5th South American Championship, Buenos Aires, 2002

In an outstanding and thrilling 5th South American Championship final at the Longchamps ground of Club Atletico Lomas in Buenos Aires, Argentina A clawed their way to a tense and exciting two victory over Chile with only two balls to spare.

It was an all-action final from beginning to end, the advantage swinging from one team to the other countless times, and in the murky late afternoon tension, Argentina A kept the trophy in Argentina for the fifth successive time.

Chile were put in to bat and compiled a useful 195, all out on the final ball of the fortieth over. Sustained pressure from the Argentine bowlers and fielders made run-scoring difficult throughout, but Chile did well to fight back, after losing early wickets, from 61 for 4 and then 89 for 5, largely thanks to a fine aggressive innings of 70 (70 balls, with 1 six and 10 fours) from Cameron MacGovern. He shared in a crucial sixth wicket stand of 51 with Tim Messner, who made 28 (27 balls). For Argentina A Sunyog Chauhan bowled well for his 3 for 28 in his 8 overs, with good support coming from Sergio Ciaburri and Miguel Rowe, both returning figures of 2 for 34.

Chile looked well on the way to a landmark victory in the Championship when they had the defending champions reeling at 42 for 4 after 12 overs. The Argentines, however, had other ideas, and led by player-coach Grant Dugmore, who came in with the total on 28 for 3, and batted with great timing and control to be 85 not out (89 balls, with 2 sixes, 8 fours, and another six thanks to overthrows) at the end, were obviously determined not to relinquish their hold on the South American title.

Important partnerships of 42 for the fifth wicket with Malcolm Gibson (11) and 46 for the sixth wicket with skipper Billy MacDermott (18) kept the Argentines in the hunt, but with the score at 130 for 6, still needing 65 for victory in 9,4 overs remaining, the game was on a knifes edge. Then young Lucas Paterlini made a quick 27 (24 balls), and the balance swung again. Chile’s bowlers were superb overall, with Blair Douglas (3 for 25 in 8 overs) and Tim Messner (3 for 32 in 8 overs) outstanding, and showed tremendous character in fighting back with a vengeance to almost snatch the trophy at the end.

Ultimately, Dugmore stood firm, and in a nail-biting climax to an enthralling and classic final, and successful tournament for all involved, young Alejo Perez swung the fourth ball of Argentina A’s fortieth and final over unceremoniously to the mid-wicket boundary to take his team to 196 for 8 and a sensational two wicket victory with two balls to spare.

In the end, on the day, there was nothing to choose between the two sides, and young captain Billy MacDermott proudly accepted the South American Trophy to make it five out of five for Argentine teams at this tournament.

Paul Hollis of Chile was adjudged Player of the Tournament, for his brilliant batting, accumulating 391 runs in 4 matches.

Another memorable South American Cricket Championship ending with an exciting finale, and everything to look forward to with the 6th championship, to be held in Chile in 2004.

Final placings:
1. Argentina A
2. Chile
3. Brazil
4. Andean Masters

Sadly, Peru did not participate in this Championship.