By Ravi Madholall in Toronto
West Indies “B” carted off their fourth victory in succession after trouncing Toronto Nationals by an emphatic eight-wicket margin on Saturday when the action continued in the inaugural Global T20 Canada at the Maple Leaf venue, Toronto.
Skipper Anthony Bramble won the toss and asked the Darren Sammy-led side to take first knock and they were only able to set up an inadequate 128-5 from the 20-overs.
West Indies “B”, who have gone into the six-team tournament as “Underdogs” once again, stunned the fans with some clinical performances as they demonstrated another efficient batting display reaching 132-2 with 35 balls remaining.
Barbados opener Justin Greaves, who scored 89 not out the previous match against Winnipeg Hawks, hit 45 while Brandon King made an unbeaten 30. Guyana first-class all-rounder Shane Rutherford hit a robust 37 when he opened the batting with the consistent Greaves on a responsive track.
Exciting batsman Nicolas Pooran (15*) was also there when victory was achieved having hit a terrific reversed-sweep to seal the deal and ensure his team stays at the top on the points table.
Toronto Nationals’ innings never got start and losing wickets at regular intervals. Kamran Akmal (01) and Johnson Charles (08) fell in quick time before Australian skipper Steve Smith steadied things with a 55.
The right-handed batsman mixed solid defense with occasional aggression striking five fours and two sixes while Anton Devcich chipped in with 21.
Sammy also showed some sort off determination to get a good total but left not out on 23. Greaves complemented a fine all-round performance to collect another player-of-the-match award by taking two wickets while there was one apiece for Rutherford, Darell Green and Kavem Hodge, all of whom bowled with consistency in glorious sunshine.
West Indies “B” is expected to be back in action on Sunday at the same facility against Vancouver Knights from 11:00hrs in their final preliminary round fixture.
Knights are being led by former West Indies skipper and pugnacious left-handed batsman Chris Gayle.
At the press conference just after the conclusion of proceedings, the Berbician Bramble stated that his team was always confident of doing well in the tournament and with these kind of impressive and winning performances, he is very much optimistic of them lifting the trophy and first-prize cash of US$500, 000.
In the other match that played Saturday, Edmonton Royals defeated Winnipeg Hawks by five wickets with only three deliveries remaining.
The Hawks appeared first at the crease at the invitation of Royals and raced to a competitive 203-4 off 20-overs while Royals responded magnificently with 205-5 in the 20th over.
Mark Deyal, Lendl Simmons and David Miller all fashioned their way to attractive half-centuries to help post the total up.
Several chances went a begging but they batted with a great amount of confidence. They lost their opener and skipper David Warner (00) via a catch at short fine-leg to Pakistan’s left-arm pacer Mohammed Irfan but after Simmons and Deyal featured in a brilliant 100-run second-wicket partnership. Simmons has been in prolific form spanking six fours and four sixes while the left-handed Deyal, who was promoted, hit five massive sixes and Miller four of them.
The score looked formidable at the start of Royals’ reply having seen the dismissal of Luke Ronchie for three but Pakistani Agha Salman timed the ball superbly hitting three sixes and eight fours in his player-of-the-match 73 and also claimed two wickets earlier. Farhaam and the fluent Salman batted well after Andre Fletcher set the foundation with a cameo 47.
Farhaam at one time playing second fiddle but gradually became aggressive and stroke a handsome 62. West Indies’ fierce fast-bowler Fidel Edwards removed Kevin O’Brien before “Boom Boom” Shahid Afridi arrived with a belligerent mood thumping two mighty sixes to finish things in style.
The next segment will bowl off on Tuesday before the playoffs start on Thursday with the championship contest taking place on Sunday.