West Indies batsmen squander yet another opportunity – Digicel T20 Report
Wherever they may be, Windies fans and admirers will have to wait another day for news that will allow them to breathe in relief and crack a smile. On Wednesday afternoon at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, the script was not been deviated from much.
Many international players have made hay against the Windies in recent times. It was South African Ryan McLaren’s turn in the First Digicel Twenty20.
The right arm medium fast bowler sliced through various parts of the West Indies batting and completed a five wicket haul costing 19 runs. He must be grateful for the assistance from the Windies batsmen as the South Africans sealed a convincing, but perhaps not entirely unpredictable, victory by 13 runs.
Both teams have been under fire after exiting the recently concluded ICC World Twenty20 Tournament at the Super Eight stage. The South Africans, who cannot seem to shrug off the ‘choker’ tag are on their way to some semblance of redemption. The Windies find themselves in all too familiar territory after another forgettable cricket match.
The visitors battled to post 136 for 7 from their 20 overs, then the Windies never threatened with any degree of seriousness as they were disposed of for 123 in 19.5 overs.
Jacques Kallis spent 45 balls accumulating 53. The veteran right hander’s most profitable scoring shots were three sixes and a boundary. At the top of the order Captain Graeme Smith made 37 from 31 with three fours and a six but only AB de Villiers was able to join them in double figures as the Windies bowlers delivered admirably and held the Proteas batsmen to what was, all things being equal, a modest target.
Kieron Pollard (2 for 22) and Kemar Roach (2 for 25) both delivered four overs each of quality bowling as the Windies utilized eight bowlers in total while Narsingh Deonarine’s off spin remained unused.
Chris Gayle started as Chris Gayle starts, smashing two fours in the first over bowled by spinner Roelof van der Merwe who was taken for 12 in his first over but who completed a three over spell which cost only 17 overall.
It was the South African spinners who combined to choke the Windies in the middle overs and the game took a crucial turn for the worse for the home side in the 10th when offie Johan Botha (2 for 19 from 4 overs) extracted two wickets – Dwayne Bravo for 20 and Narsingh Deonarine stumped off a leg side wide for a duck.
The domineering left handed Gayle had earlier faced the first two overs as his opening partner – Andre Fletcher – played the role of spectator. Fletcher’s abysmal form at the international level continued when he stabbed at his third delivery to McLaren and was caught behind by de Villiers without scoring.
Fletcher’s departure allowed Bravo to appear in the number three slot and he attempted to blitz his way into form after mis-firing with the bat for far too long. The right handed all rounder batted with the level of aplomb and fearlessness more noticeable in his bowling and fielding. It was good for 20 runs from 22 deliveries but he caved in to impetuosity when he aimed to clear the long on boundary and was caught just inside in the middle of that vital 10th over to leave the Windies stuttering at 48 for 3.
Missing ace batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul who, it was explained, was being inexplicably ‘rested’, the Windies needed contributions from all. Few were forthcoming.
Ramnaresh Sarwan labored for 20 balls in getting 13 and Kieron Pollard attempted to use his blitzkrieg style to rescue the Windies but wickets were running thin and when he perished at 88 for 6 in the 16th over for a top score of 27 the game was as good as over.
Darren Sammy swooshed and swiped at the end and connected to a few but missed most others. By then though the required runs from each delivery was mounting out of reach and tailenders were forming a busy procession to and fro.
When the formalities were completed it came as no surprise that former West Indies wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs opted to hand the Man of the Match prize of a Blackberry Bold 9700 to McLaren. He was thoroughly deserving of it based on his figures which were enhanced by the unavoidable ineptness of the local batsmen.
They will have another shot at redemption on Thursday afternoon before moving into the five match Digicel One Day International Series. There can be little complaint about lack of adequate opportunities. They shall abound in the coming weeks for there are three Digicel Tests to follow as well and excuses, like available Windies batsmen in every innings will run thinner and thinner as time passes.
Prior to the game, Gayle had appealed to his batsmen to stand up and be counted. It appears as though they are intent on achieving goals not pertaining to success on the cricket field. When their opportunities begin to wane they will have no one to blame but the man in the mirror.