First-class effort

Javon Searles starred with both bat and ball today.
Javon Searles starred with both bat and ball today.

Fast-bowling all-rounder Javon Searles had his best day of first-class cricket today when his efforts spurred Barbados to a crushing ten-wicket victory over Trinidad and Tobago on the second day of their seventh and final round WICB Regional Four-day match at Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain.

Resuming today on 143 for 7 with a lead on their hosts of 39, Barbados extended that total to 194 all out with Searles, 20 overnight, making an unbeaten and entertaining 56, his maiden half-century. Together with Sulieman Benn who started the morning on 18, Searles added a vital eighth-wicket partnership of 68. Benn added just four to his overnight score.

Searles batted for 102 minutes, faced 64 balls and struck eight fours. He reached his half-century in 75 minutes off 52 balls with eight boundaries and ensured Barbados had a healthy 85-run lead in the low-scoring match. Tino Best and Miguel Cummins offered token assistance as Barbados were eventually bowled out in the 54th over of their innings.

Leg-spinner Imran Khan took three for 29 while seamer Rayad Emrit and West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel chipped in with two for 50 and two for 65 respectively.

Batting a second time, after making 109 in their first innings, the home side gave another example of the poor batting that afflicts regional cricket with another abject display, capitulating to 129 all out in the 43 over. The poor state of affairs was most evident in the fact that an under-performing Barbados won an encounter by 10 wickets where the highest score in the match was their 194.

Trinidad and Tobago would have hoped that their opening pair of Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath, both West Indies Test batsmen, would have led the rearguard fight but by the 11th over both were back in the pavilion, dismissed by the wily left-arm spin of Benn.

Simmons was leg before wicket for 26 after an opening partnership of 37, and Barath, whose promising early career has gone into shocking decline, was also trapped in front in the 11th over with the score 42 for 2. With the first ball of the next over Searles made it 42 for 3 when Kjorn Ottley was leg before wicket for nought. Jason Mohammed, who has experienced One-Day International cricket for the West Indies, then made it a case of d√j√† vu when he copped a second duck of the match.

As in the first innings when he edged Cummins to Ashley Nurse in the slips, he again found Nurse in the slips but this time off Benn to leave Trinidad and Tobago in tatters at 48 for 4. And it got worse.Captain Denesh Ramdin scratched around for 17 but then edged Cummins to Jonathan Carter at third slip with the score on 68 for 5.

Wicketkeeper Shai Hope then got into the game when he took a brilliant, diving leg-side catch to get rid of Yannick Cariah in two minds whether to tickle the ball to fine leg or leave it. His dismissal without scoring made it 79 for 6.

The hosts limped to triple figures and immediately lost Khan, trapped in front the wicket by Benn for a top score of 33. Searles completed his day’s work with the scalps of Marlon Richards (2) caught at slip by Nurse, and Kavesh Kantasingh, bowled without scoring. Benn then wrapped up the innings when he bowled Emrit for 26 in the 43rd over.

Benn finished with five for 49 off 18.2 overs, while Searles captured three for 26 off 13 overs and Cummins took two for 46 to add to his first innings 7 for 45. With Barbados having been bowled out in double figures already in the season, some of the gathering in the stands might have harboured thoughts of Trinidad providing the visitors with a few blushes in the pursuit of the 45-run victory target. But that was not to be.Openers Kraigg Brathwaite (26 not out) and Rashidi Boucher (11 not out) easily knocked off the 45 runs by the first ball of the eighth over.

It was Barbados’ fourth win of the tournament as they finished the preliminary rounds third on 48 points. Trinidad & Tobago ended fourth on 36 points. In the semi-finals, champions for the past five years, Jamaica, will oppose Trinidad & Tobago at Sabina Park in Kingston while the Windward Islands clash with Barbados at a venue in the Windward Island still to be decided.

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