The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force have some work ahead of them if they are to end the 2022 West Indies Championship on a winning note. Today, they closed Day One against the Guyana Harpy Eagles on a modest 203 for 9 at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
Red Force captain Imran Khan won the toss and opted to bat. And, remarkably, the hosts were 170 for 2 at one point—with opener Jeremy Solozano and Jason Mohammed at the crease.
In a flash, though, the score was 189 for 7 and Guyana were in the driver’s seat.
By the close of play, Guyana had snagged seven more wickets for just 25 runs, with last pair Terrance Hinds (9* off 26 balls) and Shannon Gabriel (4* off 7) at the crease.
Guyana captain Leon Johnson, who had promised before the start of the game to target the ‘weakness’ in the Trinidad and Tobago batting, said he was never unduly worried.
“Solozano and Mohammed played pretty well on a flat wicket but we were patient and we reaped the rewards,” Johnson told Wired868. “I wasn’t really concerned [at 170 for 2] because it is a very good batting track and we didn’t allow them to score freely—the run rate was about two per over.
“[…] We felt once we could stifle the run rate and then pick up a few wickets, we could get back on top.”
Solozano’s 72 came off 252 deliveries, while Jason Mohammed needed 140 balls to get to 68. Of the remaining batsmen, only Isaiah Rajah, who replaced Darren Bravo at number three, made double figures, contributing 26 from 56 deliveries.
Pacer Keemo Paul did the damage for the Guyanese with 5/41, which included the wickets of Keagan Simmons, Joshua Da Silva and opposing captain Imran Khan. Left-arm finger-Spinner Gudakesh Motie claimed the scalps of the left-handed pair of Solozano and Yannic Cariah.
“In four-day cricket, at times you have to play the patient game,” said Johnson. “[…] We got a false shot out of Mohammed and that opened the floodgates… We tried to get among them early and I think the day started well. We got a couple wickets in the first session.
“[…] Solozano and Mohammed played well on a relatively easy-paced pitch. But the other batters succumbed to some pressure—not taking anything away from our bowlers who bowled pretty well.”
Over at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex, defending champions Barbados Pride trail by 84 runs but will be pleased with their Day One work, as they bowled out the Windward Islands Volcanoes for 203 in 62 overs and then got to 109 for 1 by the close.
Raymon Reifer is unbeaten on 56 (off 54 balls) while captain and opener Kraigg Brathwaite is still there with 39 (off 83). If Barbados win, they will retain the regional four-day crown and there is no sign yet of complacency against the table-proppers.
The Leeward Islands Hurricanes, currently in second, need a win over the Jamaica Scorpions to remain in contention. But for them, Day One at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba brought mixed fortunes.
Their off-spinning skipper Rahkeem Cornwall called right at the toss and inserted the Jamaicans.
The first 11 overs went like a dream for the Hurricanes too, with Jamaica rocking on 10 for 3 with captain John Campbell (2 off 36) and West Indies Test vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood (3 off 4) already back in the pavilion.
However, 30-year-old Paul Palmer played the innings of his career so far with an unbeaten 144 (off 233 balls) to help Jamaica rally to 302 all out by the close of play.
Palmer got good support from from lower-order batsman Jamie Merchant, who struck 55 off 58 balls.
Tomorrow, the Leewards will try to find an appropriate response. Kieran Powell and Devon Thomas have been in good form for them and they will doubtless be looking to end the season with innings to remember.
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: 203 for 9 (90 overs) (Jeremy Solozano 72, Jason Mohammed 68, Isaiah Rajah 26; Keemo Paul 5/41, Gudakesh Motie 2/35)
Trinidad and Tobago won the toss.
Windward Islands Volcanoes: 203 all out (62 overs) (Teddy Bishop 44, Larry Edwards 37; Ramon Simmonds 3/25, Roston Chase 3/46)
Barbados Pride: 109 for 1 (24 overs) (Raymon Reifer 56*, Kraigg Brathwaite 39*; Ryan John 1/14)
Windward Islands won the toss. Barbados trail by 94 runs.
Jamaica Scorpions: 302 all out (80 overs) (Paul Palmer 144*, Jamie Merchant 55, Aldane Thomas 31; Sheeno Berridge 2/29, Colin Archibald 2/64, Rahkeem Cornwall 2/103)
Leewards Islands won the toss.