It was a short, intense Twenty20 shootout at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre on Monday night as Merry Boys pipped First Citizens Clarke Road United by seven runs to book their place in the Premier Division T20 semi-finals.
Both sides came out with their guns blazing as they entertained the small crowd that braved the rain and stayed late into the night to see the five over per side Premier Division T20 quarter-final, which eventually got underway at around 9:20 p.m. and concluded close to 11 p.m.
That a match was even possible after rain beat down on the ground for most of the day on Monday was due in large part to the hard-working ground crew at the venue, who took to the field with large sponges and buckets and battled for close to three hours to get the pitch ready.
Merry Boys, sent into bat, blasted three sixes and five fours in their competitive 70 for two off five overs, which proved to be just out of the reach of Clarke Road. The latter replied with 63 for four.
For Merry Boys, Mario Belcon slammed a six and a four in a 13-ball 22, but it was Man of the Match Shemroy Barrington who did most of the damage by blasting three fours and two sixes in a 12-ball knock of 29.
Skipper Alcindo Holder finished off the innings with two fours to take them to what seemed to be a good total.
And with pacer Marlon Richards removing Anthony Bramble caught and bowled with the first ball of the Clarke Road innings, the Diego Martin club looked set to take the game convincingly. But that over cost the bowler 26 runs, letting Clarke Road back in the game.
Hard-hitting wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran capitalised in that first over, slamming sixes over midwicket and over cover, as well as fours to deep backward square and to extra cover ropes.
Left arm-spinner Javed Ramdhanie was also roughed up, with Pooran getting a four and a six to keep his team in the hunt.
Pooran hit 33 off 13 balls before edging behind off Emrit in the third over with the score on 40, with 31 more needed off 16 balls.
It boiled down to the final over with Clarke Road needing 11. Spinner Kastri Singh emerged as the match-winner for Merry Boys, bowling the best over of the match, only conceding three runs to ensure his team advanced to the next round.
Merry Boys will now face the winners either Seenath’s Auto Bamboo Sports or PowerGen Penal—who met in yesterday’s late match—in tomorrow night’s Premier Division semi-final from 7 p.m.
Merry Boys 70/2 in 5 overs (Mario Belcon 22, Shemroy Barrington 29; Kyle Mayers 1/15) vs FC Clarke Road 63/4 in 5 overs (Nicholas Pooran 33; Rayad Emrit 1/10, Ryan Hurley 1/11, Marlon Richards 1/26) Merry Boys won by seven runs.