Jamaica beat Guyana in thriller
Lennox Cush's historic hat-trick could not prevent dethroned champions Guyana from going down to Jamaica by one run in anther exciting Stanford 20/20 semi-final match at Stanford Cricket Ground.
Chasing 144 for victory, Guyana were restricted to 142 for eight; falling a run short of Jamaica's 143 for seven. Jamaica will now meet Trinidad & Tobago in Sunday's final.
Jamaica opened with Shawn Findlay and Chris Gayle, abut after watched the first ball ended up wide outside the off-stump, the former freed his arms to cut the second delivery from Esuan Crandon, but picked out Lennox Cush, who took an easy catch at deep third man.
Danza Hyatt joined Gayle, but like his first match against Nevis, the latter struggled with his timing. And it was no surprise when missed time a delivery from Crandon and was trapped playing across the line with front foot outside leg and his back in line.
With two wickets down, Jamaica struggled in the first eight overs, as apart from Samuels, who straight drive Crandon for four, the only boundary at this stage, Guyana's opening bowlers Lennox Cush and Crandon dictated the pace.
The fact that Jamaica found themselves behind, Samuels took on Royston Crandon, who went for a six and a four in his opening over. But that was Samuels' only glory with the bat, as, in the very next over, he played on to left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell. He scored 26 at a run-a-ball.
It was left up to Danza Hyatt, Jamaica's form batsman in the tournament, and Xavier Marshall, who scored 43 against Bahamas. The two went about repairing job positively and within no time, Hyatt was on top of the bowling.
He first took on McGarrell by hitting him for a six and a four, then Royston Crandon for two sixes, which forced skipper Sarwan to draw for his trump card in Mahendra Nagamootoo, who replaced McGarrell at the pavilion end.
At this stage, with just seven overs to go and several batsmen waiting in the pavilion, Marshall and Hyatt tried desperately against Nagamootoo, but were only good enough for eight runs.
Christopher Barnwell replaced Royston Crandon at the far end, but his first legal delivery was hit over mid-wicket by Hyatt, who was dropped twice the next two deliveries, first at long-of by McGarrell and then by Nagamootoo.
Hyatt, who brought up his half century with a single to mid-wicket, and Marshall continued to bat Jamaica into a good position. They drove, swept, hooked, but the best were three nicely timed reverse sweeps from Marshall, one which crashed into the third man boundary.
However, in the 19th over, Hyatt's brilliant innings came to an end when came down the track to hit Cush, who had earlier bowled three over for six runs, but missed and was bowled. Cush completed his historic hat-trick when he removed Hinds and Marshall, both caught and the long-on boundaries by Crandon and McGarrell respectively.
Hyatt and Marshal put on 91 important runs for the fourth wicket. Hyatt top-scored with 59 off 47 deliveries, which included four sixes and a four while Marshall chipped in with 31.
In reply, Guyana got off the mark with a four off Travis Dowlin's bat, but he was removed by pacer Jerome Taylor, caught by Nikita Miller at mid-on a few deliveries later for five.
Samuels, who replaced Daren Powell after two overs at the southern end, had Sewnarine Chattergoon, caught by Taylor diving forward at short third man, he also made five at 21 for two. And Powell, who was switched to the northern end, brought success and the wickets of – Shivnarine Chanderpaul (10) whose off-stump was broken in pieces while Cush (2) was given out caught behind by Carlton Baugh Jr.
Guyana slipped further in trouble when Sarwan, who faced 21 balls for 12, was caught by Findlay, a very good catch coming off the long-off boundary – Guyana 42 for five.
Barnwell, who was put down by Baugh off David Bernard, and Royston Crandon did took it to Jamaica, and in one over, both hit two sixes off Nikita Miller, who was immediately taken out of the attack for good. They put on 31 for the sixth wicket, but Gayle, despite picking up the wicket of Barnwell, conceded 14 runs in his opening over.
And by the time Bernard completed the 15th over, the asking rate dropped from 11 to 8.8; it even went lower when Gayle finished the 16th over – 7.25 required at this time.
Crandon and Nagamootoo were having things their way as 36 runs came in 2.2 overs. It took the return of Taylor to remove Crandon, who hit three sixes in his knock of 35 off 14 balls. He was caught off a rising delivery, which he gloved to Baugh.
With 26 runs to get off the final three overs, Gayle took it onto himself to bowl the 18th over, but after giving away eight runs off the first four deliveries, he had Nagamootoo caught by Bernard at 126 for eight.
It came down to 17 from the final two and with Samuels and Taylor, the most economic bowlers with one over each to bowl, Gayle went for his fast bowler, who did very well to force Guyana to get 12 to win from the last over.
Things were left into Samuels' hand and by now, all the approximately 8,000 spectators were on their feet. The fist delivery went straight back passed Samuels for four, but the other which was clocked at 81 mph went straight through to wicketkeeper Baugh.
But with four to get from the last two, Samuels was determined to bowl as fast as possible and the last was clocked at 115kph, which kept Guyana down to two runs. However, things almost turn ugly for Jamaica, as even before the long-on fiddler return the ball to the keeper, he and Samuels were celebrating, allowing Guyana two easy runs, which they could possible turn into three if the batsmen were more alert.