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Man-of-the-Match Tino Best was in destructive form.

A pathetic batting display by the Leeward Islands handed Barbados an easy nine-wicket victory in their first match of the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval today.

In a match reduced to 18 overs because of afternoon showers, Leeward Islands were shot out for 87 and in reply Barbados reached their victory target at 91 for 1 in the ninth over.

Leeward Islands took first knock and there was immediate disaster. West Indies opening batsman Kieran Powell, looking to make himself a fixture in the regional Twenty20 side, received a short ball from Windies’ colleague Tino Best and pulled it down the throat of Ashley Nurse on the boundary. It was a start from which the Leeward Islands would never recover.

All the Barbados bowlers were splendid in their line and length with Best (4 for 25) proving a handful for the Leeward Islands on a wicket where playing through the line was fraught with danger.

The highly touted Anguillan and Derbyshire batsman Chesney Hughes, who hit two massive straight sixes, was the only batsman to get into double figures with 34 before being yorked by left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn (2 for 9).

Fail with the bat

The poor performance would have been especially disappointing for captain Sylvester Joseph, back in regional cricket after a more than two-year hiatus. Joseph himself failed with the bat providing promising fast-bowling all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite with his only wicket in a splendid spell of controlled medium-pace bowling.

The Leeward Islands’ batsmen were guilty of not taking into account the slow nature of the wicket, with most of their batsmen playing across the line and lofting shots to fielders in the deep.

In their turn at bat, Barbados’ newcomer Justin Brathwaite announced himself to regional spectators in spectacular fashion.

The powerfully built left-hander who plays domestically for LIME went after the small total with a vengeance, even outshining captain and fellow opener Dwayne Smith.

He smote a 16-ball 42, hitting the ball to all parts of the ground, and often out of it, with fast bowler Kelvin Walters and rotund right-arm spinner Rakeem Cornwall in particular coming in for severe punishment.

But with a debut half-century beckoning Brathwaite went for a pull shot off off-spinner Justin Athanaze and top-edged a catch to Anthony Martin at deep mid-wicket. †Smith was then joined by former captain Ryan Hinds and together they sped Barbados to victory with the skipper ending the match with a boundary off Athanaze. He finished on 36 off 23 balls and Hinds ended on 13.

Best was named Man-of-the-Match. (WG)††

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