By Michelangelo Jacobus
A fiery spell after lunch from Guyana Harpy Eagles pacer Nial Smith ensured that his side recorded a big win in their first round encounter against the defending champions Barbados Pride at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Saturday afternoon.
Smith’s 2nd innings figures of 5/31 (10 Overs) vindicated the Harpy Eagles’ skipper Leon Johnson’s decision to bat first as the previously dull pitch came alive on the fourth and final day of the match. Smith’s performance complemented the first innings effort of 19-year-old debutant Matthew Nandu who set the platform for the win with his excellent 126 on debut.
Earlier in the day, the Guyanese batting order collapsed in a heap as the Barbados pacers got the ball to move with poor shot selections not helping either. Seamers Akeem Jordan and Keon Harding were the destroyers-in-chief sharing six wickets between them with 3-apiece. Veteran Veerasammy Permaul and Smith had the highest partnership of the Guyanese 2nd innings and when the former was bowled by Chaim Holder, the Guyana Harpy Eagles declared at 126/9 leaving Barbados staring at a total of 278 for an unlikely victory.
Enter Smith; he began proceedings by getting first innings top scorer Sheyne Mosely to nick one to wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble for a duck in the second over while Shamar Joseph trapped Zachary McCaskie LBW in the very next over. However Jonathan Drakes and Shamarh Brooks looked to steady the ship and took their side from 9/2 to 30 before Brooks became Ronsford Beaton’s first victim.
The beginning of the end for the defending champions came courtesy of Veerasammy Permaul who snared the scalps of Nicolas Kirton and Shamar Springer in the 19th over to take his career tally to 504 wickets (the highest by a Guyanese bowler). Then Beaton added his second wicket of the innings when he sent back the Bajan skipper, a wounded Shane Dowrich for a two-ball duck to leave Barbados in serious trouble at 38/6.
Drakes (36) and Akeem Jordan (20) offered a brief resistance but the return of Smith sealed their end. He had Jordan holing out to Kevin Sinclair, then Drakes followed in similar fashion, caught by Permaul while Harding was also dismissed via a catch. Fittingly Smith sealed his five-wicket haul and a resounding win for the Guyana Harpy Eagles by bowling Jair McAllister to end the Barbados innings at 94 (36 overs).
SCORES: Guyana Harpy Eagles – 371 & 126/9 Declared, Barbados Pride – 220/9 & 94 All out
Guyana won by 183 runs.