Good outings for Shepherd, Smith, Persaud and Sankar as Johnson’s XI register win

Story and photos By Brandon Corlette

Team Leon Johnson’s XI

In the first of three practice matches for the Guyana Jaguars Super50 preparation, Leon Johnson’s XI won by two wickets at the La Bonne Intention (LBI) cricket facility.
Romario Shepherd claimed 4-24, Nial Smith took 3-22 for the winning team while for Shimron Hetmyer’s XI, Steven Sankar grabbed 4-39 and Akshaya Persaud scored an unbeaten half-century.
Batting first, Hetmyer’s XI made 152 all out in 33.3 overs while Johnson’s XI, led by Jonathan Foo’s aggressive 35 and Tevin Imlach’s solid 28, ended up victorious on 145-8, winning by two wickets under the DRS method.

Romario Shepherd steams in during his impressive spell

Shepherd, Smith wreck wickets; Persaud, Ricardo fight back
After some early-morning showers across the East Coast of Demerara, Hetmyer’s XI were asked to bat first. Chandrapaul Hemraj hit the first ball of the match for four, but he departed a few balls later. Hemraj was neatly taken at first slip by Johnson in an eventful first over, bowled by the steaming Shepherd. For his short time at the crease, Kevlon Anderson (07) looked solid, but he was undone by a Nial Smith special that hit the top of the off-stump and flew into the fence.
At 22-2, Hetmyer took centre stage, but another Jaffa by Smith to make it 27-3 ensured it was not a Hetmyer show. Hetmyer looked a bit rusty before he edged one to Johnson at slip, scoring only two runs.

Steven Sankar bowls during his four-wicket haul

Off-spinner Ramaal Lewis then trapped Vishal Singh at the crease for 15 at 53-4 in 13.2 overs. The promising Persaud was joined by Kemol Savory and the duo took the score to 81-5 in 22.2 overs. Savory (09) fell for a short-ball trap to Smith.
Bhaskar Yadram fell for a duck to Gudakesh Motie at 83-5 and rain intervened at 12:43h. The match resumed at 14:30h. Persaud and Ricardo Adams added impetus to the innings with an aggressive 64-run partnership. Adams took Devendra Bishoo to the cleaners, slamming four sixes off the leg-spinner.
Adams eventually fell for a brisk 47, which was decorated with five sixes and one four. At 147-7, Adams departed and Shepherd cleaned up the tail as the final three wickets fell for five runs.

Akshaya Persaud scored an unbeaten half-century

Persaud was left unbeaten on 51, which included three fours and two sixes. The left-handed Persaud began with a bit of luck, slashing a few off the edges, but he gradually got into his groove. The innings ended on 152 all out. Tucber Park duo Smith and Shepherd did the demolition job with the ball. Shepherd claimed 4-24 in 5.3 overs while Smith took 3-22 in six overs.

Sankar shines
With 10 overs lost, on DRS, Johnson’s XI required 141 runs to win in 35 overs. In pursuit of that, Assad Fudadin and Trevon Griffith began cautiously. Fudadin was first to depart at 23-1 when he was caught at the wicket off the bowling of Kevin Sinclair for four.

Nial Smith peeled off the edge of Shimron Hetmyer

A poor shot led to the demise of Griffith, who attempted a reverse shot, but was trapped in front by the leggie Sankar at 34-2. Captain Johnson slammed Keon Joseph for a six, but he was removed by Sankar for nine with the score on 43-3. Christopher Barnwell was removed for a golden duck by the same Sankar after he got an inside edge and was caught.
Wickets kept tumbling for Johnson’s XI, and Anthony Bramble, after hitting a six off Sankar, was removed in quick time, with the score at 54-5 in15.3 overs. Then, Imlach dropped anchor and Foo hit attack mode. Foo damaged Sankar’s figures from 4-10 in four overs to 4-39 in seven overs. The lad from Albion struck four sixes in his 35. At 114-6, Anthony Adams ended the 60-run partnership.
Shepherd (15) hit two sixes off Sinclair and took the score to 135-7. Sinclair ended the eventful over with his trademark celebration. Imlach (28), who stuck around for a while, eventually gifted his wicket to Anthony Adams and Johnson’s XI were 135-8. Lewis (07*) and Motie (03*) ensured no further hiccups as Johnson’s XI ended on 145-8 in 30 overs. For the bowling opposition, in addition to Sankar’s 4-39, Kevin Sinclair took 2-20 in seven overs while Anthony Adams claimed 2-12 in four overs.
The next practice match is slated for Wednesday, January 20 and the third and final match is on Friday, January 22 at the same LBI facility. Both matches are scheduled for 09:00h.