IT WAS the vintage Bajan way of playing cricket, defying the odds in the face of adversity to prevail.
Playing with pride and passion, Barbados never lost the plot or purpose, and delivered a splendid performance to thrash host country Jamaica by 58 runs yesterday and reach tomorrow’s final of the WICB Regional One-Day Championship against the Leeward Islands.
And the workmanlike victory in the second semi-final came despite a career-best six-wicket haul from new West Indies selectee André Russell, who had Barbados rocking on 38 for three after they were sent in by Jamaica.
At that stage, it seemed the Barbados’ top-order batsmen were still upset about the late change in venue from Trelawny to the Sabina Park Test venue, which resulted in the team’s management lodging a protest before the start of play.
But Barbados, lifted by fluent half-centuries from Jonathan Carter (59) and Dwayne Smith (55), who both hit three sixes and three fours in their knocks, went on to post a respectable 249 for nine as the impressive Man-of-the-Match Russell finished with six for 45 in ten pacy and penetrative overs.
Then Barbados’ captain Ryan Hinds put aside a batting failure to lead from the front with the ball, returning the outstanding figures of four for 19 in 9.1 overs as Jamaica were dismissed for an inadequate 191 in 44.1 overs.
New West Indies Test vice-captain Brendan Nash carved out a patient 52 off 91 balls with four boundaries, but not even a 58-run sixth-wicket stand which he shared with all-rounder David Bernard (28),could stop the unrelenting Barbadians.
“It was a very good performance. We stuck to our team plans more often than not, and really executed well today. We had a long drive up from Trelawny. The guys were a bit jaded but, nevertheless, we came out here and played the game in true spirit and passion and that is what Barbados’ cricket is all about,” Hinds told the SATURDAY SUN after the match.
Hinds left Jamaica in dire straits at 90 for five, claiming the wickets of Danza Hyatt, Tamar Lambert and Carlton Baugh before returning to perform the final rites, trapping Khismar Santokie leg before wicket.
But it was pacer Tino Best, who made the first strike, removing Jamaica’s captain Chris Gayle for a breezy 16, through the first of four catches by wicketkeeper Carlo Morris, who also dropped Nash off Smith.
Best’s new ball partner Kemar Roach, who had been struck for a four and six by Gayle, also had Xavier Marshall caught behind for 20, while Javon Searles, who was flayed for 27 in his first two overs, redeemed himself to finish with three for 51.
He made two more crucial strikes, having Russell caught in the covers by Hinds and then bowling Nash.
During the Nash-Bernard partnership, emotions ran high on the field with a number of decisions, particularly a few run out appeals, going gainst Barbados.
The experienced Guyanese umpire Clyde Duncan, with two Tests way back in 1991 and 1994 under his belt, and 21 One-Day Internationals, was kept busy and many of his decisions came under scrutiny.
Best was warned by the umpires for bowling a beamer to Nash, while a complaining Sulieman Benn was also censured by the umpires for his conduct.
Earlier, left-hander Carter, unlucky not to be named in the West Indies “A” team for the upcoming series against Pakistan “A”, took the attack to the Jamaican bowlers in an attractive 57-ball innings.
Smith restrained his natural attacking instincts in an intelligent half-century off 50 balls while the last-wicket pair of Best (15 not out) and Roach (13 not out) added 34 priceless runs.
Barbados had started disastrously, losing the experienced pair of opener Dale Richards and Hinds cheaply to Russell to be seven for two.
Richards, inadvisedly pulling at a ball which did not bounce as he expected, was trapped leg before wicket for a “duck” while Hinds (3) was adjudged by Duncan to have gloved a lifting delivery to wicketkeeper Baugh.
Jason Haynes was bounced out by Russell for 14, leaving Barbados on 38 for three but Kirk Edwards, who made 34 off 53 balls, and Carter revived the innings with an 82-run fourth-wicket stand in 14.4 overs.
Carter knocked left-arm spinner Nikita Miller out of the attack, lifting him over long-on for six and then heaving him for another straight six.
He also cut Gayle past point for four and lifted him over long-on for his third six, even though umpire Duncan awarded only four. It wasn’t until the end of the innings that the final score was adjusted and the two extra runs rightfully awarded to Carter.
Edwards and Carter, given out leg before wicket by Duncan off a Gayle delivery which seemed to hit him outside the off stump as he pushed forward, fell in consecutive overs within eight runs of each other.
But Smith batted very sensibly in recording his first regional One-Day half-century since 2008, while Best and Roach beefed up the final total by batting through the last seven overs, just prepared to take singles, rather than go for rash shots.