Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bajans lose chance at third title


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SO CLOSE, but yet oh so far.
Kevin Stoute rebounded admirably from a wretched season with bat and ball to propel Barbados to within sight of an unlikely victory, but the local boys were frustrated by a stubborn last-wicket stand that eased Jamaica to an exciting one wicket win in the semi-final of the Regional Four Day tournament at Kensington Oval yesterday.
The win put Jamaica in the final to contest the Headley/Weekes Trophy against the Windward Islands at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, St Lucia starting on Saturday.
Barbados scored 245 and 223 while Jamaica responded with 302 and 167 for nine.
The 130-minute session yesterday morning was arguably as dramatic and gripping as any seen at the first class level at Kensington. Stoute, bowling right arm medium pace, was the star with five wickets for 29 runs while the lanky, left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn also put in an impactful performance with three for 78.
Starting the final morning with eight wickets at their disposal to score the 61 more required after being set 167 for victory, Jamaica lost Andre McCarthy early when he got a leading edge to a delivery from Benn and was caught in the covers by Kraigg Brathwaite. What followed was the Kevin Stoute show.
A surprise option to start the attack on the final morning and the eighth bowling option used, Stoute justified the confidence placed in him by his captain with an amazing spell of 16 consecutive overs.
He started by removing strokemaker Jermaine Blackwood who edged to keeper Shane Dowrich  after starting the morning on 53 out of Jamaica’s 106 for two.  Blackwood’s 64 included a six and eight fours and came off 98 balls in 121 minutes.
Carlton Baugh gave a reminder of the often voiced theory that a batsman should never run on a misfield.  The former West Indies wicketkeeper drove to Kraigg Brathwaite at extra cover who failed to collect the ball cleanly.  
The batsmen set off for a run but Brathwaite recovered quickly and fired a return to Benn at the non-striker’s end who broke the wicket with Baugh just short of his ground. It was the second time Baugh was run out in the match.
Tamar Lambert, hero of the first innings with a century, was dropped by Jonathan Carter at gully off Benn but unlike the first innings when he capitalised on an early chance the Jamaican captain’s thick edge off Stoute was smartly taken by Benn at slip as Jamaica wobbled to 133 for six.
Sheldon Cottrell, promoted from his number 11 spot in the first innings seemingly to launch a counter-attack, clouted Benn to the long on boundary but next over was bowled swinging lustily at Stoute. When Ashley Nurse held a sharp chance at gully off Stoute to remove Damion Jacobs for a duck, Jamaica had lost six wickets for 28 runs as they limped to 139 for eight.
Jerome Taylor temporarily relieved the pressure, launching Stoute for a straight six and a four to wide long on but the medium pacer who held a consistent off stump line throughout his marathon spell had the last laugh when Benn took a stunning catch at slip as Taylor cut hard at a ball that bounced appreciably.
Last man Nikita Miller and Dave Bernard Jr. who battled close to an hour and a half and faced 57 balls for his unbeaten 14, patiently picked off the 12 runs required to deny Barbados what would have been a miraculous triumph. Miller was unbeaten on three made off 31 balls in 41 minutes.


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