|The victorious Suriname team|
It was my intention to cover the ICC Americas Pepsi Under-19 Division 2 tournament in its entirety (August 14-16), but my chivalrous spirit rendered me immobile for the three days and consigned me to collecting scores whenever I could. I did however see enough on the opening day to realize that the battle for top honours would be between eventual winners Suriname and Argentina. The other teams, hosts the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands, were evidently in the developmental stages of their youth programs.
In the double round tournament Argentina and Suriname split their matches and so it came down to which one of them could record the biggest margins of victories on the other two. Given the inexperience of the Bahamian side, many of whom were playing the game for the first time; it came as no surprise that they felt the brunt of the Argentine and Surinamese efforts to claim top spot. The Argentines took first crack when on the first day they amassed 260 for four from their allotted 20 overs at the Haynes Oval. Tomas Marinozzi, later named the tournament’s Best Wicket-keeper, slammed 109 before Lorenzo Altuzarra claimed three wickets to help restrict the Bahamas to 46 when their overs ran out.
Going into the final matches on the third afternoon Argentina led Suriname on net run rate (NRR) but the Surinamese would have fancied their chances since they were playing the Bahamas. They duly won the toss at Windsor Park and chose to bat, amassing 232 for five from their 20 overs. Joshua Holder, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, slammed an unbeaten 129 which came from 71 balls and included 10 fours and seven sixes. The hapless Bahamians, who failed to win a game in the tournament, were dismissed for their lowest total, 19, to lose by 213 runs. Xavier Smith claimed five wickets for seven runs from four overs. Over at the Haynes Oval Cayman could only muster 53 after being asked to bat first. Argentina tried valiantly to boost their (NRR) but were stretched out before reaching their target in seven overs. Thus Suriname’s huge victory pushed their NRR past Argentina’s, giving them the title and promotion to Division 1.
Holder was also named Best Batsman for scoring 219 runs and Best Bowler for taking 13 wickets – including five for nine in the second round game against the Cayman Islands.
Bahamas coach Gregory Taylor Jr. explained after the tournament that although the results were disappointing it was a good experience for his charges who were being put in match situations for the first time. He was however optimistic that they would improve given the plans he has in store. The Bahamas team, which included 11-year-old Cody Dean Jnr. only managed to past 50 twice with the highest score being 58 in the second round against the Cayman Islands. Skipper Nandkhumar Jagroo, who incidentally won the only Man-of-the-Match award for the Bahamas, is also the only player that consistently appears in the local league but, according to Taylor, all that is going to change.
Bahamas coach Gregory Taylor Jr.
Below are some more videos capturing the final moments of the second Suriname/Argentina game at Haynes Oval on Friday afternoon
Argentina's Lorenzo Altuzarra bowls Suriname's Joshua Holder around his legs
Altuzarra and Xaviee Smith involved in some byplay before the Argentine gets his man
And finally the winning run!