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It’s win or bust


by EZRA STUART in Jamaica

It’s win or bust

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WINNING the title in today’s final against the Leeward Islands in the WICB Regional 50-over Championship is critical for Barbados’ cricket.
And national captain Ryan Hinds believes victory can be achieved once the players execute the team’s plans and keep their focus.
The title-shy Barbados cricketers have not tasted limited-overs championship success since 2002 when the Courtney Browne-led side defeated host country Jamaica in the then Red Stripe Bowl at Kaiser.
That was the last of their four titles after winning the first two way back in 1976 and 1977 under the captaincy of David Holford before adding a third in 1988 with Malcolm Marshall at the helm.
“I think we are very confident. We have in the back of our minds that we haven’t won his tournament since 2002, so we will be looking to execute our plans again really well and take home some silverware,” Hinds said.
Since then, Barbados lost to Guyana in the 2003 and 2005 final and Trinidad and Tobago in the 2008 championship match.
Now Hinds feels it is imperative that Barbados, who came second to Jamaica in this year’s regional first-class championship and lost to Guyana in the WICB Twenty20 Cup, must go one step better.
“I think it is very important for us to win this game. We have been playing really good cricket from the four-day (championship). Our form has been very consistent throughout the Twenty20 and throughout the 50-over tournament,” he said.
“We are going into this final unbeaten, which is good for us, and I’m sure our guys are eager to go out there and play to the best of our ability.”
But he cautioned against reading too much into Barbados’ four-wicket triumph over the Leewards at the same venue in their opening group match.
“I won’t say it is a psychological boost, because in a final we go in on even ground. Leewards have played tremendous cricket, hence the reason they are in the final,” he said.
What is noteworthy is that the Leewards, who have won the one-day title five times, defeated Barbados in the final on three of those occasions – in 1982, 1994 and 1995.
“Our focus is executing our team plans, go out there and getting over 250 and defending them with the bowling attack that we have,” said Hinds.
“I think, when you look at our team, we have probably about five attacking bowlers. Tino Best and Kemar Roach, once they can knock off the opening batsmen and Bennie [Sulieman Benn] and myself come in, along with Smithie [Dwayne Smith] and Javon Searles, I’m sure we can defend whatever total we get,” a confident Hinds said.
He observed that the experienced Leewards captain Wilden Cornwall, who lashed a belligerent 85 in a losing cause against Barbados in the team’s opening encounter, would be a key man for his side.
“He’s been around for a very long time. I’m sure that the Leewards feed off him. They don’t have the likes of [Runako] Morton and Tonito Willett, so I think [that], as captain, Cornwall has been doing a tremendous job for Leewards cricket.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us and our major focus is going out there and playing good, enjoyable cricket,” Hinds said.
The Leewards – heartened by a match-winning 81 by young Derbyshire left-hander Chester Hughes in the semi-final win against the Windward Islands – are expected to recall pacer Gavin Tonge for off-spinning all-rounder Jacques Taylor.
The more experienced Steve Liburd could also play at the expense of Gavin Williams, while Barbados may have to decide whether to keep faith with left-handed opener Jason Haynes or play teenage opener Kraigg Brathwaite.
But it is unlikely that off-spinner Marlon Graham, who was flayed for 30 in one over by Cornwall, will be recalled after fast bowler Javon Searles redeemed himself with three late wickets in the victory over Jamaica.
The leg-spin of hat-trick hero Anthony Martin could also be a key factor for the Leewards and they would be hoping that he can contain the likes of Hinds, Kirk Edwards, Jonathan Carter – who has hit two half-centuries in his last two completed innings, and Smith, whose half-century against Jamaica would have gone a long way in rebuilding his confidence.

PAST CHAMPIONS:
CHAMPIONS OVER THE YEARS
Gillette Cup
1976 – Barbados
1977 – Barbados
Geddes Grant/Harrison Line Trophy
1978 – Leewards/Jamaica (shared)
1979 – Trinidad and Tobago
1980 – Guyana
1981 – Trinidad and Tobago
1982 – Leewards
1983 – Guyana
1984 – Jamaica
1985 – Guyana
1986 – Jamaica
1987 – Jamaica
1988 – Barbados
Geddes Grant Shield
1989 – Windward Islands
1990 – Trinidad and Tobago
1991 – Jamaica
1992 – Trinidad and Tobago
1993 – Guyana/Leewards (shared)
1994 – Leewards
Shell/Sandals Trophy
*1995 – Leewards
*1995 – Trinidad and Tobago/Guyana (shared)
1996 – Trinidad and Tobago
Red Stripe Bowl
1997 – Leewards
1998 – Guyana
1999 – Jamaica
2000 – Windwards
2001 – Guyana
2002 – Barbados
2003 – Guyana
President’s Cup
2004 – Trinidad and Tobago
KFC Cup
2005 – Guyana
*2007 – Trinidad and Tobago
*2007 – Jamaica
WICB Cup
2008 – Trinidad and Tobago
2009 – Trinidad and Tobago
NB: In 1973, the Banks Trophy was contested between Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. There were two tournaments played in 1995 and 2007.
Breakdown of winners
Trinidad and Tobago 10 (one shared); Guyana 9 (two shared); Jamaica 7 (one shared); Leewards 6 (two shared), Barbados 4, Windwards 2. (The Banks Trophy is not included).

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