Griffith’s last-gasp six helps Guyana beat Trinidad From Sean Devers in St. Lucia
Stabroek News
August 23, 2002

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A massive six from 23-year- old fast bowler Reon Griffith off the penultimate ball of the match made him Guyana’s unlikely hero with the bat as defending champions Guyana beat Trinidad and Tobago by one wicket in a sensational finish to their Red Stripe Bowl regional top-of-the-table clash at the Beausejour Stadium, here yesterday.

In high drama and a small but very vocal crowd on the edge of their seats, Griffith lifted test leg-spinner Dianath Ramnarine high over the sight-screen to see Guyana to 231-9 off 49.5 overs in reply to the 228-9 off 50 overs made by Trinidad.

The game seemed all but lost for Guyana when Vishal Nagamootoo, who added 56 valuable runs for the eighth wicket with brother Mahendra, was removed by pacer Mervin Dillon for 24 at 201-9.

But the last pair of first name, namesakes Reon King and Reon Griffith had other ideas smashing 30 runs in a last wicket partnership from 3.4 overs to ensure Guyana remained unbeaten in the zone.

Guyana needed 12 runs to win in off the final over and Griffith responded by hitting a six from the first ball and then taking a single off the third.

King, who swung Dillon for a six in the penultimate over, then got a single off the fourth for Griffith, with four needed from two balls, to clear the boundary and settle the issue in grand style.

But it was Mahendra Nagamootoo’s superb 63 with support from Lennox Cush (34) which set up the Guyana win after the top order including Guyana’s Test trio of Shiv Chanderpaul, Ronnie Sarwan and Carl Hooper had failed.

Earlier, Trinidad’s second two hundred plus total in the competition was built around a magnificent unbeaten 78 from star batsman Brian Lara who hit three fours and three sixes (all in the final over off King) from 93 balls.

Nagamootoo had a splendid game taking 3-34 from 10 overs to become Guyana’s leading wicket-taker in regional one-day cricket. He trails leader Courtney Walsh who has 64 victims by seven.

Sent in on a two paced track after Guyana won the toss, Trinidad and Tobago got a solid 78-run start from Test player Darren Ganga and Andy Jackson before Nagamootoo struck in the 18th over by removing Jackson nine runs short of his second fifty in the competition.

Jackson hit two fours in his 41 from 64 balls and dominated the partnership. Hooper was forced to remove King (four overs for 18) and Griffith (four overs for 22) from the attack.

Ganga, 28 from 64 balls with two fours was stumped by Vishal Nagamootoo off Sarwan while Dwayne Bravo gave Griffith his first regional one-day wicket after hitting two fours in 22.

However, the experienced Richard Smith and Lara added 49 for the fourth wicket before Hooper removed Smith for 18.

Trinidad slipped from 169-3 to 171-6 as Nagamootoo bowled Lendel Simmons (0) and Samuel Badree (0) with successive balls that kept low to be on a hat-trick.

After Ramnarine was caught and bowled by King in his second spell for 12, Dillon (3) and Black (0) departed in quick succession leaving Trinidad on 204-9 and Lara running out of partners.

Lara played some vintage shots on the heavy outfield none better than the three sixes in the final over which cost 24 runs.

The former West Indies captain was mis-stumped by Vishal off of his brother’s bowling when on 42. He was missed again in the final over when he skied the ball ‘miles’ into the air only for King to grass the return catch. Guyana paid dearly for that miss as the left-handed double world record holder launched a full scale attack on King who had up to that point conceded 34 runs from 9.2 overs.

Lara refused a single to long off with Rodney Sooklall at the non strikers’ end off the first ball of the over before lofting King into the stands at mid wicket, depositing him over long on and smashing him for a flat six off the final ball over square leg.

King did not bowl as badly as his overall figures of 10-0-58-1 suggests while Griffith (1-37 from seven overs) bowled one over to Lara that had him in all sorts of trouble before he cut loose towards the end.

Nagamootoo seemed especially pumped up when bowling to Lara while Neil McGarrell (10-1-41-0) and Hooper (10-1-41-1) also kept the batsman in check on the large ground.

Guyana lost Chattergoon off the first ball of the innings, caught behind off Dillon while Chanderpaul (4) was comprehensively bowled by Black to leave the South Americans on the ropes on 7-2 in the fourth over.

Cush, the aggressive Malteenoes batsman, joined Sarwan who again opened the batting and the pair took the score to 69 with delightful stroke play in sunny conditions.

The pair added 62 for the third wicket before Cush, who hit four fours and a six in his 55 ball 36, was bowled by Ramnarine to end the partnership just when it was beginning to look dangerous.

Cush’s demise made way for the arrival of Hooper and the appearance of all sizes of Guyana flags in the stands.

Hooper’s stay in the middle was not to be long. After eeking out 10 singles in his 10 he swept off-spinner Sooklall straight to Dillon on the square leg boundary to leave his side in big trouble on 90-5.

Deonarine fell for his third single figure score from as many matches when he edged Bravo, who bowled impressively, for Simmons to take his third catch behind the stumps and leave the score on 93-6.

All-rounders McGarrell and the left-handed Nagamootoo joined forces and Guyana progressed to 144 before Black was re-introduced and knocked back the stumps of McGarrell who made 14.

Vishal then joined his brother Mahendra, who has a first class hundred and a test half-century to his name. The Nagamootoos kept Guyana’s hopes alive before Mahendra was taken on the long on boundary by Lara attempting to hit Ramnarine out of the ground.

His 63, his first half-century at this level, came from 66 balls and was decorated with three sixes and three fours.

Dillon, Black, Ramnarine and Bravo had two wickets each.

The competition continues today with Antigua playing the rest of the Windwards in zone ‘B’ and St. Vincent taking on Barbados in zone ‘A’.

Guyana play their final game against Antigua on Sunday.