Thursday, April 25, 2024

Jamaica crush Leewards

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Jamaica’s big guns showed no mercy in shooting down the Leewards, marching to a nine-wicket win on Thurday night as the inaugural Caribbean T/20 Cricket Tournament opened at Kensington Oval.The Leewards, who won the toss and batted first before a crowd that was vastly improved over the sparse gathering for the earlier match between Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, were competitive only for the opening salvos before buckling to the bombardment of the opposition’s firepower.A total of 124-7 proved woefully inadequate against Jamaica’s explosive batting line-up and was surpassed for the loss of Chris Gayle’s wicket by the run-out route, with 14 balls to spare.Gayle and Xavier Marshall remained scoreless for the first 11 balls of the reply and it took a high bouncer from Gavin Tonge that cleared Mentore’s gloves to open the scoring with five wides.Two sizzling straight drives by Gayle off Tonge signalled that the West Indies skipper had found his range, and when 20 runs, inclusive of ten wides, came off Omari Banks’ first over, the sixth of the innings, 54 had been scored in the Power Play.Leewards’ opening pair Javier Liburd and Shane Jeffers got off to a promising start against the pace of emerging allrounder André Russell and experienced campaigner Dave Bernard, progressing at a run-a-ball, until Jamaica skipper Tamar Lambert introduced spinners Gayle and Nikita Miller to stem the flow of runs.Gayle got the initial breakthrough when he had the free-scoring Liburd caught by the captain in the covers for 25, but it was a double-strike in the seventh over by Krishnan Santokie that turned the match decisively in the Jamaicans’ favour.The skiddy left-arm pacer,a former West Indies Under-15 player, came within millimetres of recording a hat-trick, only to be denied by umpire Peter Nero’s decision to give the benefit of miniscule doubt to Tonito Willett who was struck in front with his first ball.

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