Holder stars for HPC
GEORGETOWN – An incisive spell from Jason Holder in the closing overs upstaged a gutsy half-century from Liam Sebastien to lead the West Indies High Performance Centre (HPC) to a tense, seven-run victory over Windward Islands in the Regional Super50 tournament yesterday.
The pacer scalped four wickets – all bowled – for 47 runs from 9.5 overs in defiance of Sebastien’s unbeaten 63 from 90 balls, as Windwards were dismissed for 227 in their Group A match at the Everest Cricket Club, which was blessed with brilliant conditions.
The 19-year-old Holder, a lanky fast-medium bowler, formalised the result when he bowled Nelon Pascal with the penultimate ball of the match.
The result meant that the HPC gained four points, moving to eight, and holding on to second place. They will advance to the semi-finals along with hosts Guyana, knocking co-defending champions Barbados and the hapless Windwards out of the competition.
“This is a very important victory for us because it is the first for us in this competition,” said HPC captain Shamarh Brooks.
“We came in to the tournament last year and we did not do very well, so this is a big plus for us going forward and I want to say ‘well done’ to the guys and hope that we do well in the semi-finals.”
Brooks helped to set the foundation for victory when he stroked five fours and one six in 61 not out from 47 balls.
Nkrumah Bonner struck five fours and one six in the top score of 65 from 77 balls, leading the HPC to 234 for six from their allocation of 50 overs.
Windwards bowled their overs at such an impressive rate that there was about half-hour of play between the end of the HPC’s innings and the scheduled interval between innings, and this was enough time for Shannon Gabriel to give his team a bright start.
The barrel-chested fast bowler had opener Johnson Charles caught at square leg for two in the second over, as Windwards reached the interval on 11 for one.
On resumption, the HPC came under pressure when Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher, in particular, started to paste the bowling, adding 57 for the second wicket.
Gabriel conceded consecutive boundaries from the last four deliveries of his fifth over, when Fletcher sashayed down the pitch and drove him to long-on, crashed a short-ball through cover, swung another short delivery to long-on, and flicked the final delivery through square leg.
Leg-spinner Kerron Cottoy made the breakthrough when Fletcher was caught at slip for 35 top-edging a cut in the 12th over.
The match still hung in the balance, but Cottoy and fellow leg-spinner Bonner gave the HPC control when they shared the next three wickets for 16 runs. (CMC)