Things you can trust more than the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force’s opening partnership at present: slight pepper from your local doubles vendor, MP Foster Cummings’ banking history, former senator Robert Sabga’s memory…
Red Force captain Imran Khan won the toss at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba this morning and opted to bat first in their all-important 2022 West Indies Championship assignment against the Barbados Pride. By the first drinks break, the hosts were already 33 for 3. By mid-afternoon, they had reached 133. All out.
In reply, Barbados closed the day on 87 for 2 and will resume tomorrow with Raymon Reifer (32*) and Jonathan Carter (19*) at the crease.
“[The pitch] looked a bit dry,” Khan told Wired868, explaining his first decision of the match. “I didn’t want to bat last on it on the fourth day so the team made the decision that if we won the toss, we would bat first.”
Eight balls was all the Red Force opening partnership managed to survive before Keagan Simmons lost his off-stump to fast bowler Akeem Jordan, who extracted appreciable movement away from the left-handers.
In chronological order, the contribution from Trinidad and Tobago’s opening partnerships in the 2022 competition so far have been 17, 34, 18, 0, 6 and, today, 3. And only twice have Trinidad and Tobago’s first four wickets contributed more than 100 runs, with wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva, batting at six, often finding himself in the role of firefighter.
Today, the number six batsman was summoned at 47 for 4 after pacer Justin Greaves bowled number three Darren Bravo behind his back. He scored eight runs off 50 deliveries.
“I wish I knew [what was wrong with the Red Force batsmen],” said Khan. “The guys have been putting in the work training-wise… We are just telling them to be themselves and play their natural game.
“[…] We have another innings and another game in the future. It is something we need to rectify as quickly as possible. We can’t go on losing our first wicket in the first 25 minutes…”
Coach David Furlonge slammed the indisciplined approach and poor shot selection of his specialist batsmen and said he had had a midday ‘chat’ with his top order.
“Some of it was cordial and some wasn’t so cordial. We had to tell them how it is,” said Furlonge. “Right now, we are not playing as a team of professional players, we are playing like an amateur team. The batsmen have to step up.”
As things stand, to get back on terms, the Red Force must take eight Barbadian wickets. The team, though, is without star pacer Jayden Seales as well as the menacing Anderson Phillip and spinner Akeal Hosein, all in Amsterdam with the West Indies white ball team.
However, the hosts did start well enough with the ball. Without suffering too much damage, the Red Force got the crucial scalp of Barbados and West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, currently the highest run getter in the competition.
Brathwaite had just six runs on the board when a beautiful delivery from medium pacer Terrance Hinds found the edge of his bat and to be snapped up behind by Da Silva. The leader of the Pride looked like he had seen a ghost.
Hinds also returned to see off Barbados’ other opener, Shayne Moseley, caught at short mid-wicket by Khan off a pull. Barbados were 34 for 2.
“We have to build some pressure and try to restrict the Barbadians to as low a score as possible,” said Khan, who top-scored for the Red Force with 29 off 49 balls. “Anything around 200 runs or not too much over that, we can fight with that and hopefully make it an interesting game going into the last day.”
Khan missed Trinidad and Tobago’s loss to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes on Saturday through Covid-19 and spent the past week in quarantine, doing personal exercise when he could muster the energy.
It was only last night that a negative test result came back, allowing him to join his teammates in time for today’s affair. He admitted that he is not 100% ready physically but he vowed to give it all that he has. As always,
“It was tough today physically,” said Khan, who bowled two maidens in his five overs of leg-breaks this evening for 14 runs, “but, mentally, I am ready to fight for the team in any way I can because that’s the kind of player I am.”
Furlonge is encouraged by the bowling so far, noting that they were going for just over two runs per over as opposed to double that figure at the same stage of the match against the Leeward Islands last week.
“The bowlers have been able to restrict the batsmen, so hopefully we can go tomorrow and bowl them out for as low a score as possible,” said Furlonge, “and then put in a better batting performance. Hopefully we can get a better start from our openers so we can put up a score of 350-plus.”
Elsewhere in Trinidad, both teams who won the toss and chose to bat were still at the crease at the close of play.
The Jamaica Scorpions did not have a straightforward outing against the Guyana Harpy Eagles’ spin trio of Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie and Kevin Sinclair at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex in Diego Martin.
However, an unbeaten century from number three batsman Jermaine Blackwood (110 off 251 balls) helped steer Jamaica to 282 for six after the day’s 90 overs.
Blackwood enjoyed a fifth-wicket partnership of 112 off 231 deliveries with Alwyn Williams (51 off 113) to see Jamaica largely undo the early work of Sinclair and Motie and end Day One in a strong position.
At the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, the Leeward Islands’ tail wagged vigorously against the Windward Islands Volcanoes as the former outfit inexplicably progressed from 179 for 9 to 301 without further loss by the close of play.
Colin Archibald did most of the scoring (104 off 97 ) although Daniel Doram (17 off 69) did his share of the work, the pair posting a 10th-wicket partnership of 144 from 145 deliveries so far.
In the process, Archibald and Doram eclipsed the previous last-wicket partnership tournament high mark, which was 124 by the Windward Islands duo of Preston McSween (86 off 103) and Shermon Lewis (31 off 111), set against Guyana on the first match day of this year’s competition.
The Trinidad and Tobago top order would kill for figures like that in the second innings. But their bowlers must find their way around a resolute Barbados team that have not scored less than 266 runs in any match this season thus far.
Here’s hoping Khan and his troops get a good night’s rest.
(At Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba)
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: 133 all out (54.2 overs) (Imran Khan 29, Terrance Hinds 25; Jomel Warrican 3/21, Akeem Jordan 2/17, Ramon Simmonds 2/24, Justin Greaves 2/26)
Barbados Pride: 87 for 2 (35 overs) (Raymon Reifer 32*, Shayne Moseley 24; Terrance Hinds 2/14)
T&T Red Force won the toss and lead by 46 runs.
(At Diego Martin Sporting Complex, Diego Martin)
Jamaica Scorpions: 282 for 6 (90 overs) (Jermaine Blackwood 110*, Alwyn Williams 51, John Campbell 37; Gudakesh Motie 2/39, Kevin Sinclair 2/74)
Jamaica won the toss.
(At Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain)
Leeward Islands Hurricanes: 301 for 9 (90 overs) (Colin Archibald 104*, Jahmar Hamilton 52, Terance Warde 30; Preston McSween 4/78, Kenneth Dember 2/77)
Leewards Islands won the toss.
Wired868 has provided readers with solid, independent journalism since 2012. If you appreciate our work, please contribute to our efforts.
Support Independent Journalism
I hope the West Indies selectors are paying attention because we are. (Comment edited)