Nevis see's off Montserrat threat
Nevis Pro Team, a surprised semi-finalist last year, eased into the quarterfinals of the 2008 Stanford 20/20 tournament with an entertaining 74-run win over Montserrat on Friday.
The Nevisians now set up a final eight clash with regional one-day champions Jamaica on February 16. Jamaica, on Wednesday, scored a crushing 118-run win over Bahamas.
Replying to Nevis' 185 for six off their allotted 20 overs; Montserrat were blown away for 111 in 16.4 overs.
Electing to bat, Nevis got off to a flyer, despite losing Javia Liburd, who hit former West Indies Youth pacer Lionel Baker to McPherson Meade at mid-off at 17-1 in the third over. He made only 10.
Tonito Willett joined Carlon Smithen and by the time Montserrat realised what hit them, the ball was already disappearing to all parts of the beautiful Stanford Cricket Ground. Both batsmen were in a no-nonsense mood as they struck the ball without mercy and in one over bowled by spinner Trevor Semper, Smithen took 24 runs - three sixes and a four – during this time the 50 came up in four overs, the fastest this season.
Baker, who took the first wicket in his second over, was punished in the following over by Willett, who kept the medium size crowd on their feet for a fourth straight over with three successive boundaries.
Captain Davon Williams made a double change in the sixth over, a move which immediately brought success with the downfall of Willett and Smithen, both of whom had things their own way at the outset.
Willett, who failed to score off Brian Stephney's first delivery, pushed the second to cover point and took off for a quick single, but the hesitant Smithen was found short of his ground.
Two deliveries later, Willett provided Stephney with a return catch, which he took removing to his left, at 74 for three.
Smithen, who hit three fours and a similar amount of sixes in 36 off 25 balls and Willett's whose 26 came off 13 deliveries with three fours and a six, added 56 off just 23 deliveries for the second wicket.
Captain Joel Simmonds joined Morton and they did not disappoint predecessors. Though the sixes did not come as fluent, the two were able to score at more than a run-a-ball in their 70-run fourth wicket stand.
But what has became a trend, when one batsman falls in a partnership, the other fallows, and like the second wicket stand, that was the case here, but not before they saw Nevis to 100 off just 9 overs.
Morton hit 36 off 29 deliveries, which included three fours and a six, but five runs after he was given out leg before to Meade; Simmonds hit straight to Baker on the long-off boundary at 151 for five. He made 37 runs off 30 balls, hitting four fours and a six.
At this stage, 200 runs seemed impossible, though Daynason Browne (22) and Akito Willett (13 not out), towards the end, gave it their best shot.
McPherson Meade was the best bowler with 2-22.
In reply, Montserrat got off to a shaky start, losing Lionel Baker (zero), bowled in the first over by Ian Byron, who was playing his first game at this level.
They slipped further in trouble when captain Davon Williams, who the previous over hit Byron for six, was caught and bowled by Trevier Smithen for 14 at 28 for two.
Things got worst when they struggled to 59 or five. Semper (35) and Zhaun Sweeney (nine) added 27 for the sixth wicket, the best of the innings, but not even that could save them from crashing to a huge defeat.
Ian Byron took 3-21. Trevier Smithen with 2-15 and Akito Willett 2-11 were also among the wickets.
Nevis Pro Team's captain Joel Simmonds said they won the game from Stanford Legend Lance Gibbs shouted "Nevis and Montserrat, lets get it on", which is the customary style of signalling for play to start.
"I think we beat them from the get go, because we started batting aggressively and right away we set them back," said Simmonds.
Montserrat's captain Davon Williams agreed that they were beaten from the start. "Our bowlers were not bowling the proper line and length and they (Nevis) got off to a fast start and that cost us the game....we pulled them back a bit, but that was too late," he explained.