Barbados Royals ended their home leg of this season’s Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a remarkable eight-wicket win over Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots at Kensington Oval yesterday evening.
The visitors won the toss and choosing to bat first on a flat wicket which was very conducive for batting, posted the highest total of this season: 220-4. In reply, Barbados won at a canter, finishing proceedings on 223-2 with eleven balls to spare.
T20 World Cup winner Openers Andre Fletcher and Englishman William Smeed got the winless Patriots off to a dream start as they ended the PowerPlay on 70-0. It took a full toss from Rahkeem Cornwall to break their 115 run partnership as Fletcher (56) holed out to a fielder in the deep. Smeed (63) was also dismissed by Cornwall who was set to have a bigger role in deciding proceedings. Captain Sherfane Rutherford would showcase his destructive abilities, scoring 65 runs in just 27 balls, his innings including five 6s, to allow the Patriots to reach a formidable 220/4 after 20 overs.
Barbados Royals had a strong start to their chase as well, hitting 67 runs in the first six overs despite the loss of Kyle Mayers. Buoyed by the crowd’s atmosphere and an early dropped chance, Cornwall smashed a devastating 45 ball century, his first in the competition. The knock featured four boundaries and 12 sixes, including one that bounced off the top of the Greenidge and Haynes stand and probably gave car insurers cause for concern. Buoyed by the recent criticism and the abject bowling performance, the big Antiguan had the Oval rocking as fans went delirious from his stroke play and celebrated his ton with a “bat drop” (akin to Joe Root’s vs India at Headingley on July 18th 2018) celebration.
Cornwall retired hurt soon afterwards on 102 runs from 48 deliveries but soaked in the applause from the fans in the 28,000-capacity stadium as he strode into the pavilion. Captain Rovman Powell and Thursday’s hero Alick Athanaze saw the Royals home. In doing so they achieved the highest run chase in the competition’s history and sent Barbadians home with a smile.
The “Biggest party in sport” heads to Trinidad & Tobago next with the first game down there being a tantalising clash between Trinbago Knight Riders and the unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors at Queen’s Park Oval later today.
Barbados Royals are next in action on Wednesday when they face the Knight Riders at Queen’s Park Oval. (JC)