Guyana whip Leewards by 3 wickets
...Carib Beer cricket By Sean Devers in St. Kitts
Stabroek News
February 11, 2003

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Twenty-five-year old Azeemul Haniff hit a valuable unbeaten 93 to steer Guyana to a hard-fought three-wicket victory over the Leeward Islands on the final day of their Carib Beer Series regional first class cricket match which ended at the Edgar Gilbert Complex here yesterday.

Set 206 to win, Guyana struggled to 208-7 after they had slipped to 126-5 at lunch.

Haniff, who faced 205 balls and batted for 311 minutes, was seven runs short of his third first-class ton. He sealed victory for the Guyanese with his twelfth boundary.

Dominican-born Antiguan Adam Sanford had threatened Guyana's victory bid with 4-61 in an aggressive 22-over spell of fast bowling.

The home team put down Haniff twice and also let off Mahendra Nagamootoo who made 27 and shared in an important 47-run sixth wicket stand with Haniff.

Lennox Cush played some delightful shots, counter-attacking off spinner Omari Banks who had six first innings wickets.

However, poor shot selection again ended Cush's entertaining innings and a promising 75-run third wicket stand between himself and Haniff who were both unbeaten at the end of the third day.

Guyana began the final day needing another 153 runs for victory with eight wickets in hand. Haniff (25) and Cush (10) took the score to 113 with the 100 posted in 158 minutes, before Cush lost his cool, and his wicket.

Travis Dowlin's poor run of form continued when he was trapped LBW first ball to Banks to register his second duck in the match and leave Guyana on 113-4.

Haniff batted doggedly to be unbeaten on 58 at lunch, his third 50 for the season, following up the 62 and 69 he got against Trinidad in the first round.

He got to his 50 in 161 minutes from 118 balls with six fours, after surviving two chances in the forties.

Andre Percival started with consecutive boundaries off Banks but soon played back to the lively Sanford and was LBW for eight on the stroke of lunch with the Guyanese still 80 runs short of victory.

After lunch, Haniff added 47 runs with Mahendra Nagamotoo for the sixth wicket, before Nagamootoo drove pacer Carl Simon to mid-off to leave Guyana on 113-6.

Nagamootoo reached the boundary three times in his 27 and his demise brought the home team back into the game.

Skipper Neil McGarrell (2) did not last long, falling to a catch at gully off Simon.

Haniff was joined by Vishal Nagamootoo (11) and the pair batted sensibly to see Guyana to victory just before the scheduled tea break.

Sanford was the most impressive bowler on show while Simon had 2-27 and Banks, who bowled unchanged during the entire first session 1-85 for a seven-wicket match haul.

Coach of the Guyana team Albert Smith told Stabroek News that he was pleased with the victory but worried with the inconsistent performance of the batsmen.

"It was good to see us achieve an outright win after losing first innings points but we batted badly in the first innings and again struggled to get the 206 in the second innings," Smith lamented.

Smith also feels that the fielding department was very poor and allowed too many free runs in addition to dropping several catches including Stuart Williams twice (on 8 and 30). Williams, dropped both times off Nagamootoo, eventually made a top score of 78 in the first innings.

The Guyana coach said the bowlers did well but he feels that there are lots of room for improvement ahead of the final away game starting on Friday in St. Croix

"King and Nagamootoo bowled really well but I am disappointed with the performance of Staurt so far. McGarrell was also disappointing overall, even though he took three quick wickets in this game. Both of these players have test experience and need to do a lot more at this level," Smith disclosed.

The Berbician pointed out that the bowlers performed well in spells, but apart from King and Nagamootoo, were not consistent enough.

He feels this victory will do well for the morale of the side going into the next game against the West Indies 'B' and noted that there were some positives coming out of the match.

The Guyana team departs St.Kitts tomorrow for the US Virgin Island of St. Croix and Smith said they will be changes to the team which played the first two games.

"Some of the guys have not made enough use of their opportunity in the first two games and definitely changes will be made for Friday's game," Smith said. (Back to top)

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