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Sent to bat, Guyana struggled to 162 all out off 44.5 overs in spite of a skilful 71 by their captain Carl Hooper, and Barbados, set a revised target of 143 off 36 overs, coasted to victory at 143 for five off 33.4 overs.
Corey Collymore’s three-wicket effort gave the Barbadians the platform for their success, and steady knocks by Philo Wallace, Ryan Hinds and Floyd Reifer fuelled the victory after rain delayed the start of their reply and adjusted their target.
Barbados are now through to tomorrow’s final against Jamaica, who beat Trinidad and Tobago by seven wickets in the first semifinal on Thursday.
The Barbadians quickly justified their decision to field first, their pacers grabbing two wickets within the first two overs.
Left-arm fast bowler Pedro Collins had Sewnarine Chattergoon caught at slip by Floyd Reifer, and Vasbert Drakes trapped Lennox Cush leg-before- wicket with the first ball of the second over as Guyana dipped perilously to two wickets down without a run on the board.
“We always wanted that when Carl (Hooper) came in he (would) have to repair early damage, the bowlers stuck to their task very well this morning,” Barbados wicket-keeping captain Courtney Browne said after the game.
Rising West Indies star Ramnaresh Sarwan threatened with two boundaries before he was run-out by Collins for 16 at 27 for three, and his Test team-mate Shivnarine Chanderpaul (9) departed in similar fashion at 47 for four, failing to beat a diving under-arm throw from Wallace as he attempted a sharp single.
Hooper, the experienced Guyana and West Indies captain, tried cautiously to steer his team out of trouble, but wickets kept tumbling around him.
Left-arm pacer Ian Bradshaw dislodged Narsingh Deonarine (0) caught behind by Browne, and one run later, the tall left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn perplexed and bowled Travis Dowlin (1) at 62 for six.
Neil McGarrell (12) joined Hooper and intelligently played out 10 overs to halt the slide, until he was the victim of a close lbw decision against Collymore, shortly after a rain-break that reduced Guyana’s prescribed innings to 46 overs.
Hooper, sensing big trouble for his side, opened the throttle and after losing Mahendra Nagamootoo (4) in another run-out dismissal, dominated a 47-run ninth wicket stand with Vishal Nagamootoo.
Hooper’s 71 came in 148 minutes off 105 balls with three boundaries and he was ninth out, pulling a Collymore full toss to Bradshaw at deep midwicket. Collymore wrapped up the innings four balls later when Reon King (0) turned another full toss to Bradshaw at short midwicket.
Vishal Nagamootoo ended 12 not out, and Collymore was the most successful Barbados bowler with three for 26 off 8.5 overs.
The other wickets were shared between Collins (1-19), Drakes (1-31), Benn (1-31) and Bradshaw (1-39).
Guyana opened their bowling with pacer Reon King and left-arm spinner McGarrell, who struck first to remove Kurt Wilkinson, bowled for four.
Wallace and Hinds patched up the early wound with a 35-run second-wicket stand that ended when Wallace, who had looked untroubled, missed a pull shot against Nagamootoo and was bowled for 36, including one six and three fours.
Hinds (28) gathered 46 runs for the third wicket with Reifer, before he was run-out when Cush deflected a return to the non-striker’s end onto the stumps but it was already 116 for three then in the 26th over and the Barbados victory bid had suffered only a minor setback.
Reifer (26) cut the ball onto his stumps as he tried to steer off-spinner Cush square and Barbados also lost captain Browne run-out for 15 near the end, before Antonio Mayers and Drakes completed the win.
Mayers edged to third man for a single as he cut at leg-spinner Nagamootoo, to be nine not out, and Drakes was not out on two, sending Barbados to a second consecutive Red Stripe Bowl final and their first regional limited overs win over Guyana since 1991.
“It feels really good, I remember my first game out for Barbados (in 1991) we defeated Guyana in one-day fixture, at that time Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall and Carlisle Best, they were all in the Barbados team then and it has taken us 10 years after that to win a one-day game against Guyana,” said Browne, who was on debut for Barbados in that win 10 years ago. McGarrell (1-17), Cush (1-17) and Nagamootoo (1-38) were the successful bowlers for Guyana, but they could not reverse the advantage the team’s weak batting gave to Barbados.
“I don’t think we deserved to win today, we certainly didn’t bat well,” Hooper said in his post-game interview on CMC’s CricketPlus broadcast.
Guyana are the most successful team in Red Stripe Bowl cricket with three final appearances and two titles since the tournament started in 1997.
Barbados, runners-up to Guyana last year, played an unchanged team from the one that lost to Jamaica last Saturday, while Guyana had Hooper and King returning after being rested for their 36-run win over Antigua and Barbuda last Sunday.
S.Chattergoon c Reifer b Collins 0
L.Cush lbw Drakes 0
R.Sarwan run-out (Collins) 16
S.Chanderpaul run-out (Wallace) 9
*C.Hooper c Bradshaw b Collymore 71
N.Deonarine c wkp. Browne b Bradshaw 0
T.Dowlin b Benn 1
N.McGarrell lbw Collymore 12
M.Nagamootoo run-out Collins 4
+V.Nagamootoo not out 12
R.King c Bradshaw b Collymore 0
Extras: (b-1, lb-15, w-8, nb-13) 37
Total: (all out - 44.5 overs) 162
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-0, 3-27, 4-47, 5-61, 6-62, 7-103, 8-114, 9-161.
Bowling: Collins 9-3-19-1 (nb-1, w-1); Drakes 8-0-31-1 (nb-1, w-1); Collymore 8.5-1-26-3 (nb-5); Benn 9-1-31-1 (w-2); Bradshaw 10-0-39-1 (nb-6, w-4).
P.Wallace b Nagamootoo 36
K.Wilkinson b McGarrell 4
R.Hinds run-out 28
F.Reifer b Cush 26
*C.Browne run-out 15
A.Mayers not out 9
V.Drakes not out 2
Extras: (b-4, lb-6, w-10, nb-3) 23
Total: (for 5 wickets - 33.4 overs) 143
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-64, 3-110, 4-126, 5-138.
Bowling: King 7-0-29-0 (w-4); McGarrell 7-1-17-1; Hooper 7-0-32-0 (nb-3, w-1); Nagamootoo 7.4-0-38-1 (w-5); Cush 6-1-17-1.