ICC Americas Media Release
On day two of the ICC Americas WCL Division 2 Championship in Paramaribo, Suriname, the Bahamas virtually ensured they would claim the Division 2 title tomorrow, and promotion to the Americas Division 1 tournament later in the year, when they beat a spirited Panama by 6 wickets.
Strong favourites at the outset, Bahamas were made to work very hard by the organized Panamanian outfit, and although the statistics finally show a comprehensive Bahamas win, there were certainly moments throughout the contest when Panama were right in it.
After electing to bat first at Snellen Park, Panama made a confident start, and by the 32nd over were in an outstanding position at 141 for 3. Openers Soyab Chohan (30 off 39 balls with 4 fours) and Nilesh Bhakta (37 off 72 balls, 5 fours) had made a cautious but solid opening partnership of 52, and Panama were perhaps looking at setting a challenging target around the 250 mark.
However the introduction of young Jonathan Barry in the 32nd over turned the innings on its head. With his second ball he removed first day centurion Irfan Tarajia (27, off 40 balls, 3 fours, 1 six), and proceeded to wreck the Panamanian middle and lower order, finishing with outstanding figures of 5 for 14 in 4 overs.
Panama crashed to 154 all out in 39 overs, losing their final seven wickets for a mere 13 runs. Bahamas skipper Narendra Ekanayake also bowled well with 2 for 23 in 7 overs, but man of the match Barry was undoubtedly the star of the show.
Still, Panama came out in determined fashion, and grabbed a wicket with the first ball of the Bahamas innings. Game on? Eighteen year old opener Marc Taylor had other ideas, and he almost single-handedly took the game away from Panama with a swashbuckling innings of 52, scored off only 36 balls, with 6 fours and 2 sixes.
Howard Roye weighed in with 33, off 29 balls, 4 fours and 2 sixes, and although Panama grabbed a couple more wickets, their batting collapse against Barry meant they simply had nowhere near enough runs to sustain their challenge, Bahamas reaching 160 for 4 in 18 wickets to register a 6 wicket victory.
On the neighbouring Owru Kul ground, hosts Suriname revived their challenge with a 112 run victory over the Turks & Caicos Islands. However, after choosing to bat first, it looked like the Turks & Caicos team were heading for the four win points, with Suriname reeling at 106 for 7 after 22 overs.
Big Wayne Williams spun Suriname into deep trouble with a great 10 over spell, taking 5 for 40. With their backs to the wall, two Surinamese teenagers Douglas Charles and Arun Gokoel batted with enormous maturity and tenacity to add a brilliant 115 for the 8th wicket. They stayed together for 26 invaluable overs, and both made deserved half-centuries.
The partnership was finally broken in the 48th over with the departure of Charles for a excellent 62, off 84 balls, including 7 fours and 2 sixes, while Gokoel remained unbeaten to the end, finishing on a superb 59 not out off 71 balls, with 5 fours. They had taken Suriname to an imposing 249 for 8 at the end of the 50 overs, and left Turks & Caicos Islands with all the work to do.
With Donavan Matthew batting sublimely, the game hung in the balance. However, with his dismissal for a fine 73, off 73 balls, including 14 scorching fours, another youngster, leg-spinner Troy Dudnauth stepped into the spotlight and mystified then demolished the remainder of the Turks & Caicos batting, taking 4 for 29 in 10 great overs.
From 114 for 3 in the 24th over, and the subsequent dismissal of Matthews, the Turks & Caicos Islands slumped to be all out for 137 in the 37th over, losing their final 7 wickets for only 23 runs, and defeat to the hosts by 112 runs.
Saturday's final round of fixtures sees the hosts Suriname take on the powerful Bahamas at what will no doubt be a packed Snellen Park, while Panama will play the Turks & Caicos Islands next door at Owru Kul.
Suriname will need an extraordinarily comprehensive win to have any chance of overtaking the Bahamas on net run rate, and will anyway be hoping for a Turks & Caicos win over Panama, which would give the hosts second place no matter what their result against Bahamas. Panama will secure the runner-up spot with a win, but probably are too far back to overhaul Bahamas on the net run rate in the event they in turn lose to Suriname unless both results are nothing short of extraordinary.