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Hodge put UWI in final

EZRA STUART, [email protected]

Hodge put UWI in final

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UWI Blackbirds, guided by a mesmerising spell of spin bowling by Kavem Hodge, romped into tonight’s final of University of the West Indies/Barbados Cricket Association Inter-Parish Twenty20 Cricket Tournament at the 3Ws Oval.

The Blackbirds plucked the previously unbeaten St Michael Merchants by a whopping 102 runs in their semi-final on Thursday night to set up a showdown with the star-studded St James Settlers, who had easily defeated
St John by ten wickets in the first semi-final on Wednesday night.

Chasing the Blackbirds’ total of 160 for five, St Michael were routed for a meagre 58 in 13.3 overs with left-arm spinner Hodge returning the remarkable figures of four overs, two maidens, three runs, four wickets.

It was a bittersweet night for Dominican Hodge as he was the last victim of a hat trick by St Michael’s off-spinner Kemar Smith when UWI batted first.

Leniko Boucher and Justin Bramble had launched the Blackbirds’ innings in grand style, featuring in a rousing opening stand of 95 in just 9.4 overs.

The right-handed Boucher smashed fours sixes and a four in an entertaining 47 off 39 balls and Justin Bramble hit 40 off 32 balls with three fours and two sixes before retiring hurt.

But Smith not only broke the partnership when he had Boucher caught at long on by his brother, Dwayne Smith, but triggered a top-order collapse by bowling the Blackbirds’ captain Nicholas Kirton and having Hodge caught for first-ball “ducks” with his next two deliveries.

When he added the scalp of big-hitter Marlon Welcome-Goodman, who was trapped leg before wickets for three, the Blackbirds had declined to 103 for four in the 14th over.

But Kenny Pennyfeather (25 not out off 19 balls) and Aaron Daley (15 not out off eight balls) gave the innings a late boost.

In reply, St Michael received a major setback when JaiBari Yarde after savagely pulling off-spinner Raymond Bynoe for two sixes over mid-wicket, was run out for 14 by a direct throw from Kirton.

The Merchants’ woes continued when Dwayne Smith was caught at short midwicket for just four off Hodge, who also quickly removed Shakib Kellman, Craig St Hill and Jameel Stuart.

Apart from Yarde, Jonathan Drakes, who top-scored with 23 off 14 balls with two sixes and a four, was the only other St Michael batsman to reach double figures.

Hodge was supported by left-arm spinner Larry Edward, who claimed two wickets for nine runs and Bynoe, two for 28. (EZS)