From Kerk Higgins in Port-of-Spain | Scorecard Below
Trinidad & Tobago – January 15, 2016: The ICC Americas played their first nationally televised game today, and faced Barbados Pride for the second time in the 2016 NAGICO Super50 Series. This time around the venue was different but the result was the same.
The day-night contest was played at the only Test playing ground in Trinidad and Tobago; the famous Queens Park Oval. Talking to the ICC Americas boys before the game, they were very excited about the match, not only because they were playing at a Test venue, but also because they were playing against six West Indies Test players who recently returned from a Test series in Australia.
Prior to the start of the game, the WICB announced that the Pride had made seven changes to their squad, and now included Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Jason Holder, Shai Hope and Jomel Warrican, to strengthen their team after below par performances in the first round of the tournament.
After all the formalities of a live broadcast game, the Americas won the toss and chose to take first knock on a track that’s known for helping slow bowlers. As in the previous games the Americas opened the batting with Captain Ruvindu Gunasekera and Steven Taylor, while the WI Test captain Jason Holder took the new ball for the Barbados Pride.
The Americas would get one run off the first over, then seven off the second bowled by Carlos Brathwaite, which included a huge six by Gunasekera as he came down the track and slugged the delivery over cow corner. After scoring a double and a boundary off the next over, the Americas captain was on his way back to the pavilion, as he was LBW to Holder for 13. Nitish Kumar would join Taylor and when the partnership had posted four runs, Kumar played a ball to mid-on and took off for a single and was run-out by a direct hit from Kraigg Brathwaite.
In came Srimantha Wijeratne and along with Taylor they produced the highest partnership of the inning (55). They were both going along fine and looking very comfortable against the bowling, with Taylor being the more aggressive of the two, and Wijeratne giving good support. Just those in the Media Centre including myself were commenting that Taylor looked as though he was set to get a big one; there he went playing a needless sweep shot to a straight ball on middle stump from Ashley Nurse and was gone LBW for 41 (6×4, 1×6). Alex Amsterdam came in and started off very shaky but released the shackles with a beautiful on drive that went between mid-wicket and mid-on for a boundary. With Wijeratne, the two would carry the score to 117 before Amsterdam got a slower ball from Carlos Brathwaite, played too early and Kraigg Brathwaite took an easy catch at short extra cover.
At this stage, the Bajan bowlers were tightening the screws as the Americas was finding the boundaries hard to come by. Jonathan Carter was given the ball in the 32nd over and immediately caused trouble to the batsmen with his medium pace. The batsmen were struggling to get him off the square. After being in the 40’s for a while, Wijeyeratne appeared frustrated and pulled a long-hop from Carter straight to Shai Hope at mid-wicket.
With only 136 runs on the board and 33 overs gone, I thought the Americas would have tried to up the scoring rate by sending Timroy Allen who is capable of hitting some long balls, however they had other plans. Of the remaining batsmen, only Hamza Tariq looked like he wanted to increase the rate, the others seemed like they were just trying not to get out. The ICC Americas was unable to get a boundary off the final eight overs and were eventually bowled out for 202 off 49.4 overs. The top scorers were Wijeratne 46 (86) and Taylor 41 (48), the Barbados Pride’s bowling was led by Carter 4/37 and Holder 2/26.
Defending 202, the ICC Americas got off to their best start of the tournament as Timroy Allen had Dwayne Smith bowled off the second ball of the inning, then he had WI opener Shai Hope caught by Amsterdam at second-slip. After the first over, the Barbados Pride was ½, with the solitary run coming via a leg-bye. It was an excellent start by Allen and the Americas. To spice things up even more, the Americas went up with a very aggressive appeal for a caught behind against Carter which was turned down by the third-umpire. Unfortunately for the Americas, they would not see success for the next nine overs, as the pair of Carter and Kraigg Brathwaite punished some very poor Americas bowling. With the partnership worth 61, and Carter in full flow, Kumar got him to nick one to the wicketkeeper and he was gone for 35. Shamar Brooks joined Brathwaite and they took the score to 109, before Brooks became Kumar’s second victim. By this time, Brathwaite had brought up his half-century and was looking great against the up and down bowling of the Americas.
The Pride’s wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich came in with the score on 109/4 and immediately showed his intensions as he came off the mark with two boundaries, and looked as though he was in a hurry to get the game over. After scoring a quick 40, Dowrich was run-out when he called for a single off a ball played to backward point; and was short on a direct hit by Timil Patel. It was now up to the two Brathwaite’s to finish the job for the Bajans, but after hitting a boundary and two doubles Carlos hit one from Danial Ahmed high into the night sky and was out caught by Amsterdam running in from long off. Royston Chase would join Kraigg and the pair would see the Barbados Pride home by 4 wickets, with Kraigg Brathwaite unbeaten on 86 and Chase on 1. For the ICC Americas, Allen and Kumar each grabbed two wickets.
Once again the ICC Americas had wasted a great start by its seam bowlers. In my opinion, the slow bowlers have been letting the batsmen off the hook too often, and I am not impressed with the way in which the Americas captain have been using his bowlers. Every game I am waiting to see when Amsterdam will have a chance to bowl. He has so far bowled one over for three runs in the tournament, and I thought he was selected as one of the all-rounders in the squad. As for the batting, the Americas need to bat in partnerships and frustrate the opposing bowlers. There are too many dot balls, with the batsmen not rotating the strike.
As a batsman, you should always be ready to pick up a single, here or there to keep the board ticking over. Hopefully they will put on a better show in their second televised game against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force this Friday, January 15 (12:30 PM NY time).