Marlon magic sinks CCC
NORTH SOUND, Antigua – Marlon Samuels drew on all of his experience, smashing an unbeaten 66 that trumped the same score from compatriot Chadwick Walton to usher Jamaica to a thrilling, victory by two wickets over the Combined Campuses & Colleges in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament on Tuesday.
The West Indies batsman struck two fours and five sixes from 52 balls, as Jamaica successfully chased down 132 with just three balls remaining in the second match of Group-B at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
Samuels, the top scorer in last year’s tournament, formalised the result for the reigning regional four-day and Super50 champions with a towering six off little-known medium-fast bowler Herman Henry, another compatriot on the “wrong” side, over long-off and into the second deck of the Grand Stand at the southern end of the ground.
Yannic Ottley, whose left-arm spin was a revelation in a pre-tournament series in Barbados last week, was the pick of the CCC bowlers, grabbing three wickets for 20 runs from his allotted four overs and Jason Holder took two for 33 from four overs.
Walton, a member of the Jamaica side last year when Carlton Baugh Jr was away on international duty with West Indies, had set the tone for an intriguing contest with a top score of 66 from 59 balls that included four fours and five sixes, as CCC reached 131 for nine from their 20 overs after they chose to bat.
Kyle Hope supported with 32 and they revived CCC with a stand of 92 between the third and 16th overs, as left-arm medium-fast bowler Krishmar Santokie with four for 17 from four overs and Nikita Miller, three for 32 from four over, threatened to run amok.
But Jamaica’s typically free-scoring, top-order batting came under early pressure from the CCC’s spin bowlers and they limped to 108 for eight in the penultimate over.
The Jamaicans seemed headed for defeat, when Krishmar Santokie was run out for a duck off the first ball of that over – from Jason Holder – trying to get Samuels the strike.
A huge slice of fortune for Samuels followed, when he was dropped at wide long-on by West Indies Under-19 all-rounder Kyle Mayers off the next delivery.
This proved to be the crucial turning point in the closing stages and Samuels, like most top-of-the-line batsmen, made Mayers and CCC pay.
He reached his 50 from 49 balls just three deliveries later with a straight six and celebrated with another six over mid-wicket from the final delivery of the over to leave Jamaica needing 10 from the final over.
Nikita Miller, batting at 10, was also fortunate, when Henry dropped a sharp, but high return chance off the first ball of the final over, but Samuels ended Jamaican concern with a savage, back-foot drive over cover for four off the next ball, and duly took them over the finish line.
Earlier, Walton took charge after Santokie ripped out CCC captain Romel Currency and Henry, leaving the composite side stumbling on five runs for two wickets.
A straight drive for four off Miller got Walton moving in the fourth over and he followed up with a six high over mid-wicket next ball. He also struck a four and two sixes off Samuels’ only over of his off-spin darts, which cost 17.
Hope got off the mark, steering Jamaica captain Dave Bernard Jr for four to square third man, but he was less fluent than Walton, who reached his 50 from 53 balls in the 15th over.
Walton celebrated his landmark with a straight six off Bernard, but Hope trying a big heave of his own was bowled for 32 by the same bowler.
This triggered a decline that saw CCC lose seven wickets for 34 inside the last five overs.
The CT20 continues on Wednesday, when Windward Islands look for their second straight victory against Canada at this same venue, where reigning champions Trinidad & Tobago tackle Leeward Islands, looking to rebound from a defeat in their opener.