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Guyana Dismisses Pakistan in 20/20 Final
Pakistan Fails In Second Attempt To Be 2006 Champs

Bhim George
(Photo by Shiek Mohamed)

By John L. Aaron
Guyana made light work of a hapless Pakistan XI last Saturday, defeating the latter by three wickets to secure the Ed Ahmad New York Caribbean Cricket Cup’s 2006 Twenty/20 championship. Led by USA national skipper Steve Massiah, Guyana made no mistake in repeating the loss at the hands of the Pakistani’s in their earlier 50-Overs semi-final clash.

Winning the toss and inviting Pakistan to take first strike, the Guyanese bowlers did everything to dislodge Pakistan’s greatest missile threat – the burly hard-hitting, but modest Nadeem Younas. Younas dominated the Guyanese bowlers and his team’s batting line-up, scoring 59 of the team’s 118 for 9 total. Younas’ knock included 4x4’s and 6x6’s in exactly one hour and off of 50 deliveries. The only other Pakistani batsman to reach double figures was wicket-keeper Razzaq, with 17, as the much-feared young batting machinery failed to show up for the final dance. It was Pakistan’s second attempt in as many weeks to secure one of the two Ed Ahmad Cup championships, having lost to Trinidad & Tobago one week earlier in the longer version of the game.

The first five Pakistani wickets fell for 93 runs as the batsmen struggled against the Guyanese spinners, depending on their skipper Younas to bully the bowling. With Younas departing as the sixth wicket to fall and the score on 101, Pakistan depended on its remaining four batsmen to add some respectability to the total. However, the Guyanese bowler had other ideas. Bhim George was the pick of the crop, trapping four Pakistani batsmen in his four overs at an average of 4.5 runs each.

Guyana’s wicket-keeper Vishal Nagamootoo had an exceptional day behind the stumps with three spectacular stumping dismissals and earning him a monetary reward from Ms. Nalini Singh of First Funding. Among his three scalps was that of Amjad Khan off the very first ball faced by the prolific batsman. Khan was caught reaching for one and was somewhat stunned by the quickness of the former Guyana national keeper.

Pakistan’s wickets fell at: 13, 55, 58, 93, 93, 101, 102, 106 and 106. Apart from Bhim George’s figures of 4-0-18-4 which helped earn him the MVP award, Zamin Amin and Harry Harrynarine each grabbed two wickets for 15 and 17 runs respectively off their allotted 4 overs each.

Guyana in reply to Pakistan’s 118 for 9 off 20 overs, opened with Andrew Gonsalves and Marlon Kallicharran. At the 23-run mark Kallicharran departed with nine runs to his credit c. Juamshed b. Zafar. Guyana skipper Steve Massiah despite looking very comfortable was bowled by Afzal when on 10. Despite the early losses, it should have only been a matter of the remaining Guyanese batsmen applying themselves to overcome the modest total posted by a disappointing Pakistani XI. However, the Guyanese batsmen appeared to be very complacent and quickly lost four wickets for 99 runs. Dhaniram and Mahadeo in the middle of the order quickly posted 27 and 26 to reinforce doubt in the minds of Pakistan and deny them a shot at the second of the two titles they craved for 2006. With the exception of Dhaniram, none of the Guyanese batsmen exhibited any dominance a la Younas, struggling to get on top of the bowling and bring an early end to the championship game.

Guyana’s wickets fell at 23, 48, 51, 94, 107, 110 and 115. Pakistan’s M. Zafar had 2 for 20, H. Munir 2 for 27 along with M. Shabaz 1 for 16, M Naeem 1 for 18 and R. Afzal 1 for 20.

In the end it was the crafty bowling of the Guyanese spinners that secured the victory for the South American country’s representative XI. The other bowlers used by Guyana were K. Nandalall 0 for 17 and S. Dhaniram who had an awful day with the ball, as he was blasted for 50 runs off his 4 overs, mostly by Nadeem Younas who showed no respect to the all-rounder.

Guyana reached 119 for 7 off 19.3 0vers and in exactly the same one and one-half hours that Pakistan occupied the crease, in their losing cause.

As stated in these columns before, the 2006 Ed Ahmad Cup was made livelier by the presence of the Pakistan XI, more so by the batting exhibitions of former Pakistani first-class player Nadeem Younas, who electrified the crowd with his power-hitting. However, outside the batting prowess of Younas, Team Pakistan has announced its presence at the tournament by this year’s performances against the more established teams, such as Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. With the young squad beginning to grow as a team, the other competitors may well be hard pressed to easily dismiss the Asian nation’s representative team in future Ed Ahmad tournaments.

Umpires Steve Kalloo and Leonard Jack-Persaud officiated in the game that was carried live on WICR 1620AM radio, with cricket broadcasters Lenny Achibar and Carl Bennett keeping the crowd in the game with some colorful ball-by-ball commentary.

Before the start of the game the players and those present observed a moment of silence for the recent passing of the sister of cup sponsor Ed Ahmad. The real estate tycoon and CEO of the Ahmad Group of Companies, was on hand to witness the game and present the championship and runner-up trophies, as well as checks for $3,000 and $2,000 respectively, at the conclusion of the game. The major sponsor of the tournament Ed Ahmad promised that next year his company would inject the tournament with additional monetary incentives, and do whatever is necessary to see the annual tournament grow from strength to strength. Those remarks evoked an enthusiastic response of approval from the crowd gathered for the dusk presentation ceremony.

Insaf “Birdman” Ali kept his promise of presenting the Guyana team with a check for $5,000 for their victory. Other monetary awards were presented to the outstanding players by Al Akbar of Akbar & Associates - Attorneys-at-Law and Ms. Nalini Singh of First Funding.

Bats for the MVP – Bhim George, Most Runs – Nadeem Younas and Best Bowling – Zamin Amin, were donated and presented by Mohammed Hussein of SA Sports on Neptune Avenue in Brooklyn and Bobby “Nick” Ragunandan of the Ranch Restaurant & Bar on Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens.

An exuberant and enthusiastic crowd of approximately nine hundred cricket fans came out to witness the final premier championship of the year at the Floyd Bennett Cricket Facility in Brooklyn, NY.
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