Jamaica defy odds to cart off Challenge Cup and League titles
By Michael Benjamin
After four days of pulsating cricket where fortunes swayed from one team to the next, Jamaica rose from their dismal second round, bottom of the table standing, to claim both the Challenge Cup and the League Cup, when play in the 4th Regional Blind Cricket competition concluded at the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara yesterday morning.
The rain was not kind to the eventual winners, as their first round match against Trinidad and Tobago was completely ruined.
The Jamaicans bided their time and it was not until the third round, in the match against Guyana, that they were able to register their first points of the tournament. Their superb all round performances earned them a win plus a bonus point from that game.
In the meantime, Barbados, who had notched up 8 points from two wins in as many games, suffered a setback when they were beaten by Trinidad and Tobago. They, however, had already amassed a comfortable lead to see them retaining ‘top of the standing’ position going into the final day of the tournament, yesterday.
In the first match played yesterday, for the League Cup, Jamaica opposed Trinidad and Tobago, in compensation for their disrupted first round match. Early morning showers threatened to disrupt the proceedings once again, but after a few hours, when the rains had subsided, the umpires ruled that the match was on.
Trinidad called correctly and opted to take first strike. In the face of tight bowling from the opposition they only managed to compile 87 runs from their allotted 10 overs. Sheldon Phillips lashed an unbeaten 23 to take the batting honours for the Trinidadians, while Keith Baptist (10), was the only other batsman to score double figures. The other batsmen were restricted by tight bowling and good fielding by the Jamaicans.
Four batsmen, Vincent Modeste (8), Ulric Andrews (8), Michael Durham (4) and Rajindra Ramnarine (0) all went by the run out route. Dennol Shim was the pick of the Jamaican bowlers conceding 10 runs from his two overs, while taking one wicket. He was later adjudged man-of-the-match after he returned and opened the Jamaican innings with Jason Rickettes.
The two aggressively attacked the Trinidadian bowling, scoring 11 runs off the first two overs, with Rickettes reaching the boundary once. The pair was especially brutal in the third over where, between them, they lashed 13 valuable runs. By the end of the 5th over they had taken the Jamaican total to 35 without conceding a wicket. They added a further 11 in the 6th over before Ricketts was dismissed after he accidentally disturbed his stumps going for a drive. His replacement, Gregory Stewart, picked up where he had left off as Jamaica cantered to 63 runs off 8 overs without further loss.
The situation got a bit dicey with three balls already bowled in the penultimate over and Jamaica still needing 18 runs. Dennol Shim rose to the occasion with a well timed boundary reducing the total considerably and leaving the Reggae Boys with just 14 from the last over. The pair inched towards the total with sensible prods and pushes. Keith Baptist, entrusted with the ball in the final over, attempted to outwit Gregory Stewart but the Jamaican batsman was up to the task and struck the ball with such ferocity that the Trinidadian fielder pursuing, merely had to retrieve.
Some two hours after their scintillating victory for the League Cup, the Jamaicans returned to face Barbados for the Challenge Cup, in their second match of the day. After calling correctly and electing to bat, the Bajan opening pair, Tremayne Forte and Ricardo Manning posted a healthy opening stand of 71 before Forte was dismissed, run out for 42 off 31 balls. He was replaced by Granville Carter, who scored 18, before he was dismissed, run out for that score. Halden Ford was next to go, bowled by Dennol Shim for 19. The Bajans survived the remaining overs of the innings without conceding another wicket to eventually compile 154-4. Dennol Shim was the sole wicket taker for the Jamaicans, capturing Halden Ford in the last over for 19.
The Jamaicans started their reply on a positive note with Lo Shane Miles and Jason Rickettes amassing 12 runs in the first over.
They faltered somewhat in the third over when they had only managed to compile 29 as against the Bajans score of 37 at the same stage. To make maters worse, Miles was dismissed, run out for 20, paving the way for Gregory Stewart to join Rickettes. Shortly afterwards, in the 7th over, Stewart charged down the wicket to a delivery from Anthony Cummings, missed the ball and was stumped by Trevor Brooms.
Damian McLean came in and stayed briefly before he was LBW for 6 off Adrian Daniel. As the overs ran out, the Jamaicans went into an attacking mode. Shim drove Adrian Daniels for two consecutive boundaries, easing the pressure somewhat. In the 15th over, with the score on 128-5, and Jamaica needing another 25 from 30 balls, Shim changed gear. From an asking rate of 17 runs from 14 balls the Jamaicans steadily chiseled off the runs and in the final, they needed just three runs. Shim delightfully performed the honours with a well struck boundary. He finished unbeaten on 49, compiled from 32 balls to take the man-of-the-match prize.
Meanwhile, a special squad will be selected from among the three teams to oppose a team made up of past cricket stars in a match to be played tomorrow morning at the same venue.