A scintillating boundary-filled half-century by former Barbados and West Indies opener Dale Richards, propelled the Carl Hooper XI to a comprehensive ten-wicket victory over the Brian Lara XI in the ICBL Sir Garry Sobers 80 Not Out Cricket match at Kensington Oval Thursday night.
Richards who didn’t have the glowing international career befitting his talent due to recurring injury, stroked six fours and four sixes to record a top score of 59 en route to overhauling the revised target of 92 in ten overs.
It was not often that one could outshine the timelessly classy Carl Hooper, who played the supporting role with his knock of 27 that included two boundaries and one six, but Richards did just that. It was clear that even though more than a decade has passed since his retirement, the Barbadian love affair with Hooper has not wavered. This was evidenced by the roars which erupted from the full house in response to every stroke from Hooper’s bat.
Batting first, the Brian Lara XI had amassed 156 runs in their allotted 20 overs, courtesy of a steadying knock of 41 from Brian Lara and some late order fireworks from Aaron Jones, who finished on 40 before being dismissed off the bowling of Ryan Hinds.
The Brian Lara XI were off to a rocky start as opener Omar Philips had his stumps uprooted by the swing bowling of Pedro Collins in the first over. This brought Lara to the crease, who took a bit of time to get going and was given a second life when he was dropped on 21 off the bowling of Hendy Bryan. He then went on to punish Bryan stroking him for four through the square leg region, then a lofted six back over the bowler’s head.
However it was the off-spin of Shaquana Quintyne which proved his undoing as she knocked over his leg stump before breaking out into unbridled celebration over the highly prized scalp.
Ryan Hinds was the pick of the bowlers as he ripped through the lower order and removed the dangerous Jones who was threatening to build an even bigger innings tally.
It was night commemorating the unparalleled achievements of Barbados’ only living National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers on his 80th birthday and while cricket was spearhead of the celebration, the cultural presentation during half-time and the speech by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart were just as impactful in the outpouring of appreciation to the world’s greatest all-rounder.
In his featured address, Prime Minister Stuart credited Sir Garry with inspiring Barbadians with the courage needed to break away from the colonial hold of Britain, through his dominating performances during the coinciding Test series in England where he lorded over the island’s former colonial ruler with both bat and ball.
In the 1966 tour to England played between June 2 and August 22, just over three months before Barbados attained Independence, Sir Garry registered scores in the Test series of 161, 46, 163, 3, 94, 174, 81 and 0. He also took 20 wickets as West Indies won the series 3-1.