Highly touted as one for the future, Guyana Harpy Eagles 19-year-old debutant Matthew Nandu played with patience, class and composure that belies his age to frustrate Barbados at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua & Barbuda with an unbeaten 71 on day one of their first round encounter.
At stumps, the Harpy Eagles were on 205/5 (76.4 Overs) after winning the toss and electing to bat. The morning session was cut short due to a Keon Harding delivery which tore a chunk of the turf out of the pitch which then had to be repaired by the ground staff. In that shortened session, openers Nandu and Chandrapaul Hemraj navigated their side to lunch (at 29) without loss. However, Barbados Pride would be left ruing a couple of dropped catches which enabled the Harpy Eagles to push on.
Shortly after lunch, Hemraj and Tevin Imlach would fall quickly to leave the Harpy Eagles wobbling at 35/2. First, Hemraj fell LBW to seamer Jair McAllister then Imlach had to return to the pavilion without troubling the scorers also via the LBW route off the bowling of Akeem Jordan.
From thereon out, it was the Nandu show as he strung together useful partnerships with fellow debutant Kemol Savoury, skipper Leon Johnson and Anthony Bramble, who all made starts but failed to bat on.
Savoury (25) and Nandu combined to take the Harpy Eagles to 80 before the aggressive wicket-keeper batsman nicked spinner Chaim Holder to Shane Dowrich to end his first innings at the regional level. In strode the under pressure Johnson who looked attractive in his innings of 26 and it was only fitting that he was at the non-striker’s end when Nandu brought up his maiden fifty on the stroke of tea to raucous applause from his teammates. However, after the break, Johnson too, fell to Holder with the score at 126/4.
The ever consistent Anthony Bramble did all the hard work at the beginning of his innings only to give his wicket away with a nothing shot as he fell for 20 caught by McAllister of the bowling of Jordan. At that point, the Guyana Harpy Eagles looked vulnerable with the total at 163/5 but all-rounder Kevin Sinclair and the increasingly confident Nandu took the fight to a waning Pride attack.
Their partnership worth 45, Sinclair (28 not out) and Nandu guided the Harpy Eagles to the close of play with the score at 205/5 (76.4 Overs), albeit not without incident, as an edge from Nandu seemed to carry to Akeem Jordan, but the umpires correctly ruled not out which replays vindicated as the ball appeared to bounce before entering Jordan’s grasp. Nandu will resume his innings on day two at 71 (219 deliveries and 9 boundaries).
(Day 1 Stumps: Guyana Harpy Eagles 205/5 – Matthew Nandu 71 not out, Kevin Sinclair 28)