The Guyana Media XI boys enjoyed their best moment since the team was resuscitated on Independence Day 2014 when they outplayed the Floodlight Masters team by 28 runs to lift the three-match series 2-1.
The John Ramsingh-led Media outfit had won the first match, a ‘hardball’ exchange, but lost in the softball encounter a few months later, to necessitate a final on Friday night last at the headquarters of domestic floodlight cricket in Guyana, the Demerara Cricket Club ground.
A fair-sized crowd, which created a relaxing atmosphere beyond the boundary, witnessed the Media boys pile up 178-6 off the allotted 20 overs, and then fought well with the ball to restrict the Floodlight Masters to 150-6 when the overs finished. Winning the toss and electing to bat, the Media XI were given a rousing start by openers Ramsingh and Ravi Persaud, who piled on 64 in six overs, taking full advantage of the fielding restrictions and some loose bowling.
Persaud fell for 15, and when Ramsingh was bowled by nine-year-old off-spinner Romeo Deonarain for 43 (6x4s, 1×6), the Media men were cruising along solidly at 104-2 after 10 overs. However, Khalid Baksh brought the Floodlight Masters back in the game in the second half of the innings, bowling a tight spell as they allowed just 74 runs off the final 10 overs.
Baksh claimed 3-15 off four overs, while young Deonarain, who showcased tremendous control of the cricket ball, bagged 2-42 off his four overs. Ishaka Jackman and Daniel Singh kept the Media XI innings together with 27 (4x4s) and 19 (2x4s) respectively, while Shahrukh Imran gave the innings some momentum towards the end with 19 (1×6).
In the run chase, Floodlight Masters were also off to a flying start with openers Uniss Yusuf and Nafjohn Samlall racing to 32 off the first two overs bowled by Rene Stoby and Clifton Ross. The introduction of seamer Zaheer Mohamed however, brought about the breakthrough immediately as he had Samlall caught by wicketkeeper Singh for 10 in the third over.
Yusuf and Lloyd Rooplall then threatened to speed away with the run chase, but with 68 runs on the board in the eight over, Jackman trapped Roopall leg before for 22 (4x4s), and Ravi Persaud followed up with a similar dismissal of Yusuf for 33 (5x4s, 2x6s) as Floodlight Masters slipped to 86-3 in the 12th over.
It was a position they never recovered from, as Diquan Murray comprehensively bowled the dangerous Wayne Jones for 12, and Mohamed returned to claim two more wickets, as the reigning Guyana Softball Cup Masters champions failed to keep up with a run rate of 15 during the final five overs. Baksh finished on 26 not out, while Mohamed, who was named best bowler on the winning side, finished with 3-13 from four overs.
Trophies for the match, which was held in memory of the late journalist and captain of the Guyana Media XI, Calvin Roberts, were donated by the Trophy Stall of Bourda Market. Relatives of Roberts were on hand to witness the game and they later assisted in the presentation of prizes.
Now that the series is over, the two teams have agreed to engage each other in goodwill softball and hardball matches each month.