Today’s (Feb 26, 2021) CG Insurance Super-50 Cup playoff to decide 5th and 6th places brings together Canada’s Nitish Kumar and his colleagues of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Barbados Pride at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. These two teams each registered one win and four losses in the round-robin phase. In the round robin game on Feb 10 Leeward Islands Hurricanes struck 305/6 from 49.3 overs to overtake Barbados Pride’s 301/8 (50 overs). It is the only game of the tournament, to date, to feature two totals in the 300’s. On Thursday (Feb 25), Guyana Amazons hit 305/7 then bowled out the Windward Islands Volcanoes for 210 (46.2 ov) in the second semi-final.
Some of the West Indies players involved in the recent Test series in Bangladesh have now replaced some of the original squad members for the Super50 Cup playoffs. Saturday’s Final will be between Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and Guyana Amazons. The Amazon’s winning total of 305/7 against the Windward Islands Volcanoes gained a mention in the opening paragraph. The Red Force passed Jamaica Scorpions semi-final tally of 255/7 with 256/4 after just 42.1 overs in Wednesday’s (Feb 24) first semi-final.
The Need – Batters to Score Runs Consistently
Barbados Pride and Guyana Amazons seem to have had more batters than most teams score consistently in reaching totals around the 250 mark. Trinidad and Tobago Red Pride’s top order batters have done well. But wins batting second against Jamaica Scorpions in the first semi-final (Feb 24), Guyana Amazons (Feb 20) and the Leeward Islands (Feb 17) when batting second came with several overs to spare. So some has meant many overs were not required had limited opportunities to bat.
Leeward Islands Hurricanes were bundled out for just 129 runs by the Red Pride who romped to 130/1 after 24.5 overs on February 17. The win coming just before the mid-innings mark. Red Pride bowled out the Guyana Amazons for 187 (Feb 20) and won with almost 10 overs to spare at 189/4 (40.2 ovs).
Barbados Pride provided a tough challenge to the T&T Red Force on Feb 15 in tight race similar to the Pride-Hurricanes encounter. The Red Force reached a winning 256/7 with just 5 balls to spare after Barbados Pride battled to 253/8 (50 overs). It was a slightly tighter finish than when Guyana Amazons reached the winning mark at 245/5 from 47.5 in the opening game of the tournament on Feb 12 in reply to Leeward Islands Hurricanes 244/9 (50 overs). Leon Johnson struck 102* and Christopher Barnwell 49 for the Amazons whilst the Hurricanes total was probably slightly disappointing after an opening stand of 152. Ross Powell was out for 61 then 10 runs later Kieron Powell was dismissed for 94 at 162/2 to end the 33rd over.
Hurricanes win against Barbados Pride on Feb 10 featured an unbeaten century from Keacy Carty (123*) and 41 from Nitish Kumar, but this duo combined for just 16 against the Amazons. But in the bigger picture to date, Nitish has scored runs on a much more consistent basis than not just Keacy Carty and the rest of his Hurricanes colleagues but most of the players in this tournament.
Nitish Kumar is currently fourth in the list of players with most runs in this year’s Super50 Cup with 233 runs from 5 completed innings. Ten players have scored over 200 in the tournament, so far. The top three run makers to date are Jason Mohammed (T&T Red Force 326 runs from 6 innings with 2 not outs); Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana Amazons 280 runs, 6 innings, 1 not out) and Evin Lewis T&T Red Force 261 runs, 6 innings).
The Leeward Islands Hurricanes will be aware going into today’s game to decide 5th and 6th places that three of the Barbados Pride batters have scored over 200 runs from 5 innings: Shamarh Brooks (225), Justin Greaves (220) and Jonathon Carter (205). Carter was not out in one of his knocks.
Nitish Kumar heads the five Leeward Islands Hurricanes who scored 100 or more runs in the round robin phase of the tournament. Nitish may have been disappointed not to make more than 51 in the last game against Jamaica Scorpions but there were some rain delays, one of which lasted a long time. Nitish did not seem to get back in the groove during a useful stand with captain Devon Thomas, who made 49 runs that carried Thomas to 110 runs for this tournament.
Keacy Carty has made 167 runs so far, most of them in his match winning knock of 123* against the Barbados Pride in the round-robin match. The opening stand against Jamaica Scorpions ensured Kieron Powell (94 v Scorpions, 166 total runs) and Ross Powell (61 v Scorpions, 139 total runs) broke the 100 run barrier for the tournament.
Today’s game is being played as a day game at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Let’s hope the rain stays away but, perhaps if there is a rain break or two the game may stretch out a little longer. The players want and need to be playing in order to prepare for various international events on the current ICC schedule but the reduction of just 3 overs after what had seemed a lengthy delay during the Hurricanes innings seemed a bit strange. I took a second look at the game and heard the commentary team mention the delay had lasted about an hour. Almost a new innings, I thought, rather than a resumption of an innings. But there are currently many challenges for the players living in bubbles during cricket tournaments in several places around the world.
Eddie Norfolk, Toronto, February 26, 2021