Draw No.5 for Bajans


ANOTHER post-tea session of enthralling action and a spectacular collapse ended with Barbados denied an amazing come-from-behind victory against Windward Islands yesterday.
Barbados orchestrated a swift slide in which Windwards lost five wickets for 19, but they were unable to execute the final rites in the face of a defiant match-saving eighth-wicket stand between Lyndon James and Mervyn Matthew that earned the visitors a draw on the final day of their fifth-round WICB regional four-day cricket match at Kensington Oval.
To their credit, Barbados made a match of it after using the first half of the day to set the Windwards a target of 172 in 40 overs.
No one would have predicted the excitement that followed after the Windwards reached 17 for one from 4.4 overs at tea, but the match came to life after Barbados made telling inroads to reduce the opponents to 71 for seven with 10.2 overs remaining.
By then, Barbados were in with a definite chance to claim their first win of the season and inflict a third defeat against Windwards in matches in which they also took first innings honours.
The delight among the Bajans, however, was transformed into disappointment after wicketkeeper/batsman James and pacer Matthew defied them for the last 47 minutes in which Barbados threw everything at them. Windwards eventually finished at 89 for seven.
James, who also played a critical role in guiding the Windwards to first innings lead the previous evening in the face of another collapse, presented a straight, broad bat in occupying the crease for almost an hour-and-a-half in which he faced 48 balls.
Matthew, the No. 9, also batted with assurance in facing 29 balls. Both batsmen made only five, but in the circumstances runs weren’t the factor.
It was about surviving and they achieved the objective that has helped Windwards to remain on course for a semi-final place.
It was the fifth successive draw for Barbados in which they conceded first innings lead and they now find themselves joint bottom of the table with Leeward Islands and with a only a remote chance of qualifying for the semis.
The effort they put in after tea was a tremendous one and most of the players had a hand in it.
Left-arm fast bowler Pedro Collins started the ball rolling with a wicket to a smart catch at third slip by Kevin Stoute in the last over before tea and continued immediately after the break with the big wicket of Andre Fletcher with another slip catch by Jason Holder.
Solid left-hander Atticus Browne and Keddy Lesporis took Windwards past 50 before the real drama followed in a period in which four wickets fell for the addition of one run.
Holder dislodged Browne with another slip catch by Stoute and Tino Best took care of Lesporis by bowling him off the inside edge.
Barbados went cock-a-hoop after Windwards’ captain Liam Sebastien gave a catch to point off Best and were even more jubiliant when Fidel Edwards bowled Kevin James after the left-hander offered no stroke.
It was 53 for six at that stage and the first period of frustration for Barbados came when Garey Muthurin stayed with Lindon James for half-hour.
Over the last hour-and-a-half, Barbados also had to endure the disappointment of a few near misses from balls that either dropped short of fielders or just wide.
At the start of the day, there was anticipation over how Barbados would approach the action in light of the fact that their second innings had just started and they were still in deficit by one run.
It was something of a mixed bag in the first session. While there was a clear attempt to push in the first hour when 42 runs were added, thoughts of setting a target looked to be abandoned when they managed only 26 in the hour leading to lunch.
After the break, however, there was a clear effort to lift the tempo and the first hour after lunch produced 71 runs before the declaration was made at 2:07 p.m. with the total on 180 for nine from 54 overs.
Kraigg Brathwaite, whose 56 off 127 balls was his second half-century of the match, and Stoute, who made an unbeaten 43 off 67 balls, showed urgency in running between the wickets, while captain Shamarh Brooks, who delayed his arrival until No. 8, lashed 30 off 18 balls that included two sixes over long-on.
Barbados, who went to lunch at 76 for three, lost wickets at regular intervals on resumption but it was all in the effort of setting a target.
Meanwhile, leg-spinner Nikolai Charles has been called up by the Barbados’ selectors for their sixth-round match against Leeward Islands in Antigua.
The 24-year-old Charles, who has appeared in four first-class matches, has replaced batsman Kyle Hope in the 13-man squad for the match that bowls off on Friday at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
Squad: Ryan Hinds (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jason Haynes, Jonathan Carter, Kevin Stoute, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder, Nikolai Charles, Tino Best, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards.


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