Conquerors turn adversity into victory

POSTED: 09/17/12 1:33 PM

GREAT BAY- In what can only be described as his most prolific performance to date, Kelvin Baptist spurred the Winair Conquerors to a well deserved title when they defeated Nagico by 32 runs and 42 balls to spare in the Prime /Pepsi A division finals yesterday.
It was not a surprise when the Winair Conquerors elected to bat after winning the toss, but after a quick dismantling of the top and middle order by the Nagico bowlers. K Baptist, a number 9 batsman became the game changer of the day.
This was the second time that the Conquerors faced Nagico in a finals and the latter was always the winner. But batting first against a team like Nagico that has the lion’s share of glory in the domestic competitions, a score between 250 to 300 runs was defendable.
But that did not work out for the Conquerors and after 49.3 of the allotted 50 overs, they were all out on 241. Nagico struck an early blow with the wicket of Mohit Hingorani, who was caught by Melichus Theodule, from the bowling of Shane Burton for no score.
At that stage in the game, they needed to consolidate, but after an addition of 16 runs, Shem Pascal was sent back to the pavilion after he was bowled by Burton on 22 and Merlin Liburd was bowled by Burton with the very next ball for 5 and the Conquerors were in early trouble.
A good partnership was building between the Baptist brothers, Raphael and Lerry, but with the score pushed to 61. R Baptist was bowled by Romain Doodnauth on 29. Nagico picked up their second double with the score on 76 when Joel Simmons was caught by Steven Evans, the keeper from the bowling of Colin Hamer on 6 and Junior George was caught by Keith Carty from the bowling of Hamer for no score.
At that stage of the game, it appeared as if the Conquerors would be restricted to just over 100 runs from the way the game was progressing. When L Baptist was run out by Doodnauth on 29 with the score on 87, things did not look so well.
Romel Haynes stuck around long enough to add 18 runs to the ailing scoreboard and was caught by Doodnauth off the bowling from Mrinal Wadhwa with the second ball from his first over and Clancy Celair was brilliantly caught by K Carty off the bowling from Burton on 9.
The game changed dramatically after the arrival at the wicket of K Baptist who together with Vishwanauth Singh propelled the Conquerors to a respectable total and a 100 run partnership. Unfortunately, Baptist who was in sight of a brilliant century was run out on 99 from ball that was caught by Hamer and thrown to Evans who clipped the stumps.
Baptist’s superb innings which came in 107 minutes facing 94 balls was spiked by 11 fours and 5 sixes. The not out batsman was Singh on 10. Burton was the pick of the bowling attack with 3 for 56 and Hamer had 2 for 29.
Chasing 242 to win, Nagico were off to a brilliant start with Kacey Carty and Evans providing a 75 run partnership which made things a little easier for the middle order. Carty was first to go, caught by Liburd off the bowling from Clair on 31.
But there was no need for them to panic and when Doodnauth, the 3rd highest scorer in the division with 178 runs joined Evans, the number 2 batsman in the division with 183 that left and right handed batting style spelt trouble for the Conquerors.
The quick rotation of the batsmen did now give the bowlers ample time to make the necessary adjustments on their approach. But even when Evans who was dropped on 10 and again on 45 was brilliantly caught by Raphael Baptist, off the bowling from Simmons on 49, still there was no need to panic in the Nagico camp.
Anil Persaud, the new batsman had the ability to shift into high gear if he was allowed to settle down, but when Doodnauth was caught and bowled by L Baptist on 51, it appeared as if the Conquerors were tightening their grips and keeping down the run flow with the score on 151.
After an addition of 2 runs, Persaud was sent packing after he was out LBW off the bowling from V Singh on 14 and 11 runs after Theodule was bowled by Haynes on 4 and from that point on, it was an open affair; the dynamics of the game had changed.
Burton was caught by Hingorani off the bowling from Liburd on 27 and that decision drew mixed reactions from the gathering with the score on 202 for 6 in over number 40. When Hamer the new batsman joined Keith Carty out in the middle, they needed 30 to win from 60 balls.
The batting power play came into effect in the 41st over, but at a required run rate of 3.56 per over, Nagico were well in sight of a victory. But Carty, the most recognized batsman of the two was given the LBW decision off the bowling of Liburd on 16.
The new batsman, Brutus was known for his no nonsense approach, but what he had to do was to occupy the crease and let Hamer take on most of the strike Things began to look dim for Nagico when Hamer was caught behind by Hingorani off the bowling of Liburd on 2.
When Rasheed Pirkhan joined Brutus in the 43rd over, Nagico needed to score 35 from 47 balls to win, but Brutus, looking to get the ball down to the boundary was caught by Clair off the bowling from Haynes on 3.
That dismissal signaled the turning point in the game in favor of the Conquerors who had managed to lace a chip in the strong Nagico armor who by know means were not entirely invincible. It was an uphill task for the last pair Pirkhan and Wadhwa. Pirkhan, who had torn the webbing between his fingers earlier on the field was caught by R Baptist from the bowling of Liburd on 01. Wahhwa was not out on for no score.

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