by Wade Gibbons
Barbados made it a hat-trick of abject displays when they meekly surrendered to Trinidad and Tobago by five wickets in the Caribbean Twenty20 Cricket Tournament at the Beausejour Stadium in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, last night.
Performing less pitiably than perhaps only those responsible for some of the selections in the team, Barbados won the toss and limped to 101 for 6 in their 20 overs. The defending champions then sped to 102 for 5 in 15.1 overs to become the first team into the final.
For reasons maybe best explained in Braille, Barbados entered the match with six players whose first suit is their bowling, when batting has been their bugbear the entire competition.Their second most productive batsman in this format, Jonathan Carter, was surprisingly dropped; their most non-productive batsman in all formats, Shamarh Brooks, was shockingly retained and then comically placed to bat at number 8; their best batsman in this format captain Dwayne Smith, demoted himself to lead from behind; and defending a paltry score, their best bowler in the tournament, Tino Best, was the fifth bowler to touch the by then battered white ball. It was confusion perched proudly on a pedestal.
The procession started when Carlos Brathwaite (2), in the role of opener, top-edged an attempted cut off leg-spinner Samuel Badree into the gloves of Denesh Ramdin who took it expertly.
The classy Shane Dowrich, promoted to number 3, and opener Justin Brathwaite added 39 for the second wicket before the latter was marginally found out of his crease by Dwayne Bravo after aborting what was essentially a non-existent single. Again Brathwaite was positive in his 22 but his departure was a major blow at 43 for 2.
All the Trinidad bowlers, especially Badree and medium-pacer Rayad Emrit, bowled miserly and Dowrich’s scoring was basically snail’s pace.
Then in the 12th over and Sunil Narine’s second, Dowrich drove at a doosra and the leading edge found Dwayne Bravo at point and Barbados were 51 for 3. Dowrich made 21 off 37 balls.
At the start of the 15th over Barbados had dawdled to 59 when further disaster struck in what was Emrit’s third over. First, Smith (7 in 14 balls) was on the wrong end of a glaring umpiring error when given out leg before wicket to a ball that was not only high but heading down leg-side. Then Kyle Mayers (4) top-edged a pull shot to be caught by Ramdin, leaving Barbados in tatters at 64 for 5.
That soon became 77 for 6 when Javon Searles (11) virtually sent Bravo a cable that he intended to reverse sweep, played an unbalanced premeditated shot to a slower ball and sent a simple catch to Badree. It wasn’t pretty.
That Barbados managed to reach three figures was mainly due to the efforts of off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who though swinging and missing on a few occasions, still connected often enough to top-score with 24 off 19 balls with a six and two boundaries. He and Brooks added 23 runs but with Barbados’ ‘think-tank’ having included the latter in the line-up, to see him trudging out to the middle at number eight was highly perplexing.
Fidel Edwards opened the bowling with an excellent first over, though most of it was delivered to debutant Evin Lewis.
Sulieman Benn bowled the second over and he had to contend with Lendl Simmons who took him for a six and a four, to which Lewis added another boundary in an over that leaked 17 runs. That set the tone for the exchanges.
In Edwards’ second over he had to contend with Simmons and he too went for a six and a four off the Trinidadian opener’s blazing bat. And Lewis again added a final ball boundary to the over that cost 15 runs. After three overs Trinidad and Tobago were 33 without loss on a good batting track that Barbados had earlier made appear as though transplanted to 1990s Sarajevo.
Simmons eventually partook of the feast one serving too many, and on 36 off 23 balls, cut a delivery from Brathwaite to Mayers on the third-man boundary. Simmons and Lewis added 45 for the first wicket.
Darren Bravo, looking quite assured, drove Best majestically through cover to the boundary, but in the following over mistimed a pull shot off Smith’s bowling into Best’s safe hands with his score on 9.
Dwayne Bravo, on 3, was then run-out by his West Indies team-mate Smith, trying to steal a few metres by backing up too far at the non-striker’s end. Lewis, in the next over, was also run out after a bit of hesitation on a call from Ramdin and some smart work at the non-striker’s end by Nurse. He looked composed in making 24 off 27 balls.
Edwards got the valuable wicket of Kieron Pollard (15) caught by wicketkeeper Dowrich but that was Barbados’ last success as Ramdin (9 not out), in partnership with Yannick Ottley, saw Trinidad and Tobago to victory. Emrit was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his 2 for 14 off 4 overs.
Barbados, having also lost to Guyana and Combined Campuses and Colleges, find themselves in a must-win situation tonight against Windward Islands, but still have to depend on other results and statistical permutations to have a sniff at one of the last two qualifying spots with Guyana, Jamaica and Windward Islands still in the running.†††