Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Holder the hero

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Jason Holder has hardly played for Barbados Pride in recent years. Yesterday, however, he made his presence felt in a big way in a big match.

The fast bowling all-rounder made a telling contribution with both bat and ball to spearhead the defending regional Super50 Festival champions to an important victory by 32 runs against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at Kensington Oval.

Before a crowd of about 2 000 – the biggest of the tournament – the hosts rebounded from defeat against Windward Islands Volcanoes two days earlier to complete their fifth win in six matches and re-establish themselves as favourites to top Group A.

Batting first after winning the toss, the Pride found the conditions challenging and were 173 for six in the 42nd over when Holder was joined by fellow six-footer Carlos Brathwaite.

The two combined effectively at the death in an even half-century partnership that lifted the hosts to a handy total of 235 for seven, with Holder contributing 32 off 36 balls and Brathwaite 31 off 28 balls.

Holder came back with the ball to grab four wickets, including three with the new ball that left the opponents 34 for three. And when Trinidad and Tobago Red Force were threatening to mount a recovery and the game in the balance at 114 for five in the 32nd over, he returned to strike with his first ball of a new spell to dislodge topscorer Isiah Rajah.

It signalled the end of Trinidad and Tobago’s main resistance and they were restricted to 203 in 48.4 overs in spite of a ninth-wicket half-century stand between Imran Khan and Sheldon Cottrell.

It was an efficient performance from the Bajans, who benefited from a team effort in spite of Holder’s standout effort.

While no Bajan managed a half-century, Roston Chase’s 46 was one of six contributions of more than 30. Chase himself looked to be the most accomplished batsman on the day, stroking his runs at better than a run-a-ball before he was bowled by pacer Shannon Gabriel off a ball that virtually crept along the turf.

Chase arrived in the 30th over to increase the tempo after captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope and Jonathan Carter had to fight hard for runs against an attack that was steady throughout. The trio did the hard work before perishing when trying to push on.

Kraigg Brathwaite made 34 off 53 balls before he was dismissed in uncharacteristic fashion, charging down the pitch against left-arm spinner Kharry Pierre and slicing a catch to backward point.

Hope battled away for 45 off 80 balls before an uncharacteristic big hit against a slower ball from left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell resulted in a catch to mid-on.

And the left-handed Carter, after scoring 30 from 46 balls, fell to a catch at the wicket.

With Barbados Pride getting valuable runs in the last ten overs, they had a handy total to defend under the lights and Holder, nagging in line and length, made three strikes in his first four overs to give the Pride an early advantage in the run chase under the lights.

His biggest scalp was Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin, who had no chance in keeping out another ball that almost rolled along the pitch to trap him lbw.

By then, Holder had also removed openers Amir Jangoo and Tion Webster, both victims of attempted pull shots.

Rajah, who made 39 off 76 balls, and fellow left-hander Nicolas Pooran gave Barbados some concern by adding 58 for the fourth wicket but the result was never in doubt after three wickets fell for the addition of 22 runs.

Rajah’s wicket was the key one when he dragged on Holder’s first ball of a new spell. Before that, Pooran edged a catch to the ’keeper off Carlos Brathwaite after scoring 29 off 63 balls.

It was relatively slow going by the pair in the face of tidy stuff from rookie left-arm fast-medium Dominic Drakes, whose first six overs cost 18, and off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who conceded 27. (HG)

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