BERBICE Combined produced an all-round performance to outclass Essequibo Combined by 10 wickets to win the final of the National Secondary Schools (NSS) Combined Phase cricket trophy yesterday at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground.
On a safely negotiable pitch, Essequibo Combined imploded against spin, and apart from their openers, Orlando Jailall and Bomesh Ramdahin, the remaining batsmen lacked intensity in their approach, as they folded for just 71 in 24 overs.
Berbice Combined then reached 74 without loss in 8.2 overs to complete an easy victory.
There wasn’t much assistance for the seamers but left-arm spinners Kelvin Umrao and Nigel Deodat wreaked the most havoc on a pitch that offered enough turn and bounce.
Umrao, who was later adjudged man-of-the-match, finished with 3-6 off six overs, while Deodat had 3-25 off eight overs. Off-spinner Seon Glasgow took the other wicket.
The Essequibo Combined batsmen were not only victims of the conditions but their own lack of restraint when the situation demanded more caution than they exercised also accounted for their downfall.
Earlier, the game was reduced to 40 overs-a-side after the late arrival of the Berbice Combined team. Electing to bat on winning the toss, the Essequibo Combined team were off to a brisk start, with Jailall and Ramdahin maintaining a scoring rate of around five runs an over in the initial stage of the innings.
Jailall got off the mark with an elegant boundary through the off-side in the innings’ first ball from Gevon Shultz before hitting Leon Swammy for a straight boundary.
The Cinderella County openers were able to find the gaps at regular intervals, but the introduction of the spinners into the attack after six overs helped to turn the tide for the Berbicians.
Deodat removed Jailall (18), while Umrao claimed the wicket of Ramdahin (15), and after reaching a comfortable position of 39-2, Essequibo Combined were undermined by the spinners, coupled with careless running between the wickets, and in the process they lost their last seven wickets for just 32 runs. No other batsman was able to reach double figures.
The Berbice Combined openers Alex Algu and Junior Sinclair then made a savage reply to the run chase.
They got off to an explosive start, with both openers taking the initiative to go all out at the bowlers, hitting nine boundaries and two sixes when the target was achieved.
Sinclair remained unbeaten on 36, with five fours and a six, while Algu ended on 31, inclusive of four fours and a six.
The victory furnished Berbice with both titles after Lower Corentyne won the Inter-secondary school phase last week.
Meanwhile, Mavendra Dindyal (Diamond Secondary School) was named the Most Promising Player in the tournament, while Kevlon Anderson (Lower Corentyne Secondary School) was voted the Most Valuable Player.