Jamaica cruise into final four
Jamaica marched into the semi-finals of the Stanford 20/20 tournament with a comfortable eight-wicket win over Stanford 20/20 Nevis Pro team at the Stanford Cricket Ground on Saturday.
After choosing to bat, Carlon Smithen and Sherwin Woodley opened the batting for Nevis Pro Team, but they took the opening overs to have a good look at West Indies fast bowling pair of Jerome Taylor and Daren Powell.
However, Taylor, after conceding two wides in his first over and Powell, who went for three runs, were briefly roughed up by Smithen and Woodley, who by now opened their shoulders.
In the third over, Taylor was flicked off the back foot by Woodley backward of square, and three deliveries later, Smithen, given room outside his off-stump, hit powerfully through cover.
But the very next ball, Smithen (four) tried to work Taylor on the leg side, but got a leading edge, which led to Brenton Parchment, running backwards at cover, taking a brilliant catch. Parchment was given the Play-of-the-Day and US$10,000 his diving and sliding effort.
Woodley (16) fell shortly after to a regulation catch on the long-on boundary by Wavell Hinds off Marlon Samuels, who had just replaced Taylor at the northern end – Nevis 29 for 2.
Tonito Willett and Javia Liburd joined forces in a relatively decent 33 run third wicket stand, which briefly gave their spectators, including the reigning Miss Nevis, something to cheer.
However, three wickets fell within 10 runs as by now, a big total was doubtful against a strong Jamaica team, which included eight players with Test and ODI experience.
The partnership was broken when Nikita Miller removed Willett (16), caught at long-off by Shawn Findlay, with his very first delivery. Runako Morton (one) was stumped by Carlton Baugh Jr. off a wide delivery bowled by Chris Gayle while Liburd (22) was run out; leaving the Nevis Pro Team reeling at 72-5.
Captain Joel Simmonds and Daynason Browne revived the innings with an important 34-run sixth wicket stand, which took Nevis above the 100 mark. Both played a few strokes, but Browne was a little rough on Taylor, who returned from the southern end.
Though Simmonds (15) went to a brilliant catch taken by Gayle, running back to mid-off, off Samuels. Taylor, again, came in for a brief punishment from Browne, who struck him for two fours and a huge six, which disappeared over the boundary-side Sticky Wicket Restaurant.
However, Taylor had the last laugh when he bowled Willett (10), who also hit him for a four, and had Browne (25), caught by Findlay, who ran from mid-off to take a very good catch, after which he collided with Samuels, who was coming in from cover.
Taylor ended with 3 for 39 and Samuels 2 for 21.
In reply, Jamaica lost Parchment (10), bowled by Ian Byron, but that exposed Nevis to the dangerous Samuels, who along with Gayle destroyed Bermuda last tournament.
Samuels, in his innings, was brutal against the Nevisian bowling attack. He struck five fours and two huge sixes off 39 deliveries before he was caught on the long-on boundary.
Samuels, who hit a quick fire 47 and opener Chris Gayle, who played a quiet innings to end unbeaten on 28 off 43 deliveries, put on 74 runs for the second wicket, which was the backbone of Jamaica's victory.
Danza Hyatt joined Gayle and in little time, the former was on the attack. In his brief innings, he hit two fours and as many sixes, one of each against Trevier Smithen to end the match in style.
Samuels was named Man-of-the-match for his all-rounder performance. He walked away with US$25,000.
Gayle was pleased with Jamaica's performance. "A good win," was how he described it.
"It was good to restrict them for under 130 runs," he said.
Simmonds said poor shot selections let his team down. "The total 120 was not enough against Jamaica with the batting line-up they have" he said after his team only had nine fours and two sixes in their innings.
"We would have to make anywhere between 160 and 180," he said if they were to have a chance. "And we never did that ... we lost wickets at crucial intervals and that set us back in the game," he added.