Windward Islands have long ceased to be the Cinderella team of regional cricket.
And last night at Kensington Oval they played like the force they have become to defeat the Combined Campuses and Colleges by nine wickets and win the West Indies Cricket Board’s Regional Super50 Championship by the Duckworth-Lewis method.It was their first one-day title since achieving similar glory in the 2000-2001 season.
The rain threatened the day/night game throughout with umpires Gregory Brathwaite and Joel Wilson twice taking the players off the field because of the showers. But this could not be blamed for the CCC’s poor batting performance that saw them capitulate to 174 all out in the 50th over after losing the toss and being sent in by Windward Islands’ skipper Liam Sebastian.
In a touch of irony, opener Anthony Alleyne, fresh from making 99 in the semi-final match against Trinidad and Tobago, made the single he should have made then, before he pushed tentatively outside the off stump at Kenroy Peters and was caught at the wicket by Johnson Charles after facing two balls.
Wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton, who has two Tests under his belt, got a start but then provided Peters with a second wicket when his attempted cut shot ended up in the hands of Keddy Lesporis at gully with his score on 13 and CCC’s 18 for 2. Walton had earlier offered a chance to the same fielder off left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson.†
Left-hander Raymon Reifer, whose consistency does not match his immense potential, was the next to go when he swished at a delivery from Peters and Charles accepted the offer with Reifer on three. The score was then 21 for 3 and that soon became 31 for 4 when Floyd Reifer, whose batting has become a pale imitation of what it used to be, was run out for two by a direct throw from Johnson at short midwicket as he and captain Kyle Corbin attempted a run
All the while the skipper was providing the main impetus to the innings. Corbin, who has under-achieved with the bat in recent times, struck five boundaries and two sixes in a top-score of 46 in 54 balls to gave backbone to CCC’s fragile batting. But when he should have been consolidating the innings, he attempted a lofted shot and was caught at long-on by Dalton Polius off left-arm spinner Alston Bobb with the CCC still in a shaky position at 78 for 5.
Nekoli Parris, who had played sedately due to the precarious position of the team, got a short ball from off-spinner Shane Shillingford that bounced a bit and he offered Devon Smith a catch at short midwicket that he gleefully accepted. Parris made 34.
The procession continued with batsmen getting starts but not making significant advancement. The promising Shacaya Thomas was caught off the inside edge by Charles off Johnson for 25 to make the score 133 for 7 and six runs later leg-spinner Akeem Dewar’s attempted sweep off Shillingford got no further than Andre Fletcher at slip to make it 139 for 8. †
Fast bowler †Kesrick Williams didn’t bother the scorers and provided the Fletcher/Shillingford combo with another scalp. Some long handle employed by Kevin McClean got him 19 runs with one six and a boundary and together with Ryan Austin (13 not out) saw CCC to 174 before he offered Charles another catch off Peters who finished with 4 for 32, while Shillingford had 3 for 29. Openers Smith and Charles, both with international experience, then made light work of the target.
Against a surfeit of short bowling, Charles and Smith added 100 to basically seal the championship. The former lashed 46 off 45 balls with six fours and one six before driving fast bowler Williams into the hands of Corbin at extra-cover.
Smith helped himself to yet another half-century in the tournament, an unbeaten 67 off 70 balls with six fours and two sixes. He ended the tournament with the highest aggregate (348) as well as average (58.00) including one century and three fifties and must be on the selectors’ radar for the imminent ICC Champions Trophy [50 overs] in England.††