Scoring 191 for the Barbados Pride was akin to climbing Mount Everest tonight at Kensington Oval.
And in the end they just about reached the summit.
Jamaica Scorpions’ 190 proved marginally insufficient as the Pride registered a one-wicket victory in their Round 4 clash of the Regional Super50 Zone B Day/Night Championship match, ending on 194 for 9.
With a sizeable crowd offering advice before and after each delivery, and enduring much agony after each fall of wicket, last pair Ashley Nurse (21 not out) and Sulieman Benn (5 not out) got Barbados Pride over the line with Benn’s punch down the ground for four bringing about the nerve-jangling win in the 48th over.
Earlier in the afternoon Scorpions’ skipper Nikita Miller called correctly at the toss and opted to bat and the visitors were in immediate strife losing openers John Campbell and Chadwick Walton. Campbell attempted to play Pride skipper Jason Holder through the on-side, and offered a simple catch to Anthony Alleyne patrolling the extra-cover area. That wicket fell in the second over with Campbell failing to score. In the following over pacer Kemar Roach induced an edge from Walton as he attempted a drive and the beanpole Benn accepted the chance at first slip.
United States batsman Steven Taylor was the next to go. With his score on seven and the Scorpions on 27 for 2 with the majority of the scoring being done by Andre McCarthy, Taylor poked at a Holder delivery he could have left alone and edged through to wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
Carlos Brathwaite was introduced into the attack and after being spanked for a boundary in his first over that went for five runs he subsequently tightened his control. In the 16th over McCarthy attempted to hit Brathwaite over the top but only succeeded in getting as far as Holder at mid-off to depart for 25 and leave the Scorpions’ on 63 for 4. Devon Thomas came and went without troubling the scorers, taken by Carlos Brathwaite at slip off Benn.
Jamaica’s recovery, limited as it might have been, came thanks to new West Indies Twenty20 recruit Rovman Powell with help from West Indies middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood and leg-spinner Damion Jacobs. After reaching 40 Blackwood fell to a fabulous slip catch by Benn off off-spinner Nurse in the 28th over and the score now 97 for 6.
Powell took charge of the innings in the manner with which he is most comfortable. He struck the ball cleanly and frequently found the boundary. He and Jacobs added 77 for the seventh wicket before the latter fell by the lbw route to Nurse for 31.
Powell finally succumbed to a Roach full toss in the 45th over with the score on 190 for 8 and his tally on 74. The innings would end on that score. Powell’s innings lasted 79 balls and he struck three boundaries and six massive sixes. His half-century had come up after 69 deliveries.
Roach finished with figures of 3 for 58 and Holder 3 for 28 to be the best of the bowlers.
Scorpions possess a potent attack with Miller and Taylor being quality bowlers and though they had scored a below-par total it was not expected to be a walk in the park for the Pride team. And so it proved.
The Pride lost the lynchpin of their batting in the third over of their response when opener Kraigg Brathwaite was lbw to West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor for six as he walked across his stumps and missed a delivery that would have plucked out leg stump. Alleyne went into the break on 11 and added just a single to that score on his return as the Pride slipped to 26 for 2 with Taylor claiming the left-handed opener’s scalp, thanks to a catch at mid-off by Steve Taylor.
Fresh from a half-century in his last match, left-hander Jonathan Carter never gave an impression of permanency and departed in the 10th over when he was caught by Blackwood at point off the very pacy Reynard Leveridge for five with the Pride struggling on 41 for 3.
Hope had looked assured at the crease in reaching 19 but in the 16th over he played back to Miller when he probably should have been on the front foot, the ball kept low and he was lbw to make it 62 for 4 in the 16th over. Roston Chase and Dowrich took the score to 83 before Chase fell to Jacobs, caught at the wicket by Walton for 23.
All the while Dowrich was playing serene, risk-free cricket and calming the nerves of the Barbados Pride camp and their supporters. He would however lose his captain Holder in the 25th over when he advanced to occasional off-spinner Campbell, missed his drive and was stumped by Walton for 6 with Barbados Pride now reeling on 100 for 6.
Miller brought back his pacers and Taylor and Leveridge unsettled the Pride batsmen with their speed and movement.
Carlos Brathwaite and Dowrich added 38 before Taylor sent back Brathwaite for 18 making the score 138 for 7 in the 37th over. Then what followed simultaneously dismayed and excited the partisan crowd. The 6ft 7inch Leveridge, bowling like the wind, shook up Dowrich with some hostile, short-pitched bowling. The elegant West Indies wicketkeeper’s response was to back off in the direction of square leg and flay at Leveridge. It was a tactic fraught with danger and inevitably he edged one swift delivery through to Walton to depart for 40 to make Barbados Pride 143 for 8 in the 38th over.
That dismissal brought Roach and Nurse together with the game decidedly in favour of the Scorpions. To the hosts favour, however, was that Taylor had completed his spell and Leveridge had only over left.
Roach brought some relief to the home fans with a six and four of Campbell to bring the target down to single figures before Campbell had him caught by Jacobs at point for a valuable 23 in the 47th over and the score on 185 for 9.
That would be the Scorpions’ last sting as the Pride held fast.
Taylor was the best of the Jamaican bowlers with 3 for 39 while Leveridge chipped in with 2 for 38.