Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) did almost everything right during their Caribbean Twenty20 (CT20) match against Guyana at Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain on Monday night.
Man of the Match Chadwick Walton shocked the Guyanese when he slammed a tournament record score—99 not out off 64 balls—to lead CCC to 159 for three when they were sent in to bat.
Making his CT20 debut, left-arm fast bowler Raymon Reifer snatched four for 32, including a hat-trick, to put CCC in a winning position. Still, it was not enough as Guyana held their nerve to pull off a tense two-wicket win, reaching 160 for eight off the last ball of the match.
Ryan Wiggins took a brilliant catch to dismiss Jonathan Foo in the 19th over of the chase, but the "Students" could not keep it together in that final over with Guyana needing 14; Jason Holder bowled a wide and no ball, while Devendra Bishoo and captain Veerasammy Permaul scrambled singles.
With Guyana needing ten off the last two balls, Permaul and Bishoo ran two off the no-ball, before the skipper blasted the resulting free hit for six, and then the pair scrambled a single off the final ball. A minute later television replays confirmed the run and they celebrated the narrow triumph.
From the start of the chase, Permaul's team kept pace with the required run rate and although they only had two sixes in their innings, they made up for it with some exquisite shots that pierced gaps on both sides of the wickets. It was the West Indies pair of Narsingh Deonarine and Shivnarine Chanderpaul that put Guyana on the path of victory.
They shared a 62-run stand for the third wicket—the highest partnership of the match—with Deonarine top-scoring with 57 off 40 balls, which included six fours and one six. Chanderpaul hit 38 off 33 balls with five fours, and he and Deonarine took the score from 29 for two in the fifth over to 91 in the 12th over before the veteran Test batsman edged Holder to the wicket-keeper Walton.
Deonarine then became Reifer's first hat-trick victim as the left-hander chased a deliver outside off stump and got an edge to the keeper off the last ball of the 17th over.
When Reifer returned to bowl the penultimate over, he sent back Royston Crandon and Derwin Christian off the first two balls followed by Foo off his second-to-last ball of the game.
Earlier when CCC batted, the "Students" paced their innings just right with hard-hitting wicket-keeper batsman Walton exploding towards the end to beat make the highest score in CT20, beating the previous best of 89 by Jamaica's Danza Hyatt against Barbados at the same venue in 2010.
Walton slammed six sixes and three fours in his knock and the 27-year-old Jamaican cleared the ropes four times in the final over of the CCC innings to show his worth as a clinical finisher.
CCC were 111 for three after 17.2 overs when the right-hander opened up against the Guyana bowlers smashing West Indies Under-19 fast bowler Ronsford Beaton for a six and a four in the18th over as the score went on to 124 for three.
The final over of the innings produced something special, with Walton just missing out on the scoring what would have been the first century of the CT20. He and Ryan Wiggins put on 48 for the fourth wicket.
To put things into perspective, Wiggins tallied just three in that stand.
CCC played their second match of the tournament against defending champions Trinidad and Tobago at the Oval last night while Guyana tackle Guyana in their second match tomorrow from 8 p.m. at the same venue.