SUPER50: Another Hope ton drives Barbados to title
Barbados wicketkeeper-batsman Shai Hope backed up his 125 against Leeward Islands in the tournament semi-final with another century in the final against Jamaica to lay the foundation for a hard fought 59-run win that helped his side clinch the WICB Regional Super50 on Saturday.
Jamaica had held Barbados in check through much of the first innings after Jason Holder elected to bat first at the toss. Barbados were 138 for 5 in the 35th over as John Campbell, Nikita Miller, Damion Jacobs and Damani Sewell tied down the batting order through spin. Kraigg Brathwaite was the first wicket to fall, going for 22 to Jacobs in the 13th over with the score on 59 after he played around a slider to be bowled, and wickets fell at regular intervals afterward, concluding with Shane Dowrich giving a return catch to Campbell in the 35th to make it 138 for 5.
In a match-winning partnership, Holder joined Hope at the crease and the pair eventually added 127 for the sixth wicket in just 13.4 overs. Hope brought up his half-century off 69 balls in the 38th over and at that stage had only hit four boundaries as the pair initially continued steady accumulation. They were at 171 for 5 in 42 overs before Holder decided to attack Nikita Miller, charging him for the first Barbados boundary since the 35th. Hope was then dropped on 59 a few balls later by Chadwick Walton behind the stumps and he made Jamaica pay by hitting five sixes over the next five overs to speed toward three figures.
The back-breaking over came in the 44th, when Jerome Taylor conceded 25. Holder began with a six off a full toss over midwicket, followed by a four behind point. A single put Hope on strike and he drove a straight six before a chest high no ball to Hope off what should have been the final delivery of the over allowed a free hit to Holder, who smacked a length ball over the rope at cow corner. Hope then hit Miller for two more sixes in the 45th as part of a 19-run over and the pair eventually hit nine sixes between them from the start of the 44th through the 48th.
A straight six by Holder off Rovman Powell in the 46th brought up his half-century in 39 balls and a single by Hope in the 48th took him to 100 in 96 balls. Holder eventually fell to Powell for 69 off 47 balls to end the stand on the final ball of the 48th over. Two balls into the 50th over, Hope was run out for 101 by Powell off his own bowling as Barbados only managed to score six runs off the final 13 balls of the innings. By that stage, however, the damage had been done, as 94 runs came off the six-over stretch between the 43rd and 48th overs, which put the game out of Jamaica’s reach.
Jamaica’s reply started in nervy fashion as Steven Taylor was nearly run out on the third ball of the chase before he had faced a ball, but a throw to the non-striker’s end was not backed up with Taylor stuck halfway down the pitch. He had made 9 before falling in the third over to Kemar Roach, driving to Carlos Brathwaite on the circle at mid-off. Roach applied the slightest bit of pressure to Jermaine Blackwood and two overs later the batsman fell chopping onto his stumps for 7 after an ill-advised charge down the pitch.
Walton, who like Blackwood had made a century in the semi-final win over Trinidad & Tobago, fell to Sulieman Benn in the 16th for 26 to put Jamaica in an even deeper hole. Left-arm spinner Benn then took two more middle-order wickets to finish with match figures of 3 for 33 and a tally of 18 wickets in seven matches, tied with Holder for third overall in the tournament.
Jamaica were 122 for 7 one ball into the 31st before Powell began a valiant fightback. He added 59 for the eighth wicket with Jerome Taylor but Taylor fell in the 40th to Holder and Miller followed to Holder in the 44th to put Barbados one away from victory. The Barbados captain then caught a Powell slog on the boundary for 65 off Carlos Brathwaite to end the match four balls later, Jamaica all out for 212.
Offspinner Ashley Nurse had a relatively quiet final with figures of 1 for 42 but still finished as the leading wicket-taker in the Regional Super50 with 26 in ten matches at an average of 12.50 and an economy of 3.55. He took seven wickets more than the next closest bowler – Ravi Rampaul of Trinidad & Tobago. Kraigg Brathwaite and Hope finished on 484 and 482 runs respectively, behind only Leeward Islands captain Kieran Powell’s 513 runs at the top of the tournament runs aggregate. (ESPNCricinfo)