Bajans hoping for repeat
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS - Barbados go into their fifth-round Regional 4Day Championship match with Windward Islands, today fresh from a confidence-boosting runaway victory by 99 runs over the same opponents last Thursday night when the two teams clashed in the Super50 competition at Kensington Oval, the venue for today’s contest.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the home side dominated all facets of the day/night encounter as their all-round depth proved too powerful for the visitors, who folded in 47 overs for 180 in reply to 279 for seven.
All-rounder Jonathan Carter undermined the Windwards’ batting with his best ever figures in regional One-Day competition after captain Kirk Edwards and experienced international player Dwayne Smith piloted Barbados tothe challenging total off 50 overs.
Carter, bowling right-arm medium pace, captured the last five wickets for 26 runs to crush any hopes the Windwards would have held after their skipper Liam Sebastien and youthful lower-order bat Dalton Polius mounted a defiant 69-run stand for the sixth wicket.
The Barbados skipper guided the first half of his team’s innings on a pitch that presented uneven bounce throughout the match.
He and opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite posted 88 for the second wicket, with the latter contributing 44 off 77 balls while wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (33), batting at number four, helped to add a further 34 before the skipper fell for 64 off 92 balls, including four fours.
With the platform laid by the earlier batsmen, Smith batted in typical pugnacious fashion to crack an unbeaten 53 (29 balls, three fours, four sixes) to accelerate the scoring rate towards the end of the innings.
Kenroy Williams (36, 24 balls, five fours), though less explosive, lent able assistance as their seventh-wicket alliance yielded 77 runs off 48 balls.
Smith was particularly harsh on pacer Nelon Pascal whom he struck for two massive sixes, the second of which cleared the perimeter walls of the Oval.
Pascal, whose three wickets were the most by any of the Windwards’ bowlers, was punished for 87 runs off ten overs, inclusive of one of only two maiden overs in the innings.
In-form opening bat Devon Smith got off to an encouraging start, smacking two boundaries off Jason Holder’s first over, the second of the innings.
Then Fidel Edwards, playing his first match in regional competition for the season, forced West Indies T20 opening bat Johnson Charles to steer a rising delivery to Smith at second slip and Smith slapped Holder into Carter’s lap at point in the next over.
The writing was on the wall for the visitors.
Holder soon snuffed out Keddy Lesporis via another slip catch before Miles Bascombe (23) and Andre Fletcher, whose 42 came off 44 balls and included six fours, briefly threatened a recovery while adding 64.
Both batsmen fell with the score on 84 to give the locals a firm grip on the match.
Sebastien, who had earlier been stretchered off the field after falling awkwardly while attempting to catch Smith, and Polius, better known for his off spin bowling, delayed the inevitable result until Carter breached the young left hander’s defence to start his single-handed demolition of the lower order.
Today’s match commences at 10 a.m. and could prove of vital importance to both teams’ chances of keeping up a challenge for a place in the semi-finals, which are scheduled to come off in early May.
Windwards currently occupy first place in the standings, having earned 36 points from four matches while the Bajans, who have played three matches, are in joint second position with Jamaica, who have played two, and Trinidad and Tobago, who have played three, on 24 points.