THIS was like nothing we’ve seen before.
A most remarkable day’s cricket that produced 22 wickets for 220 runs will immediately raise questions over the quality of the pitch at the 3Ws Oval on the opening day of the seventh, final and decisive WICB four-day match between Barbados and Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC).
It was almost unbelievable to witness Barbados crash to a modest 90 from only 34.1 overs, falling in the face of a career-best seven-wicket haul from left-arm spinner Kavesh Kantasingh after they chose to bat first on a dry surface that was expected to deteriorate as the match progressed.
CCC, however, fared only marginally better, managing 113 from 42.5 overs before Barbados lost a further two wickets in nine overs they faced in their second turn at the crease at the end of the eventful day.
Sixth-placed Barbados, who now need a win to stand a chance of reaching the semi-finals, probably didn’t expect they would see the ball turn so much when Kantasingh came on after seven overs.
While the surface presented some challenges, there was no reason why we should have seen the regular flow of wickets that we saw. The two scorecards were more a reflection of batting that left a lot to be desired.
No one would have envisaged the destruction that was to follow after Barbados openers Jason Haynes and Kraigg Brathwaite put on 31 for the first wicket.
It took Kantasingh a few balls before making inroads. An outside edge that found Brathwaite’s bat was just one of the many balls he turned sharply away from the right-handers.
It gave Floyd Reifer the first of his three catches at slip, and the second was a superb diving right-handed effort that was undoubtedly the play of the day and accounted for No. 3 batsman Shamarh Brooks.
The first sign of a batsman providing a soft dismissal came when captain Ryan Hinds advanced down the pitch and lifted a chance to short mid-wicket that was nicely taken by substitute Ryan Wiggins, who was on the field because Rommel Currency was in a UWI Cave Hill Campus classroom completing an exam.
Another wicket was gifted when the impressive Jason Haynes, stroking the ball confidently and looking for a tight single to mid-on to complete a half-century, was sent back by non-striker Jonathan Carter and run out at the striker’s end.
If Haynes could have batted with little bother for his 49 off 79 balls that included five fours, why was it such a struggle for the other batsmen?
Minutes before lunch, Kevin Stoute advanced down the pitch, launched into a massive drive, missed, and was easily stumped.
It left Barbados 69 for six and it was only a matter of minutes before the end would come. It was only delayed by Shane Dowrich’s positive 20 before the 24-year-old Kantansingh ended the innings to finish off with the excellent figures of 14-7-22-7 that bettered his previous best return of six for 29.
From the time CCC lost their first three wickets for 14 to Fidel Edwards and Pedro Collins, it was also evident that it would be a struggle for the hosts.
Floyd Reifer arrived to counter-attack but it was short-lived, and the veteran fell to a top ball from tall fast bowler Jason Holder that was edged to the keeper just before tea.
Holder, preferred to Tino Best, who was dropped for the third time this season, bowled very well to claim a further two wickets, both to catches from edges.
The first was that of fellow High Performance student Kyle Corbin, the season’s second highest run-scorer at the start of the match. Corbin gave a catch to cover from the leading edge and Currency provided one to the keeper from the outside edge to leave CCC 52 for six.
It was an open battle for first innings lead then but the home team got the points thanks to the best partnership of the day between Nkruma Bonner (25) and Carlos Brathwaite (27), who used sensible methods in adding 37 for the seventh wicket.
The partnership was broken when CCC were just a run behind Barbados and ended when Hinds had Bonner caught at silly point in what was one of at least four decisions on the day that batsmen were unhappy with.
Hinds also got the ball to turn and was responsible for the last four wickets.Barbados had nine overs to face before the close and there was plenty of speculation over how many wickets they would lose.
Haynes, the first innings topscorer, went first ball and Brooks, whose inclusion in the team was questioned in some quarters, fell lbw to a ball that struck him on the full from Kantasingh.
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