ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Devon Thomas’s maiden regional one-day hundred proved in vain as half-centuries from Chris Barnwell and Shimron Hetmyer propelled Guyana Jaguars to a crucial five-wicket victory over luckless Leeward Islands Hurricanes last night.
Chasing an unimposing 217 for victory under lights at Coolidge Cricket Ground, Jaguars overhauled their target courtesy of an aggressive 89 from Barnwell and an unusually measured unbeaten 60 from Hetmyer.
The pair posted 144 for the third wicket to pull Jaguars around from 65 for three at the end of the 16th over, after they had lost quick wickets.
Hurricanes did little to help their cause, dropping four catches in a sloppy fielding effort that helped ease pressure on the Jaguars during the contest.
There was nothing mediocre about Thomas, however, as he carved out a polished unbeaten 103 which lifted the hosts to 216 for eight off their 50 overs.
The right-hander faced 118 deliveries and struck 10 fours but he got precious little support as Akeal Hosein, batting at number 11, was the only other batsman to pass 20 with an unbeaten 23.
Sent in, Hurricanes were slumping on 24 for three in the ninth over, following two key strikes from pacer Romario Shepherd who ended with three for 40.
Twenty-year-old Kofi James, skippering Hurricanes in only his second regional outing, was the first casualty of the innings, taken at fine leg off Shepherd in the fourth over for two with the score on seven.
His opener partner Keacy Carty followed four overs later, caught at the wicket for 15 also off Shepherd, and when debutant Akeem Charles was also caught at the wicket off seamer Keemo Paul in the following over for two, Hurricanes were against the ropes.
Thomas then put all his experience on show, holding the innings together by anchoring key partnership. He put on 53 for the fourth wicket with Terrace Warde (18) and when four wickets tumbled for 54 runs, he added a further 44 for the eighth wicket with Justin Athanaze (15) to again bolster the innings.
Thomas’s first half-century required 64 balls and his second fifty was only slightly faster, coming from 46 balls.
When Athanaze was caught at mid-wicket off Shepherd, Thomas found an ally in Hosein to put on 41 for the ninth wicket, and give the innings some impetus at the end.
West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo helped to dent the middle order with three for 35.
Jaguars’ run chase started strongly with Chandrapaul Hemraj stroking 30 off 29 balls in a 41-run stand with veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul (14).
The left-handed Hemraj was attacking, belting three fours and a pair of sixes but paid for his cavalier approach when he skied off-spinner Terrance Warde (4-37) and was caught at mid-wicket by Shane Burton.
Two overs later, Chanderpaul’s 48-ball labour ended when he holed out to long on off Warde and when captain Leon Johnson top-edged a sweep at the same bowler and was caught at square leg for 14, Jaguars were in need of revival.
Barnwell arrived to dominate, however, smashing eight fours and a couple of sixes in a 93-ball knock while Hetmyer, showing restraint from his normal attacking style, counted four fours in a 95-ball knock.
Both batsmen were dropped twice – all relatively easy chances – and the misses allowed Barnwell to bring up his half-century off 43 balls and Hetmyer to reach his off 81 deliveries.
With victory assured but time running out to reach three figures, Barnwell holed out on the ropes at deep mid-wicket, gunning for the first of the two sixes which would have taken him to his landmark.