From Kerk Higgins in Port-of-Spain
Trinidad & Tobago – In the second round action of the WICB’S 2016 NAGICO Super50 Series, the Jamaica Scorpions made light work of the ICC Americas. After putting in a decent performance in their loss against the Barbados Pride, the Americas were expected to improve and give the Jamaicans a tougher match-up, unfortunately they didn’t.
The ICC Americas got off to a great start when Timroy Allen struck with the score on 6. The Jamaican captain John Campbell was caught behind the stumps by a diving Akeem Dodson, and off Allen’s bowling. Twenty one runs later Jeremy Gordon give Dodson his second catch when he got Trevon Griffith to edge one down the leg-side. With the score now on 27/2 and two new batsmen at the crease in Devon Thomas and Andre McCarthy, the seam bowlers were looking very impressive. They were bowling a better line and length than they did in their first series match against Barbados Pride. However, the two batsmen kept rotating the strike until the slower bowlers came into the attack, and the batsmen started to play more shots with the bowling not as tidy as the seamers. Immediately after reintroducing the seamers, Ali Khan struck by getting Thomas out LBW for 18.
Tamar Lambert joined McCarthy with the score on 60/3, and this was the pair that punished the ICC Americas; dispatching the spinners to all parts of the ground, and the fielders were not making things any better by misfielding and allowing the batsmen to convert singles into doubles. The Lambert/McCarthy partnership would eventually be the biggest one of the Scorpions inning, producing 106 runs off 119 deliveries. ICC Americas reintroduced Jeremy Gordon into the attack and he picked up two quick wickets. The Jamaicans were now 167/5 after 35.4 overs. With McCarthy still at the wicket and approaching a century, the Jamaican Scorpions were still hoping for a total beyond 250. After bringing up his century, McCarthy got even more aggressive as the Jamaicans were trying to get as much runs as possible. He was run-out trying to come back for a second run with the score on 241/7 and only 17 balls remaining in the inning. The Scorpions would add 20 more runs to their total, thanks to a few big blows from Sheldon Cotterell.
The Jamaican Scorpions final total was 261/8, with McCarthy playing a brilliant inning and contributing a well-played 118 (121b, 11×4, 4×6), he got support from Cotterell (29) and Lambert (26), Extras also contributed in double figures with 26. For the ICC Americas, the wickets were shared between the seamers with Jeremy Gordon (3/32) leading the way and Ali Khan (2/63).
With a huge target of 262, the ICC Americas didn’t change their opening pair of Captain Ruivindu Gunasekara and Steven Taylor, while the Jamaicans started with Test bowler Sheldon Cotterell, who inflected a dent in the ICC Americas plans from ball one, as he had the captain caught and bowled off the very first ball of the inning. The new batsman Nitish Kumar and Taylor were going along well at 42/1 when Taylor pushed at a slower delivery from Nicholas Gordon and was well caught at short mid-wicket for a patient 12. Gordon would strike again 6 runs later when he had Akeem Dodson caught at mid-on. While all of this was taking place, Kumar was looking very comfortable against the Scorpions attack, he played a few glorious shots off the Test bowler.
At the water break, it was Kumar and the previous match’s top-scorer Alex Amsterdam at the wicket, with the score on 54/3 and ICC Americas needing the pair to bat as long as possible if they were to challenge the Jamaican Scorpions’ total. But with just 4 runs added, Amsterdam got an arm ball from Nikita Miller and was caught at slip. Kumar would play a few more of his lovely drives through the off-side before he became one of Damion Jacob’s five victims. With the departure of Kumar, it was just a matter of time before the game was over. After 26.5 overs it was all over as the ICC Americas was bowled out for a meagre 76, with only Kumar (42) and Taylor (12) getting into double figures. The bowling for the Jamaican Scorpions was led by Jacobs (5/22) and supported by Gordon (2/17). The Man-of-the-Match award went to Andre McCarthy.
ICC Americas seemed to have lost their intensity as the game progressed. They started the game with a lot of energy and that’s what caused them to pick up early wickets, however, once a partnership started to build they got lackadaisical; hence, making it easier for the batsmen. In my opinion, the ICC Americas captain used his bowlers incorrectly. He bowled the slow bowlers too long and the batsmen got comfortable against them. Every time a seam bowler was brought back into the attack he would immediately get a break through, but for some reason the captain did not notice that. Not to take anything away from the inning that McCarthy played, but I think he was helped by ICC Americas’ poor field setting. I wouldn’t say anything other than poor batting displayed by the ICC Americas batsmen cost them dearly, with the exception of Kumar.
Let’s hope they get it right on Wednesday afternoon (12:30PM NY time) against Barbados, this will be one of their two games scheduled to be broadcast live on ESPN.