SUPER50: Hope’s ton sets up Pride, Scorpions final

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Shai Hope broke a 25-year-old record as Barbados Pride brushed aside a jaded Leeward Islands Hurricanes by 110 runs to a set up a rematch with Jamaica Scorpions Saturday’s final of the Regional Super50.

In the second day/night semi-final at Coolidge Cricket Ground on Thursday, tournament favourites Pride rattled up 314 for seven off their 50 overs, with the right-handed Hope gathering a career-best 125 from 108 deliveries. Opener Kraigg Brathwaite weighed in with 54, captain Jason Holder stroked a breezy 26-ball unbeaten 42 while Roston Chase chipped in with 31 and big-hitting all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite, 27.

In their turn at the crease, Hurricanes never looked like seriously challenging their target once they lost talismanic captain Kieran Powell cheaply, and were dismissed for a disappointing 204 off 47.3 overs. Opener Montcin Hodge top-scored with 63, Jeremiah Louis hit a fluent unbeaten 41 off 32 deliveries while burly Rahkeem Cornwall chipped in with 30.

Powell, with over 500 runs in the tournament, failed to replicate that form and departed for just three – one of four wickets to tumble for 43 runs to leave Hurricanes tottering in the 15th over.

But Pride kept the pressure on to ensure the hosts never really recovered and they lost their last six wickets for 111 runs. The chief architects of the Hurricanes demise were off-spinner Ashley Nurse (3-37) and seamer Carlos Brathwaite (3-56) who finished with three wickets apiece while fast bowler Kemar Roach picked up for two 36.

Hope finished the innings with seven dismissals – four catches and three stumpings – to erase the regional 50-overs record of six dismissals set by Guyana’s Sheik Mohammed against Barbados at Kensington Oval back in 1992.

The 23-year-old also wrote himself into the List A record books, becoming the first wicketkeeper to score a hundred and take seven dismissals in a match. It was Hope’s knock that formed the foundation of Pride’s dominant display with the bat, as he inspired three half-century partnerships at key stages of the innings.

Kevin Stoute took the attack to the bowlers, striking four fours in 21, as the aggressor in an opening stand with Brathwaite worth 42 runs, which put Hurricanes on the back foot. Once Stoute was bowled by off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall (2-53) in the 10th over, Hope put on 77 for the second wicket with Brathwaite who was his usual patient self, facing 84 balls and counting five fours.

When Brathwaite and Jonathan Carter (0) fell in the space of six deliveries to leave Pride on 121 for three in the 28th over, Hope stabilised the innings in an 83-run fourth wicket stand with Chase. Hope struck eight fours and five sixes while Chase faced 38 deliveries and counted two fours.

For the second time in the innings, however, Pride lost two quick wickets when Chase and Ashley Nurse (0) fell in successive deliveries to left-arm spinner Jason Campbell in the 41st over to be 204 for five but once again Hope stepped up, this time anchoring a 68-run, sixth wicket partnership with Holder.

Hope raised his hundred off 95 balls in the 42nd over and was upping the tempo with clean hitting when he  perished in the 46th over. Holder then entertained, whacking two fours and three sixes while Brathwaite belted three sixes in an 11-ball cameo, to give Pride impetus near the end. Hurricanes were in early trouble when Powell nicked one from fast bowler Holder that seamed away, to give Hope his first catch at 16 for in the fourth over.

Jermaine Otto’s inexperience showed when he loosely drove Roach to Holder at cover to depart for one in the seventh over at 25 for two and when Jahmar Hamilton (11) and Chesney Hughes (2) fell to catches at the wicket in successive overs from Brathwaite, Hurricanes were tottering.

Hodge, who faced 111 balls and struck seven fours, then propped up the innings with two key stands – posting exactly 50 for the fifth wicket with Cornwall and another 40 for the seventh with Akeal Hosein who made 28.

Cornwall smashed two fours and two sixes in a typical blustery 28-ball knock before holing out in the deep off left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn in the 24th over and Hosein faced 34 balls and counted a four and a six before losing his wicket in the 37th over.

By then, Hurricanes had drifted far behind the required run rate and required nothing short of a miracle to come back. The pressure told on Hodge and his lunge down the pitch at Nurse was more out of desperation than deliberation, and Hope easily completed the stumping in the 39th over.

His dismissal broke the backbone of the Hurricanes resistance and Louis’s late flourish was of academic importance. (windiescricket)

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