Friday, April 12, 2024

Russell leads ‘A Team’ to victory


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BELFAST – Andre Russell smashed a whirlwind half-century and returned to wreck Ireland with a six-wicket haul, to propel West Indies “A” to a comfortable 50-run triumph in the first one-day match of a double header, yesterday.The 22-year-old Jamaican, a late call-up to the side following Nelon Pascal’s Test selection, top-scored with a stroked-filled 64 to lift West Indies “A” to 251 all out after they won the toss and chose to bat first.Russell then snatched six for 42 to send Ireland tumbling for 201 with 11 balls to spare, as Windies claimed their first win on the tour of Britain.Playing at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Stormont, West Indies “A” were rescued by Russell’s enterprise and that of Barbadian all-rounder Kevin Stoute who cracked a handsome 61 in his first game for the team.Assad Fudadin also hit a patient 50 in a rebuilding effort, while tail-ender Gavin Tonge stroked a cameo 28 from 21 balls at the death to provide the late innings fireworks.Windies were in strife when seamers Kevin O’Brien (three for 43) and Phil Eaglestone (three for 48) ripped through the top order to reduce the tourists to 28 for four in the 12th over.Captain Devon Smith fended a short ball from Eaglestone to John Mooney at backward point in the day’s third over to depart for three with the score on eight, while Fletcher scored eight before falling to a soft dismissal to give O’Brien his first wicket in the sixth over.Kirk Edwards then edged the left-armer Eaglestone to O’Brien at second slip in the next over to fall without scoring, while left-handed opener Omar Phillips’ 27-ball struggle over nine runs ended when his booming drive was taken at backward point by Mooney off O’Brien.Stoute, who left Barbados last weekend to join the squad, then added a crucial 97 for the fifth wicket with Fudadin to steady the innings.The right-handed Stoute stroked five fours and two sixes off 76 balls, while Fudadin hit four fours in an innings requiring 101 balls.Stoute, Chadwick Walton, and David Bernard fell in quick succession to leave Windies “A” in trouble on 150 for seven in 39th over.Russell then rallied the innings with a superb exhibition of hitting, raising 39 for the eighth wicket with Fudadin and another 42 with Tonge for the ninth wicket.The right-hander blasted seven fours and four sixes from 31 balls and it was his efforts that rallied the Windies to their eventual score before he held out to long-on to be the last man out.His opening burst then accounted for Gary Wilson (eight), Paul Stirling (13) and Rory McCann (six) as Ireland slipped to 35 for three in the tenth over.O’Brien edged Bernard to Smith to depart for seven at 46 for four in the 15th over and Andrew Poynter clipped Stoute to Fudadin at mid-on in the 22nd over to leave Ireland in tatters at 70 for five.Andrew White’s 75 from 94 balls with seven fours then gave Ireland a glimmer of hope, as he dominated a 72-run, sixth-wicket stand with Alex Cusack (15).But Russell picked up both wickets and gave his team a stranglehold on the game. (CMC)


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