Barbados v Guyana, Carib Beer semi-final, 1st day February 27, 2004

Late flurry gives Barbados the edge

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Guyana 248 for 7 (Sarwan 121, Chanderpaul 81, Collins 4-72) v Barbados

Four wickets in the final hour gave Barbados the edge on the first day of their Carib Beer Series semi-final against Guyana at Bridgetown. Until then it looked as if the defiance of Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul had wiped out the early success Barbados enjoyed.

Sarwan and Chanderpaul came together inside the first hour with Guyana on the rack at 29 for 3, and added 203 runs for the fourth wicket in a little under five hours. Sarwan, coming into the match in good touch, hammered 13 fours on his way to 121, driving with ease and confidence. Chanderpaul, more circumspect, was the ideal foil with a determined 81.

But when Ian Bradshaw had Chanderpaul caught behind by Courtney Browne (232 for 4) the floodgates opened, Sarwan fell in an identical manner one run later, and then Pedro Collins struck twice in the closing overs as Barbados battled back.

Collins was the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 72 in 20 overs, while Bradshaw's accuracy tied the batsmen down. He took 2 for 38 from 30 overs, and at one stage bowled eight consecutive maidens.

Barbados opted for an all-pace attack on what was a hard and fast track. "I'm a fast bowlers captain. I like fast bowlers," Browne, their captain, explained. "If I had to choose, I would always choose four fast bowlers, especially if they are of good quality. We do have four good quality fast bowlers, so for me, that's what I love."

Guyana's form this season - they lost all three games on the road and only scraped into the semis thanks to their 100 per cent home record - and the frailty of the batting today - Sarwan and Chanderpaul excepted - means that Barbados are odds-on to reach next month's final.