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Last chance to win CT20


EZRA STUART

Last chance to win CT20

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THIS COULD BE the last year for Barbados cricketers to show their mettle and win the Caribbean Twenty20 as a new franchise-based regional T20 League is set to come on stream later this year.
Dating back to the inaugural Stanford Twenty20 in 2006, the Barbadians have never been able to achieve title glory in this fast food format, winning 11 and losing nine of their 23 matches. There was one victory and a loss in Super Over eliminators and a no-result.
The Barbados outfit, under the leadership of Dwayne Smith who also led the team in the failed 2008 Stanford T20 outing, will begin their campaign against the Leeward Islands, who they have beaten in their only previous encounter, in the first game of a double header at Queen’s Park Oval at 4 p.m. tomorrow after tonight’s opener between defending champs Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
This will be followed by a 4 p.m. showdown against Jamaica on Tuesday, a side the Bajans have beaten both times they met. Barbados will next play Guyana on Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by the CCC on Friday at the same time.
 Whereas Guyana won their lone encounter against Barbados in the inaugural 2010 Caribbean T20 final, the CCC?also lost their second game against Barbados.
When the tournament switches to St Lucia, Barbados will tackle Trinidad and Tobago on January 16 and the Windwards, who won their first of two T20 matches versus the Bajans in last year’s third-place play-off at Kensington Oval, on January 17.  
Trinidad and Tobago have been Barbados’ nemesis, winning five of the six matches played between them; the other being a no-result.
Without last year’s captain Kirk Edwards (13 matches, 160 runs, average 14.54, strike rate 83.33) and Kevin Stoute (eight matches, 84 runs from three completed innings, average 28.00, strike rate 86.59), Smith will have a new opening partner in aggressive LIME left-hander Justin Brathwaite.
Left-hander Jonathan Carter, Smith and out-of-favour wicket-keeper Patrick Browne are the only Barbadians to score half-centuries in regional T20 cricket.
Smith has three 50s in his 17 T20s while scoring 382 runs at an average of 25.46 with a strike rate of 140.95 while Carter has four 50s in 18 matches while scoring 381 runs at an average of 23.81 and a strike rate of 96.21.
 Browne’s solitary half-century came in the last of his two T20 matches in 2008 against Trinidad and Tobago.
The team will be without Alcindo Holder, who was dropped after amassing 278 runs in 20 T20s at an average of 25.27 and a strike rate of 99.64 with a highest score of 46 not out.
A lot is expected from the talented Shamarh Brooks, who will be playing in his first Caribbean T20.
There are also high hopes for wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich, who was promoted to No.4 last year but scored just 60 runs in his six matches at an average of 20 and a strike rate of 88.23 with a highest score of 23 not out.
Barbados also have another rookie in tall right-hander Roston Chase, who is also a useful off-spinner but is not expected to feature in the starting 11 with the more experienced LIME off-spinning all-rounder Ashley Nurse in the side.
Nurse has been Barbados’ most successful T20 bowler with 25 wickets at an average of 12.52 and an economy rate of 6.23 runs per over.
He is the only Barbadian with a five-wicket haul, doing so twice as he captured five for 35 against Guyana in the 2010 final and bagged a career-best five for 26 versus Trinidad and Tobago at Kensington Oval in 2011 – both performances losing causes.
Experienced all-rounder Ryan Hinds is expected to play a key role with bat and ball.
Hinds has scored 179 runs in 19 ODIs at an average of 25.57 and a strike rate of 90.40. His highest score is 45 not out while he has taken 20 wickets at an average of 16.85 and an economy rate of 6.03.
West Indies’ Under-19 all-rounder Kyle Mayers should fill the void left by Holder with his hard-hitting left-handed batting.
West Indies’ fast bowlers Tino Best and Fidel Edwards are expected to spearhead the attack, with Carlos Brathwaite and Javon Searles vying for the third seamer spot.
Best has an economy rate of 5.40 with 12 wickets in 13 matches while Edwards has been just as tidy, going at 5.45 per over in seven matches while snaring ten scalps. Best was especially devastating in last year’s tournament, taking ten wickets in six matches at an average of 11.00 and an economy rate of 4.78.
Even though he was limited to a solitary match last year, Searles has performed creditably for Barbados in the past, taking two four-wicket hauls – 4-5 versus Canada and 4-19 versus the Windward Islands – in his 12 wickets at an average of 11.75 and an excellent economy rate of 5.91.
Brathwaite will be looking to make a statement after a leg injury cut short his campaign last year when he was very stingy, conceding 4.44 runs an over in nine overs.
Lanky left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn will certainly be hoping to show the West Indies’ selectors that he remains the best and most miserly bowler of his type in the Caribbean.
In 20 T20s, Benn has 19 wickets at an average of 18.42 and an economy of 5.22 runs per over.

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