Wicketkeeper/batsman’s brilliance propels team into Super50 final
Barbados Pride marched confidently into the final of the Regional Super50 Championship with a crushing 110 runs victory over Leeward Islands Hurricanes in their semifinal clash at Coolidge Cricket Ground tonight.
Batting first after winning the toss, the Pride powered to an imposing 314 for 7 and in reply bowled out their opponents for 204 in the 48th over.
Star of the day for Barbados Pride was West Indies batsman Shai Hope who scored a superb 125 decorated with eight boundaries and five sixes. His classy knock came off only 108 balls. And to add icing on the cake he would later claim seven victims behind the stumps.
West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite and Kevin Stoute opened the innings and both looked quite comfortable in taking the score to 42 in the 10th over before losing their first wicket. Stoute, going back to play through the off side, was bowled off the inside edge by off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for 21. Hope joined Brathwaite and they provided the early platform for Barbados’ Pride large total. Both played with great skill against a bowling attack where Cornwall and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein both extracted some turn from the track and were the best of the bowlers.
Brathwaite brought up his half-century in 76 balls but eight balls later in the 27th over and with the score on 119, he attempted a lofted shot off Hosein but only got as far as long-on where Jermaine Otto took an easy running catch. He made 54 and hit five boundaries, adding 77 with Hope.
Hope was joined by the in-form Jonathan Carter but he did not bother the scorers. Pushing forward, the left-hander was caught at slip by captain Kieran Powell off Cornwall for nought. Hope continued to bat with much aplomb scoring freely on both sides of the wicket and being especially strong on the drive. He was also not afraid to go over the top of the inner ring of fielders.
Hope and Roston Chase took the score to 204 in a vital partnership of 83. But with his score on 31 in the 41st over, Chase attempted an expansive drive at left-arm spinner Jason Campbell and edged a catch to Chesney Hughes at short third-man.
Promoted in the batting order to give the innings some further impetus, Ashley Nurse lasted all of one ball, attempted a heave and was caught by wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton off Campbell for a duck.
Captain Jason Holder safely negotiated the hat-trick delivery and then proceeded to pummel the Hurricanes’ bowling. He and Hope added 68 runs in 5.2 overs with Holder repeatedly hitting the ball out of the ground. Hope, too, upped a gear and gave his skipper excellent support.
The classy right-hander would perish in the pursuit of quick runs when he was caught at deep midwicket by Jeremiah Louis off pacer Alzarri Joseph with the score 272 for 6 after 46 overs.
Holder and fellow all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite then made merry with the Hurricanes’ attack as the two added 33 runs in just under three overs. Brathwaite blasted 27 in 11 deliveries with three sixes before he was dismissed and Holder ended unbeaten on a run-a-ball 42 with two boundaries and three sixes.
Cornwall was the best of the bowlers with 2 for 53 in his 10 overs.
Any hopes the Hurricanes might have had in challenging the Pride’s total rested significantly on the shoulders of the 2017 competition’s most prolific batsman in Powell. However, Holder struck a critical blow to their chances when in the fourth over Powell was caught by wicketkeeper Hope for 3 as he poked at a delivery angled across his body. It was a disastrous start for the Hurricanes.
They were in further peril in the seventh over bowled by fast bowler Kemar Roach when Jermaine Otto, driving, was caught at mid-off by Holder for nought with the score now 25 for 2.
The hosts lost another of their batting mainstays in the 13th over when Hamilton tried to run a delivery from Carlos Brathwaite in his first over down to third-man and edged to Hope with his score on 11 and the Hurricanes 39 for 3.
Big left-hander Chesney Hughes has had a few productive years on the England county circuit but has generally disappointed in competitions in the Caribbean. The Anguillan would disappoint once more when he pulled at a short ball down the leg side from Carlos Brathwaite and gloved a catch to Hope for just two runs. This left the Hurricanes innings in tatters at 43 for 4 in the 15 over.
All the while opener Montcin Hodge was trying to keep the Hurricanes in the contest. He and Cornwall added 50 for the fifth wicket before the latter going for one belligerent shot too many, was taken by Stoute at long-on off left-hand spinner Sulieman Benn for 30.
Hodge found a temporary ally in the Trinidadian left-hander Hosein who made 28 in a 40-run partnership before he was dismissed by Nurse in the 37th over with the score 139 for 7. His dismissal had come after Hope earlier stumped Orlando Peters off Nurse as he stepped out of his crease for a drive.
Hodge was finally dismissed for 63, stumped by Hope off Nurse. He batted for 111 deliveries and struck seven boundaries. The only other innings of note came from the number 9 batsman Louis who blazed away for an unbeaten 41 at the tail-end of the innings which ended with Hope snaring a record seventh victim with a brilliant catch to dismiss last man Joseph off the bowling of Brathwaite who finished with 3 for 56. Nurse was the best of the bowlers with 3 for 37.
Hope, predictably, was named Man-of-the-Match.