Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Guyana coach Esuan Crandon still "cannot believe" his side lost by two runs on Monday against Barbados chasing a tiny target of 69 runs in the Professional Cricket League. In a dramatic sequence of events in the third-round match played at Providence Stadium in Georgetown, Guyana forced Barbados to follow-on but failed to last the first session on the fourth and final day as Dwayne Smith picked up his maiden five-for.
"It was very, very disappointing to take the loss. We played three excellent days of cricket and then we lost the game in one session," Crandon told ESPNcricinfo. "The Barbados bowlers utilised the conditions well as the ball was moving around. A couple of careless, irresponsible shots from our batsmen cost us the game as well."
Crandon said the players were aware of the historic significance of the victory: Guyana have not defeated Barbados in Guyana since 1984 and missed out on a chance to snap the 30-year losing streak. "We knew that. I cannot believe what happened yesterday."
Speaking to Stabroek News Guyana captain Vishaul Singh admitted complacency was a factor while chasing the small target. Crandon agreed, too. "Probably a little bit of complacency crept in at the moment. Not only that, there was a bit of nerves too. We had wanted to chase down the total in a positive manner but we did not get the start we wanted. We lost four wickets for 10 runs on the board."
Crandon also cited the weary and breaking pitch as a crucial factor. "It was a difficult fourth-day wicket to bat on. There was wear and tear in the wicket, uneven bounce, ball keeping low, very low. Dwayne Smith was getting the ball to move, too. I am not making any excuses. Dwayne bowled well. But the pitch really helped him as well."
However Reon King, the former Guyana and West Indies fast bowler, who was the match referee, said he could not find any fault in the pitch. The nature of defeat raised a lot of eyebrows, but both the WICB and King said the only untoward thing was the poor batting by the Guyanese batsmen. "The pitch is fine. It was a normal four-day pitch. In my opinion it was just a collapse in batting," King said.
Despite the defeat Guyana have 39 points, enough to top the tournament table after three matches. They travel to Trinidad to play their next match starting Friday before the tournament takes a break. The final six matches will be played from February. "We also recognize the miss. Yesterday was a big miss for us because if we had won that game we could have been about 15 points clear of the second-place team," Crandon said.
Guyana vs Barbados
WICB Professional Cricket League Regional 4 Day Tournament
West Indies Domestic Season