Johnson steers Windwards to 2nd win


NORTH SOUND, Antigua – Johnson Charles hit an enterprising, unbeaten 61 to lead Windward Islands to their second victory in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament with a nine-wicket victory in a low-scoring affair against Canada on Wednesday.

The opener struck four fours and three sixes from 58 balls, as Windwards easily chased 112 for victory in their second Group-A match at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

Charles added 94 – unbroken – with fellow Grenadian Andre Fletcher to take Windwards over the finish line with 21 balls remaining.

Fletcher brought the match to a thrilling close, when he lofted left-arm spinner Junaid Siddiqui for a straight six to finish not out on 38.

Windwards restricted the Canadians to 111 for seven off 20 overs with Ruvindu Gunasekara leading the way with 38 and Raza-ur-Rehman supporting with 34 not out.

Windwards started steadily with Charles the main aggressor, but they setback, when Miles Bascombe, another Grenadian, was lbw flicking across the line of well-pitched delivery from Osinde in the fifth over.

This paved the way for Charles and Fletcher to take charge of the situation, gradually becoming more aggressive as the overs ticked away.

Charles, who made his T20 International debut for West Indies last September in England, reached his 50 from 50 balls and continued to match sound defence with his powerful strokes.

With the target drawing closer and the weather looking dicey, Fletcher too, stepped up and played with the kind of enterprise for which he is known.

Earlier, Canada had started positively, after losing Zubin Surkari in the second over, caught behind off left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin following an umpires’ review.

Gunasekara gave the innings the early momentum, striking three fours and two sixes, but he went into his shell once the wickets started to tumble around him.

When he was caught at long-off in the 12th over from Liam Sebastien’s off-spin, Canada were 67 for five, but Raza stemmed a total collapse, propping up the bottom half of the batting with his knock.

The victory earned Windwards four points, placing them firmly at the top of Group-A, and Canada got no points.

Windwards will have to wait until next Tuesday for their third match, when they face two-time regional champions Guyana at Kensington Oval when the tournament switches to Barbados.

Canada face Leeward Islands in their next match on Friday at the VRCG.

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 16:44