CALDRAC Sports won the second edition of the National Gas Company-sponsored People Empowering People (PEP) T20 competition when they powered to a convincing 55-run victory over Arena United in Saturday’s final at the Caldrac Ground in California.
The home team won the toss and opted to take first strike, compiling 175 for the loss of four wickets in their allotted 20 overs, to which Arena could only muster 120 in reply while losing six wickets in the process.
Caldrac’s opening pair of captain Mustapha Ali and Daniel Ali put on a 20-run partnership before Mustapha went caught at the wicket for eight off the bowling of Dave Boodoo in the fourth over. They suffered another early setback to be 41 for two in the seventh over when former national player Shazam Babwah was caught off Shiva Sakawat for a quickfire 15 containing one boundary and a six.
But a 99-run third wicket partnership between Ali (D) and the hard-hitting Omesh Ramoutar laid the foundation for Caldrac’s formidable total.
Ramoutar struck eight fours and three sixes in compiling 73 entertaining runs. He was particularly severe on Sakawat, hitting him for six, four and six off successive deliveries in the 15th over, which yielded 19 runs. Medium pacer Dalry Balgobin also came in for some punishment from Ramoutar, who struck a six followed by a boundary in scoring 12 off the final over that produced 15 runs.
Meanwhile, Ali (D) played an excellent supporting role in scoring 46 before he was the third man out, caught on the third-man boundary off pacer Valmiki Maharaj, off the final delivery of the 17th over. The solid opening bat struck two boundaries and two sixes.
Maharaj was Arena’s most economical bowler with one wicket for 17 runs from his four overs, while Sakawat chipped in with one for 32 from his three overs.
Arena’s run chase never got going as Rakish Maraj provided the early breakthrough, having opener Miguel Heraman caught at deep mid-on off his second delivery with the score on three. Heramam score only one run.
Maraj removed the other opener, Nizam Mohammed some four overs later when he had him caught at third slip for 11 to leave Arena in trouble at 23 for the loss of two wickets after six overs.
Dalry Balgobin would be joined in the middle by Valmiki Maharaj but their partnership contributed just nine runs before Balgobin was comprehensively yorked for 12 by lively pacer Allan Laurent in the ninth over. And 32 for three turned to 39 for four in the next over as off-spinner Christopher Vincent bowled Rudal Beepath.
Maharaj and the competent Dave Boodoo would stage a mild recovery with a 72-run fifth wicket partnership, but when Maharaj was bowled for a top score of 39 (three fours, one six) by Laurent with the last delivery of the penultimate over, the writing was already on the wall for Arena.
Babwah turned out to be Caldrac’s most economical bowler when he bowled Anthony Ramkaysingh (zero) in the final over to finish with one wicket for eight runs off four overs.
Boodoo remained unbeaten on 24 while Laurent, 4-0-12-2, Maharaj, 4-0-20-2 and Vincent, 4-013-1, also had good spells with the ball.
Ramoutar, who was named the Best Batsman of the final also copped the Man-of-the-Match award for his unbeaten 73.
In the third place playoff, Calcutta Sports Club defeated On Drivers Highlights by 22 runs to snare third.
Caldrac took home $20,000 for their tournament victory with Arena bagging $12, 000; Calcutta, $7,000; and On Drivers, $4,000.