As predicted, Sagicor Life University of West Indies (UWI) retained the BCA Sagicor General Twenty20 title with an easy 66-run win over Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) at 3Ws Oval last night.
UWI’s all-round strength was again in evidence en route to an unprecedented fourth trophy in five seasons in the nine-year history of the tournament.
After winning the toss, Kyle Corbin’s team scored 186 for seven off 20 overs and then restricted first-time finalists BDFSP to 120 for six.
It was the biggest margin of victory in terms of runs in a final, overtaking the 50-run triumph Carlton had over Empire in 2009 at Kensington Oval, under the captaincy of Marlon Graham.
UWI’s total was also the highest in a final, surpassing Carlton’s 177 for five.
Apart from last night’s and the very first at the Police ground, Weymouth, in 2008, the other finals were played at Kensington.
And for those who like to keep records, the champion teams with margins of victory for the other years show: 2008 – Maple by four runs v Cable & Wireless (now Gladiola); 2010 – Empire by 26 runs v UWI; 2011 – Maple by 31 runs v Empire; 2012 – UWI by seven wickets v Empire; 2013 – UWI by two wickets v Maple; 2014 – Spartan by eight wickets v Wanderers and 2015 – UWI by nine runs v Pickwick.
While there were periods of excitement for the crowd, the inability of the BDFSP batsmen to offer a serious challenge made the contest somewhat flat.
UWI sent a strong message from the very first over which produced 20 runs from the bat of Chadwick Walton off left-arm spinner Tremaine Harris and though they managed to pick up two wickets by the end of the fifth over with the score 49, it was always likely to be a tough task for BDFSP to pull it back significantly.
Fast bowler Dario Seale was, however, impressive. He comprehensively bowled left-hander Justin Bramble for nought in the second over of the match and had Walton caught at the wicket by Tevyn Walcott for 29 off 15 balls including four fours and two sixes with the score 44 in the fourth over.
The scalp of the dangerous Rovman Powell, caught by Walcott off Seale for 14 as he essayed a drive in the sixth over to make it 53 for three really pumped up BDFSP. Why not?
After all, Powell had blasted an unbeaten 120 off only 53 balls with 12 sixes and three fours against Pickwick in the semi-finals on Tuesday as UWI raced to the highest total of this year’s Tournament – 237 for four off 20 overs – before winning by 95 runs.
In fact, it was the fourth time including three on home turf that UWI had amassed over 200 in the Championship this season, further underlining their dominance. Only one other team, Maple, managed a total of 200.
BDFSP overcame Empire by three wickets off the very last ball in the first semi-final on Monday as they chased 113.
When Corbin was caught at midwicket by Harris off leg-spinner Devon Carrington for nine to leave the score 62 for four in the eighth over, UWI needed to consolidate.
Jonathan Carter, drafted into the side for coach Floyd Reifer after returning to the island earlier in the day from St. Kitts with the West Indies team for the last leg of the Tri-Nation One-Day International series with Australia and South Africa in Barbados next week, led a recovery in partnership with the level-headed Kavem Hodge.
The pair added 55 in 5.5 overs for the fifth wicket – the most productive stand of the match – before left-hander Carter was caught at deep square-leg by Kemar Brathwaite off Carrington for 47, which came off 28 balls and contained four sixes and one four. It earned Carter the Player-of-the-Match award.
A 46-run partnership in 4.5 overs for the sixth wicket between Hodge and Akeem Dewar also helped the cause before Seale returned to remove Hodge in the penultimate over for 27 off 28 balls.
Veteran Ryan Hinds quickly made his presence felt with ten off four balls and Dewar was left unbeaten on 33 from 18 deliveries including two sixes and one four.
Seale finished with four for 37, while Carrington picked up two for 25.
BDFSP had an early setback when Brathwaite was leg before wicket by Hinds without scoring off the second ball of the innings.
Brathwaite’s opening partner Dario Belle was run out for three with the score ten in the fourth over and the struggle continued against a four-pronged spin attack of all left-armers – Hinds, Hodge, Linton Buchanan and Kristopher Ramsaran – who shared 16 overs.
After ten overs, the score was 44 for three and after 15 overs, 88 for five. The squeeze was very evident.
Walcott topscored with 34 off 31 balls including two sixes and one four, Vitaly Wilkinson made 29 not out and skipper Antonio Greenidge 24.
The defeat was a reminder for BDFSP that they also lost to UWI in the final of the Super Cup last season – by 102 runs at the Windward Club ground, Lucas Street in St. Philip.
Already, there is debate about the likelihood of UWI again capturing all three major titles with the Elite three-day the most cherished. They have achieved that feat twice – in 2012 and 2015.
This is the 11th season for UWI since they were placed in the top BCA league competition and their record of winning titles is amazing. It shows five three-day trophies including four in succession (2009 to 2012 – one shared in 2010 with Spartan – and 2015), four in the T20 (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016) and three in the Super Cup (2007, 2012 and 2015).
With excellent facilities and resources, which are far superior to the other teams, plus several players boasting of first-class experience, it will always be tough to overcome UWI.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email:Keithfholder@gmail.com