Saturday, April 13, 2024

Vintage Windies


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THREE TELLING TRAITS of triumphant West Indian cricket teams told the tale in Saturday night’s seven-wicket annihilation of India in the World Masters Twenty20 CLOBI Cup.
Penetrative fast-bowling, embellished by sharp fielding and sure-handed catching as well as sumptuous stroke-play, were the dominant features in the Windies Masters’ clinical conquest of India in
a one-sided contest at Kensington Oval.
A fourth facet – stingy spin – was a welcomed bonus as India crashed for a paltry 96 in 19.2 overs and the Windies strolled to 97 for three in 14.5 overs  with 31 balls to spare for a second successive win.
Curtly Ambrose rolled back the years with a magnificent new-ball spell of 4-0-19-2 after running out India’s opener Vikram Rathour with a direct throw on his follow through in the first over.
Now 47 years old but still looking fit and trim and also able to bowl a few bouncers, Ambrose sent back Sameer Dighe and Amay Khurasiya to diving catches by wicketkeeper Courtney Browne.
 By the time he had finished his spell, the scoreboard read 45 for four – the match was all but decided.
India, despite Robyn Singh hoisting left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell for two sixes in one over as he topscored with 28 off 31 balls, never recovered.
Ryan Hurley, who was a live wire at point, making several superb stops, also played a major role. He ran out Rathour’s opening partner Gagan Khoda and delivered a mean 4-0-9-1 spell with some flat, full-length and fairly fast deliveries from four steps.
Leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo, introduced at 64 for six after 12 overs, polished off the tail, taking three of the last four wickets for 19 runs to earn the Man-Of-Match award, while skipper Courtney Walsh shattered last man Vintakesh Prasad’s stumps with a full toss.
It was then left to Rawle Lewis, in a new opening role replacing Sherwin Campbell, to formalise the result.
He started with a four through midwicket and a straight six, but after surviving a confident leg before wicket shout by Prasad, remained unbeaten on 44 [4×4, 1×6, 41 balls].
Stuart Williams, Friday’s hero against England, sparkled with a flick and two classy cover-driven fours off consecutive balls in 20 off 14 balls, while Carl Hooper was greeted with the customary cheers from the 5 000-strong crowd when he came out at No. 3.
Hooper stimulated them with a lofted straight six enroute to 16 before he softly surrendered his wicket, picking out the solitary fielder, ten metres inside the mid-wicket boundary for catching practice.
The youthful-looking Floyd Reifer pouched a well-judged running catch but after essaying a nice cover drive and a savage pull, again threw his wicket away, playing across to medium pacer Abey Kuruvilla and having his middle stump uprooted for ten.
Both Hooper and Reifer must recognise that their impermanence could imperil the West Indies’ wish to win the US$50 000 first prize in tomorrow night’s final after today’s rest break.


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