Specials – Rewind to ODI cricket in Berbice

International cricket in Guyana has been synonymous with Bourda in Georgetown for the best part of its cricketing history, and with the Providence Stadium in recent times. However, the first ground in Guyana – and in fact anywhere in the West Indies – to host an ODI match was the Albion Sports Complex in the sugar region of Berbice. Here is a look back at the five ODIs that were played at this historically significant venue.

Only ODI v Pakistan, 1976-77 – West Indies won by four wickets

This was the first ODI in the Caribbean, played during a five-Test series. After rain reduced the overs to 45, a crowd of nearly 15,000 saw the pacemen, led by Joel Garner (3/27) and Colin Croft (3/50), reduce Pakistan to 67/5. Thanks to captain Asif Iqbal (59*) and Imran Khan (39), Pakistan posted 176/7. Roy Fredericks (44) and captain Clive Lloyd (45*) starred with the bat, steering the hosts home ten balls to spare.

Second ODI v England, 1980-81 – West Indies won by six wickets

After having pinched a two-run win in Kingstown (Croft’s 6/15 enabled them to defend 127), the West Indies sealed the two-match series. The English innings failed to get going, as Larry Gomes (3/30) and Croft (3/9) dented the middle and lower order respectively. The West Indies slipped to 11/2 in reply, but Desmond Haynes’ 48 and finishing touches from Gomes and Lloyd completed the chase of 138 in the 40th over.  

A local U-19 match in progress at the Albion Sports Complex – the first ODI venue in the Caribbean – in 2016 (source – Guyana Times)

Second ODI v India, 1982-83 – India won by 27 runs

The West Indies’ only defeat at Albion was due to a stunning knock from Indian captain Kapil Dev. Trailing the three-match series, India were given a solid platform by Sunil Gavaskar (90) in this 47-over game. But the real impetus came from Kapil, who blitzed a 22-ball fifty en route to 72 in just 38 balls. Staring at an imposing total of 282/5, the West Indies rode on Vivian Richards’ attacking 64, but eventually finished at 255/9.

First ODI v Australia, 1983-84 – West Indies won by eight wickets

The Australian openers Kepler Wessels and Steven Smith put on 106 in this first of four matches, but the run rate was sluggish. Gomes (3/34) tightened the screws with his off-spin, before Greg Ritchie (46) and Dean Jones (43) dragged the total to a below-par 231/5. Haynes responded with 133* in 147 balls, and his second-wicket stand of 167 with Richie Richardson (61) drove the Windies to victory with two overs left.

Third ODI v New Zealand, 1984-85 – West Indies won by 130 runs

Haynes continued his liking for Albion, this time scoring an unbeaten 145 in 157 balls (he totalled 328 runs at 164.00 at the ground). He added 125 with captain Richards (51) for the third wicket, and 80 in just ten overs with Gus Logie for the fourth, which carried the total to 259/5. New Zealand lost seven wickets – all bowled – for only 75, before the innings wound up at 129. The West Indies went on to sweep the series 5-0.  

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