ST JOHN’S, Antigua – All-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall says the hard work on his batting is now paying dividends, after he hit a classy half-century to steer Leeward Islands Hurricanes to a pulsating four-wicket win over Windward Islands Volcanoes last night.
With the hosts tottering on 208 for six in the 39th over after losing five wickets for 44 runs, the 24-year-old Cornwall stepped up to stroke an unbeaten 74 off just 50 balls and see his side over the line with eight balls left in the innings.
“For the past few years, my batting was giving me a little bit of a problem but I spent some time with Kenny Benjamin and sorted it out,” said the burly right-hander, who hit 10 fours and one six during his cameo.
“All he said was do the basics and everything will fall back into place. I think I am doing the basics and everything is falling back [into place].”
The half-century was Cornwall’s second of the tournament following his unbeaten 70, also against Volcanoes, in Hurricanes’ third outing of the Regional Super50.
On Wednesday, he put on 91 in an unbroken seventh wicket stand with Trinidadian all-rounder Akeal Hosein, whose unbeaten 26 off 24 balls also proved critical.
The victory was the sixth in seven games for Hurricanes and it allowed them to inch even closer to confirming their status as Group A winners, with their final game on Sunday against reigning champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
“It’s a good feeling. Once you get the team over the line it’s a good feeling,” Cornwall noted.
“We were playing this game so we can top the group so we can play whoever is coming from Barbados. I think the team is gelling well, the captain (Kieran Powell) is batting well, I’m getting some runs on the lower end so the feeling is good.”
He added: “As the skipper said, you have to take it one game at a time. We’ve got Trinidad on Sunday and we can’t take them lightly and then we’re looking forward to the semi-finals and we have some more practicing to do in the nets.
“I think we have to get the middle order sorted out. Once we get that sorted out, everything would be fine.”
Cornwall is expected to be a key player for Hurricanes in their title bid. Not only is he an aggressive lower batsman but his stingy off-spin has also been a feature of his side’s attack.
And the West Indies A star is hoping he can successfully combine both aspects of his game to good effect for Hurricanes.
“I am a genuine all-rounder and once I can get the two [components] to click together that would make me an even better player,” he stressed. “If I can get the bowling at 100 per cent and the batting 100 per cent, I think that’s the thing I’m looking for.”
Last night Volcanoes made 293 with Devon Smith making 101 off 103 balls and Sunil Ambris scoring 53 off 36 deliveries. Andre Fletcher chipped in with 41. In the Hurricanes turn at the wicket captain Powell continued his great form with 80. Powell now has 509 runs in the tournament at an average of 84 and has struck three centuries.