Monday, April 22, 2024

WI master stroke

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JUMPING FOR JOY, spectators smiling and players sharing high-fives symbolised the success and spirit of West Indies cricket.
Such spontaneous reactions and unbridled jubilation resonated at Kensington Oval again on Friday night after the West Indies Masters sensationally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, amazingly scoring 20 runs off the final over to beat long-standing arch rivals, England.
Man-of-the-Match Stuart Williams’ superbly struck cover-driven six off England captain Dominic Cork into the Party Stand, set off carnival-like celebrations among the 4 000-plus spectators, bringing the feature CLOBI Cup Twenty20 match of the first day double header to a cheeful climax.
The thrilling four-wicket triumph with one ball to spare over the defending champions had looked implausible and unachievable with the Windies wobbling at 71 for six after 10 overs, chasing England’s challenging 176 for four, which had been built around opener Craig White’s 54-ball knock of 86 with eight fours and three sixes.
White and wicket-keeper Paul Nixon, who made 35 not out off 24 balls beefed up England’s final total with an 81-run fourth-wicket partnership in eight overs after last year’s inaugural MVP Graeme Hick was stumped for 18.
But Nevisian Williams, who hit nine fours and two sixes in  his responsible unbeaten 86 off 51 balls and Guyanese Mahendra Nagamootoo (39 not out, 2×4, 2×6, 30 balls) featured in a match-winning 106-run seventh-wicket stand in the last 9.5 overs.
The partnership took the Windies final score to 177 for six in 19.5 overs, making the crowd forget the disappointment of a first-ball “duck” to their favourite Carl Hooper.
The first ball from Cork off the memorable last over was a waist-high full toss which Williams deflected for four to fine leg, losing his bat in the process but a no-ball for height, surprisingly wasn’t called by standing umpire Vanburn Holder. Williams then sliced the second to the thirdman boundary and completed a third consecutive four with a lofted shot down the ground. He then gathered two off the fourth ball before in his characteristic, ice-cool, confident style, came on the front foot and caressed the next ball, fittingly in an area, to start the party.
At least a dozen spectators had earlier left when Hooper gifted his hand, injudiciously trying to walk into a drive and edging Dean Headley to Neil Fairbrother at an extremely wide slip.
It looked even dimmer when locals Courtney Browne was leg before wicket sweeping and Vasbert Drakes run out.
But Williams and Nagamootoo, with a little luck as well, did the unbelievable.
Fast-medium new ball bowler Glen Chapple, had removed Sherwin Campbell and Floyd Reifer, who flattered to deceive with three attractive fours, in his opening spell.
His failure to take a stinging return catch offered by Williams when he was 25 and Mark Alleyne’s simple let-off of Nagamootoo, were costly.
Williams took a liking to Cork, despatching him for two fours in one over to post the Windies’ 100 in 14 overs and when he pulled Alleyne’s medium pace for six in the next over, it meant 65 runs were required from the last five overs.
Nagamootoo also got into the attack by hoisting Headley for a six in the 17th over and after Alleyne’s blunde at long-on off the next ball, he finished the over with a superb straight six onto the sightscreen.
With 39 needed from the final three overs, Chapple, getting the ball into the block hole,  conceded just five runs, leaving the Windies to get 34 from the last 12 balls.
Fourteen came from the penultimate over by Headley, a boundary through another misfield by the former Harrison College schoolboy, Alleyne, paving the way for the 4-4-4-2-6 blitz by Williams.
While it wasn’t a Test or One-Day International, the incredible and almost unbelievable finish, would’ve comforted Caribbean cricket fans, still crestfallen at the passing of late Barbados Prime Minister, David Thompson, whose funeral service was held at the same venue, two days earlier and those tottering from the turmoil of Tomas.
 
SCOREBOARD
ENGLAND
G. Thorpe c Ambrose b Walsh    13
C. White lbw b Hurley 86
N. Fairbrother c McGarrell b Drakes 9
G. Hick st Browne b McGarrell 18
+P. Nixon not out 35
M. Alleyne not out 7
Extras (lb3, nb1, w4) 8
TOTAL (4 wkts, 20 overs) 176
Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Thorpe, 3.2), 2-46 (Fairbrother, 5.3), 3-82 (Hick, 10.3), 4-163 (White, 18.3).
Did not bat: G. Chapple, *D. Cork, P. Defreitas, J. Emburey, D. Headley.
Bowling: Ambrose 3-0-23-0 (w1), Walsh 2-0-19-1, Hooper 2-0-15-0 (w1), Drakes 4-0-32-1 (w1, nb2), Hurley 3-0-24-1, McGarrell 4-0-42-1, Nagamootoo 2-0-18-0.
WEST INDIES
S. Williams not out    86
S. Campbell lbw b Chapple 3
F. Reifer b Chapple 14
R. Hurley b Defreitas 0
C. Hooper c Fairbrother b Headley 0
+C. Browne lbw b Emburey 10
V. Drakes run out 1
M. Nagamootoo not out 39
Extras (b1, lb11, w12) 24
TOTAL (6 wkts, 19.5 overs) 177
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Campbell, 1.5), 2-33 (Reifer, 4), 3-53 (Hurley, 6), 4-55 (Hooper, 6.4), 5-70 (Browne, 9.3), 6-71 (Drakes, 10).
Did not bat: N. McGarrell, C. Ambrose, *C. Walsh.
Bowling: Cork 3.5-0-40-0 (w3), Chapple 4-0-28-2 (w2), Headley 4-0-37-1 (w5), Defreitas 2-0-17-1, Alleyne 2-0-18-0 (w1), Emburey 4-0-25-1.
Toss: West Indies
Result: West Indies won by four wickets
Man-of-the-Match: Stuart Williams
Umpires: Vanburn Holder, Dalton Holder

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