Ex-leader Lambert Leads Jamaica to Opening Victory

30th January 2014

When the Sawdust Settles – match reviews

Nagico Super50 Tournament – 1st Match

Zone A: Jamaica v Windward Islands, Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Jamaica 282-5 beat Windward Islands 268-8 (Lesporis 100no) by 14 runs

The opening match of the Nagico Super50 tournament got off to a good start, with the defending champions going down to a Chris Gayle-less Jamaica by 14 runs.

At the competition’s launch, WICB CEO, Michael Muirhead had called upon the region’s batsmen to provide the Caribbean cricket watchers with a feast of runs; and a fluctuating, healthy, batting-led game was what we were treated to.

Batting first, Jamaica recovered from 32-3 in the 10th over to post 282. The early threat and inroads made by Delorn Johnson and Mervin Mathew, who were both quite a handful to the top order, weren’t backed up by the second stringers, and the 4th wicket was able to mount a recovery.

The partnership was built solidly around the experienced, and self-admittedly rotund ex-skipper, Tamar Lambert, who lead the fightback with an assured, and mature innings of 88. His support in a stand of 179 was 26-year-old Andre McCarthy, who provided a polished 93, and was deserving of the century he fell 7 runs short of.

With some late innings biffing provided by Andre Russell (28no) and Carlton Baugh (28no), Jamaica’s 282-5 was a healthy total, and quite a challenge for the Windwards, who would be chasing under lights.

They made a fine start, with the opening pair of Devon Smith (52) & Johnson Charles (40) adding 62 at over 5 runs per over – feasting early on upon some loose stuff from left-armer, Sheldon Cottrell and some absolute rubbish from Andre Russell, whose match figures of 4-0-44-0 sufficiently tell the story.

But the turnaround was again provided by the ‘veteran’, Lambert, who at almost 33 has declared he may only have another season or two left in him. In tandem with slow left-armer, Nikta Miller, Lambert’s very slow and deadly accurate off-breaks strangled the middle of the Windwards’ innings, depriving the run chase life when the batsmen needed to take deep breaths and push on.

Miller and Lambert have been expertly providing this type of slow suffocation for several years, usually in partnership with Odean Brown, but the leg-spinner was omitted due to injury from Jamaica’s squad for the competition. Miller finished with 10-0-35-3, and Lambert 10-0-32-2, and he deservedly took the Man of the Match award.

The only batsman who supplied impetus to the Windward innings was Keddy Lesporis, who played a fine knock of 100 not out, at more than a run-a-ball, but without adequate support for him the Windwards were never going to get within touching distance. In fact, the 53-run unbroken 10th wicket stand with Mathew (25no) made the result look closer than it really was.

To read ESPN Cricinfo’s match report, click here.

And to watch brief highlights of the game, click here.

David Oram

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