Jamaica sink Guyana by seven wickets at Sabina Park
Off the mark
THE only matter to be determined when play on the fourth and final day of the first-round regional cricket match between Jamaica and Guyana at Sabina Park yesterday, was how long the contest would last.
Predictably, Jamaica wore the victors' crown, but not before having to shrug off moments of anxiety in getting to the seven-wicket victory over their rivals that propelled them to joint leadership of the competition alongside the Windward Islands with 17 points -- 12 for the outright win and five bonus points for batting and bowling.
The defeat left Guyana limping with only three bonus points for their uninspiring performance.
Needing to score 88 runs to win, Jamaica drove cautiously to victory at 89 for three. This followed Guyana's dogged second innings 264 all out, a major improvement on their first innings 117, to which Jamaica responded with 296 in their first time at the crease.
Top player of the match Jerome Taylor, whose five-wicket haul on Sunday had left gaping wounds in the Guyana batting when play ended with the visitors 219 for eight, had to settle for five for 44, due to a lower order stubbornness by the Guyanese.
Ransford Beaton, who resumed with West Indies player Devendra Bishoo, broad-chested the Jamaica attack with a defiant, unbeaten 22 (three fours), even after he lost his partner in the morning's second over to a catch by wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jnr off pacer Sheldon Cottrell.
Beaton and last man Keon Joseph (20) livened up the park with powerful drives, especially through the covers, in an alliance worth 43 for the last wicket.
It took the slick hand of Jamaica's most successful captain in history, Tamar Lambert to end Guyana's circus act, forcing Joseph to edge to the competent John Campbell at slip, 72 minutes into the opening session.
Jamaica's chase stuttered from the second over of the innings — a failure by Western St Mary resident Campbell — who inside edged a ball from Veersammy Permaul on the backfoot, onto his stumps for zero, somewhat diluting his first innings enterprising 50.
Still, Jamaica did not go into panic mode, a point manifested in opener Horace Miller's positive approach, reinforced even further by his hitting of spinner Narsingh Deonarine over long-on for six off the West Indies player's second ball.
By lunch, Jamaica were motoring on at 41 for one, with Miller on 28, and Nkrumah Bonner, 13.
The pair raised the 50-run partnership for the second wicket, after Miller drove Bishoo powerfully for four, and Bonner lashed the same bowler twice for sixes.
Miller, the former Norman Manley High School batsman, who also keeps wicket, gave Permaul the first of his two victims, caught by Assad Fudadin for 29, and Bonner fell for 38 at 77 for three, when it became clear that Jamaica would not participate in an unscheduled batting collapse.
Bonner left the scene to a catch by Fudadin at silly point off Permaul (two for 34), but punishing sixes by Lambert (12 not out) off Permaul and Jermaine Blackwood off leg-spinner Khan, ensured the inevitable.
When Blackwood, who was left not out on 10, edged Khan past the diving left hand of Avijay Mansingh, a Campion College and Jamaica youth cricketer who was forced to field for Guyana because of injuries to key players Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, the 'fat lady' began her belated singing presentation.
"Our bowlers did well to limit Guyana's scoring on Sunday and that is what I believe won us the match," Lambert told the Jamaica Observer afterwards.
"We handled ourselves well. Based on what we saw on Sunday, we knew that we would end up entering a fourth day, but in the end it was a deserved victory," the Jamaica captain stated.