A COMBINATION of errors by the bowlers especially Raymon Reifer and poor strategy by Guyana Jaguars captain Christopher Barnwell gifted away their unbeaten advantage when the CCC Marooners romped to a sensational come-from-behind one-wicket victory over the Guyana Jaguars team in their final Zone A match, contested at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain on Monday evening.Guyana Jaguars lost their unbeaten streak in the 2015 WICB NAGICO Super50 tournament but finished atop the Zone A standings with nine points while the CCC Marooners clinched the second qualifying spot with eight, ahead of 2013 champions Windward Volcanoes, who mustered six with the crushing win over dethroned champs Barbados Pride at Shaw Park, Tobago earlier that day.
The Jaguars were restricted to 171 for 9 off their allotted 50 overs while the CCC Marooners displayed remarkable fighting qualities and capitalised on the questionable bowling change made by Barnwell when they needed 45 runs for victory from 24 balls.
The Barbados-based team that comprised mostly Barbadians and Jamaicans ended up with 173 for 9 off 49.5 overs. And they gained four vital points that pushed them into the semi-finals.
Reifer moved “from hero to villain” status following his opposite performances in back-to-back matches. He was the batting hero in the previous encounter against Barbados Pride when he rallied the Jaguars to an exciting and heart-warming two-wicket victory with a mature and brilliant unbeaten 84. Although he is an all-rounder, he did not bowl in that encounter.
However, the roles reversed in the match against his former CCC teammates. With the Jaguars holding the upper-hand and virtually cruising to victory, it was surprising and an act of sheer complacency by the Jaguars captain to entrust the bowling honours to Reifer for the 45th over while Paul Wintz had bowled impressively in a prolonged spell with the new ball in tandem with off-spinner Steven Jacobs. Wintz was the most penetrative with excellent figures of 7-0-24-2.
Wintz was never used again even when he could have been utilised during those closing overs and in particular for the final one after Reifer struggled in his first (48th) which yielded ten runs that swung the momentum in favour of the CCC Marooners.
Ravmond Powell was the chief wicket-taker for CCC Marooners during the Jaguars innings and he exhibited good temperament and showcased his undoubted all-round prowess to usher his team to a stunning victory with one ball remaining.
He struck Reifer for a four and followed up with massive six off the final ball of the over that produced ten crucial runs in his first over.
While his Jamaican counterpart Christopher Powell also displayed aggressive intent and clobbered Veerasammy Permaul for four while Ravmon followed up with a huge six. The equation changed dramatically and although Barnwell bowled smartly and eased the pressure in the 49th over, CCC still needed eleven runs to win off the final over.
Astonishingly although Reifer struggled in his first over and with the Powells in rampant mood, it was unbelievable that he was entrusted to bowl the final over while Wintz had three overs to complete his complement.
Tension was high but CCC’s Christopher Powell and number eleven batsman Ryan Austin, who replaced Ravmond who was dismissed by Barnwell; kept their nerves.
Reifer was guilty of bowling all over the place and even conceded three wides that left the equation down at three runs from two balls for victory while the Jaguars required one wicket to keep their unbeaten streak.
Reifer maintained the policy of bowling round the wicket and Christopher on-drove powerfully a full-length delivery beyond the long on boundary rope and the CCC Marooners celebrated one of the greatest rear-guard fightback that catapulted them to second spot and a semi-final place ahead of the Windwards Volcanoes.
Ravmond Powell was deservedly voted man-of-the-match with his 3 for 20 and heroic 31 that was studded with three sixes off 30 balls. Christopher was undefeated on 27 that included four fours off 29 balls.
This was CCC first-ever victory over Guyana in the 50-overs-a-side tournament and the Jaguars have much work to do to regain the momentum they generated with sweet victories over Windwards Volcanoes and Barbados Pride.
When they batted, the Jaguars frontline batsmen struggled to get their rhythm and were dismissed cheaply. Opener Rajendra Chandrika (26), veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul (33) and Royston Crandon (39) made useful contributions but were guilty of being in the defensive mood and absorbed too many deliveries.
Trevon Griffith (2) continued his miserable outing and faced 24 balls before he edged newcomer Christopher Powell’s delivery to wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton. The score was 18 for 1 off eight overs while Raymon Reifer, the batting hero against Barbados Pride with a match-winning unbeaten 84; did not last long and failed to make an impact. The 23-year-old was deceived and bowled comprehensively by leg-spinner Keron Cottoy whose spinning delivery zipped through between pad and pad and dislodged the bails.
It was a shocking experience for Reifer who had previously played all his regional matches for the CCC team, whose players were ecstatic to have nailed him for a relatively low score. The left-handed stroke-player made seven runs off 23 deliveries. It was 33 for 2 off 16.1 overs.
Medium pacer Ravmond Powell created a big stir when he bowled right-handed opener Chandrika with his first delivery. And then he sparked further jubilation among the CCC players by forcing the Jaguars captain Christopher Barnwell to edge the very next delivery and his first to wicketkeeper Walton, who made no mistake. The Jaguars were floundering at 44 for 4 off 21.2 overs.
However, 40-year-old Chanderpaul used his wealth of experience and skills to nullify the opposition and instilled confidence in Royston Crandon who gradually gained composure and a positive attitude, as they repaired the damage and restored some degree of respectability with a measured 54-run fifth-wicket partnership.
Chanderpaul attempted to up the tempo but succeeded in gifting his wicket to Ravmond Powell who accepted the lobbed pull shot that travelled high and dropped on the on-side of the bowling crease where the bowling held on for dear life.
Chanders made 33 and struck only two fours during his watchful vigilance while Crandon played some bold strokes and hit three fours before he exited for 39 off 65 balls. They departed at 99 (39.5 overs) and 113 (42.5). Nine runs later Steven Jacobs (2 runs off 4 balls) continued his wretched form with the bat and edged Cottoy to wicketkeeper Walton to leave the Jaguars in an embarrassing position at 122 for 7 off 46.1 overs.
However, Veerasammy Permaul once again rose to the occasion and demonstrated his wonderful all-round ability with superlative strokes.
The ambidextrous player smashed three authoritative sixes to backward square leg, long off and mid-wicket positions and found a solid partner in Anthony Bramble, who struggled initially, but made contact to count one six and one four off 21 balls.
The Permaul-Bramble tandem stitched together a 44-run eighth-wicket partnership off 4.2 overs and guided the Guyana Jaguars to a challenging 166 (49.3 overs) when Bramble was bowled by Kyle Mayers for 20.
Permaul, who hammered three sixes and one four off 15 balls; remained undefeated on 29 while Paul Wintz, who played in place of Ronsford Beaton, was the other not out batsman on two.
Ravmond Powell (3 for 20), Cottoy (2 for 45) and Mayers (2 for 27) were CCC’s successful bowlers.
In reply, CCC’s innings followed a similar pattern as the Jaguars. They lost four wickets for 44 runs.
Experienced openers Shacaya Thomas (1) and captain Walton were separated in the third over when Wintz found the edge of Thomas’ bat as the ball steered its course to wicketkeeper Bramble who gleefully accepted the catch. Walton was run-out by Royston Crandon for seven (15 for 2 off 3.6 overs).
Kavem Hodge (1) was brilliantly run-out by Crandon via a direct hit at the non-striker’s end while Kyle Hope was ruled lbw to Wintz for 16 (31 balls, 3x4s).
Cassius Burton (8 runs, 24 balls) was lbw to Permaul whose economical spell kept the CCC batsmen in check.
Paul Palmer survived an easy straight forward chance put down by Trevon Griffith at second slip off Wintz with the score at 21 for 2 off 7 overs.
The left-hander rode his luck and emerged as the top scorer before he was lbw to Devendra Bishoo for 32 that contained two fours off 94 balls.
With Kyle Mayers, they posted 35 runs for the sixth wicket and kept CCC’s chances alive for an upset victory. But both were dismissed at 95 with two consecutive deliveries. First to go was Mayers, caught by Barnwell at first slip off Crandon for 15 (49 balls, 1×6) while Palmer was adjudged lbw to Bishoo with the first ball of the 37th over.
Bishoo was getting generous spin off the pitch and he also claimed Keron Cottoy (5 off 21 balls), via lbw.
But Barnwell’s tactics backfired badly and the two Powells, Ravmond and Christopher; capitalised and charted a historic victory for the CCC Marooners whose confidence would be boosted with such a fighting performance.
The Guyana Jaguars would have learnt a tough lesson and will appreciate that in professional sport there is very little room for complacency and sentiments.
It’s a rude awakening but they will seek to rebound and battle for a place in the final. The selectors will have to rethink their strategy with the openers.
Chanderpaul should be asked to do the honours alongside Chandrika which will free up a place for either a fit Jonathan Foo or Vishaul Singh in the middle.
The final points standings for Zone A are: Guyana Jaguars 9 (1.03)
CCC Marooners 8 (-0.052)
Windwards Volcanoes 6 (-0.870)
Barbados Pride- 2 (-0.701).