Barbados Overcome Rivals in Vital Group Game

2nd February 2014

When the Sawdust Settles – match reviews

Nagico Super50 Tournament – 4th Match

Zone B: Barbados v Trinidad & Tobago, Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Barbados 269-8 (Carter 109) beat T&T 241 by 28 runs

Once again Jonathan Carter proved himself to be a batsman of the highest calibre, and in front of a wider television audience may have gone a step further to a deserved elevation to the highest level.

Barbados were without their best batsman, Kirk Edwards (if he can still lay claim to that title), the former captain having been sent home by the Barbados Management team for not having his proper kit. A seemingly trivial matter which has got blown all out of proportion, but probably reflecting more a fit of pique on behalf of the ex-skipper, rather than intransigence and draconian law-enforcement by the BCA representatives.

The tournament has already revealed that there is a decided advantage to batting first in the afternoon and setting a target with the 2pm starts, rather than chasing under lights. Winning the toss, new 50-over Barbados captain, Kevin Stoute duly did so.

Dwayne Smith, who has always promised much with his undoubted talent, but often carelessly fallen short of providing the goods, for once delivered. His 83 from 72 balls was an assured innings containing several punishing thumps straight from the over-pitched, and many withering pulls and cuts of the short. He added 103 for the 3rd wicket with Carter, who after losing both Smith and skipper, Stoute (0) within 3 balls, put on another 91 with wicket-keeper, Shane Dowrich (35) in a little over 12 overs.

The match had been reduced to 45 overs a side thanks to rain and a delayed start, so a total of 269, with Carter’s 109 from 111 balls the quality backbone, was going to take some getting.

Trinidad & Tobago are probably the best limited overs side in the Caribbean, and they were always likely to respond positively to the challenge. But they were lacking a couple of key players in Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard, either of whom may have made a difference.

Everyone in the T&T top 6 made starts , but no-one made 50. Despite early expensive overs from the ‘on-the-comeback-trail’ Fidel Edwards (preferred to Tino Best), Barbados had held the other end in check thanks to the excellent pace and bounce of Jason Holder (8-1-29-3). It is clear who is now the leader of the Barbados attack.

But at 91-2 in the 19th over, with Darren Bravo looking comfortable on 40 and skipper and brother Dwayne due in next, the game was in the balance. This was the point at which another old-hand tipped the balance.

In a fine spell of guile and subtle variation, the still Test-class Sulieman Benn floated through the middle order with a match-winning return of 9-1-39-4. Ramdin, too low in the order at no.8, threatened with 48 not out, but was left with too much ground to make up.

Pollard’s presence in the middle order would likely have given the T&T innings some real impetus and power hitting – but probably the bigger loss was Narine. While Pollard is unfortunately injured currently, Narine’s absence was because he had not yet returned from his spell in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in South Africa with the Cape Cobras – whom he helped to progress towards Sunday’s final. Middle overs from the tricky off-spinner would have been tougher to negotiate than the easy pickings from Lendl Simmons and Imran Khan.

Narine returns in time for the next game, and he ought to make all the difference. I would still back Dwayne Bravo’s side to go all the way and win this competition, in all probability in a final rematch with today’s victors.

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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