wicket with only seven runs on the boards, skipper Younas ignited and landed several body shots to the Guyana bowling attack, dispatching the ball to the boundary no less than six times and lofting it over the ropes three times for an electrifying 47 off a bit more than 20 deliveries, before being caught off the bowling of acting skipper Zamin Amin. Younas’ departure saw a momentary lull in Pakistan’s scoring. However, with 67 (4x6) off the bat of Mohammad Shabaz and 65 (5x6 and 3x4) from Arif Adil, Pakistan would reach a comfortable 279 in 44.5 overs.
Zamin Amin and Sudesh Dhaniram each with three wickets for 47 and 71 respectfully were Guyana’s best offers. H. Harrynarine with 2 for 38 off nine overs was supportive. The Pakistan attack of the willows effectively knocked openers Kevin Darlington and Khaleem Bux out of the box with combined figures of 17-3-98-1. Bux is credited with the lone star wicket of Pakistani opener Malik Razaq.

Pulling Up Short

In the end Guyana sure lacked the requisite horses to choke Pakistan and must have missed the arms of Bhim George and Nandalall, along with Lennox Cush. The latter was away in Canada battling for his adopted country – the US of A in the Americas Cup. Guyana, known for its depth of batting and bowling, would have no doubt liked to have had skipper Steve Massiah, Lennox Cush and Bhim George in their batting line-up. The trio may have made a big difference in the attack against the Pakistani bowlers.

Centurions at the Gate

Guyana in response and chasing its shadow at 6.27 per over got off to a disastrous start losing Marlon Kallicharran for 4 and Leroy Kingston for a similar amount not long after. However, their departure and the Guyanese fans barely able to pick their jaws up off the ground, saw the hard-hitting Sudesh Dhaniram join opener Andrew Gonsalves in the middle and quickly restored some respectability to the Guyanese batting and a bit of color to the cheeks of their supporters.
Gonsalves was over due for a big innings and he must be credited for taking the attack to the artful bowling of the Pakistani’s and their preponderance for juggling balls placed squarely in their palms. Together Gonsalves and Dhaniram would seek to demoralize the Pakistani bowlers and create doubts within their minds and those of the sparse group of Pakistani supporters.
Gonsalves belted his way to a fine 105. His century included 5x4’s and 4x6’s. At one time he smacked four successive boundaries and later two successive sixes, much to the delight of the fans and the many Guyanese supporters. While on his way there, Dhaniram was earning similar respect at the other end, smashing 108 with 7x6’s and 3x4’s. The two batsmen punched knuckles in the middle so many times; there must have been bruises under their gloves. However, with the departure of the duo within minutes of each other, the pressure was on Guyana to complete the task at hand.
Enter the indefatigable Zamin Amin at number five and Guyana kept its hope alive. However, with the quick departure of Bux, stumped off the bowling of Hunan Munir 00, wicket-keeper Vishal Nagamootoo, 6, Guyana was crumbling and crumbling rapidly. In the end, despite Amin’s last stand and not out on 17, along with Tamesh Balwant’s 5 n.o., the bell was rung at the 45 over mark and Pakistan started the celebration, in anticipation of meeting the winner of the Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago clash, some fifteen miles away at Floyd Bennett Field.

Farewell Trumpet

Guyana’s 274 for 6 in 45 overs were six runs short of victory, despite two centurions at the gate and Pakistan practicing poor juggling skills. The longest mile is the final mile and also the hardest mile. Guyana was winded in the final two overs and this time would not pull out the miraculous come from behind victories they had grown accustomed to over the years.

Trinidad & Tobago Rally Against Jamaica

Trinidad & Tobago knocked out of the Twenty/20 by Pakistan, would have no where to hide, because here comes Pakistan again in the 50-Overs final against Trinidad & Tobago.

Jamaica Lands Short and Late
Battling at the Floyd Bennett Cricket Facility in Brooklyn, the other semi-final 50-Overs clash got of to a late start as Air Jamaica landed late and without the requisite number of eleven passengers aboard. However, the game with Jamaica fielding only nine players, too off with a fantastic start with a 134-run opening partnership between C. Walton, with a patient 94 (4x4’s and 1x6) and O. Powell, 68 (7x4’s and 1x6). Unfortunately, Walton was denied his century being run out by one step and six runs short. Except for C. Clarke 22, no other Jamaican batsman showed any defiance to the T&T bowling attack of Denis Rampersad, Denzil James and Glen Lorick, who each grabbed two Jamaican scalps.
Jamaica’s 238 for 7 in 35 overs with a 6.8 runs per over rate must have been encouraging to the T&T posse, as openers Kerwin John and Samuel went after the bowling of the Jamaican open duo of Adams and Clarke. Though John would only post 16 runs, his partnership with the attacking Samuel, 65 (6x4’s and 2x6’s) was enough to place doubt in the mind of the Jamaican team. However, when the much-feared Denis Rampersad was caught and bowled by Walton, there was hope at the end of the tunnel for Jamaica who was toiling with two men short. Darryl Roopchand, 66 (5x4’s and 2x6’s) stabilized the T&T middle along with Denzil James, 35 not out.
Eventually James and Dave Mohammed, 19 n.o. would see it home for Trinidad & Tobago at 239 and the 33.4 over mark, for the loss of only five wickets.

Reunited in Love

Trinidad & Tobago earned the right to meet Pakistan in the final of the longer version of the game, having lost to the East Asian squad in a rematch of an abrupt ended clash at Idlewild Park a few week ago. Now the two are reunited for the longer version of the game, which at press time was in a holding pattern pending the outcome of the predicted torrential rainfall expected to hit the New York metropolitan area over the weekend.
According to Krish Prasad, Chairman of the Cup Committee, a contingency plan is in place to play the match on Monday, September 4 at either Idlewild Park or Floyd Bennett field. If that plan fails, the game would be played on Saturday, September 16 at a venue to be announced later.

How Sweet It Is
Pakistan after only a short while in the competition, finds itself in both finals of the tournament, having defeated Trinidad & Tobago in the Twenty/20 format and Guyana in the 50-Overs format, will now meet Guyana in the Twenty/20 format and Trinidad & Tobago in the longer version of the game.
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