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Smoke fails to stop Nagico start
Toxic smoke in and around Port-of-Spain failed to stop the opening of the regional first class season yesterday as the Nagico Super 50 series bowled off at the Queen’s Park Oval, with Jamaica and the Windward Islands meeting.
Up to press time, Jamaica appeared on the road to victory after Andrew McCarthy and Tamar Lambert both hit half centuries to guide them to 282 for four wickets.
The Windwards were in trouble at press time, losing Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher before reaching 100 runs.
President of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath was a proud man, noting that the nothing was likely to stop the ‘Carnival of Cricket’, as the tournament is being dubbed.
Perched at the top of the Carib Beer Stand, Bassarath, who is also chairman of the regional matches committee said: “At the moment from my vantage point I am not seeing any smoke. We have no problems with any smoke at the Oval and we are going ahead with the cricket.”
On Wednesday, schools and some business places in and around Port-of-Spain closed their doors and sent their workers home early, as they cited the polluted air as being dangerous. Bassarath however had a different take on the matter.
“People in this country are too lazy and they look for every excuse to leave work and go home and lime. This attitude sometimes sickens me because we need to be a more progressive and industrious country.
“I want to tell all those who left work early to come down to the Queen’s Park Oval and look at the cricket. There is no smoke here, so you will be safe, so come down and support something that is good.”
Bassarath said the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), as well as the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) have not received any complaints or concerns from any of the managers, or players of any of the teams and cricket will go on as planned.
Earlier, Jamaica needed some stability and got it from the durable Lambert and the exciting McCarthy, after they were 32 for three.
After Mervin Matthews had removed openers Horace Miller (9), John Campbell (16) and Nkrumah Bonner (1) in his first spell, it looked like the normal story in regional cricket—runs at a premium.
However, Lambert and McCarthy settled down for the long haul and after a period of cautious batting, they blossomed nicely to thrill the small crowd on hand.
The others did not take cue from pacer Matthews who used the conditions to great effect. In addition to bowling an immaculate line and length he employed clever use of change of pace and the Jamaicans were all at sea. When he came off the runs started to flow and Lambert and McCarthy combined to add 179 runs for the fourth wicket.
However, just as both were closing in on well deserved centuries, Lambert fell for 88. He faced 99 balls, striking a six and ten fours.
As is the case with lengthy partnerships, when one goes the other follows and this was the case soon after as McCarthy left for 93 off 124 balls with two sixes and ten fours.
Towards the end of the innings Andre Russell (28) and Carlton Baugh (28) threw caution to the wind and the Jamaicans ended with their excellent score.
Jamaica vs Windwards
H Miller c Smith b Matthew 9
J Campbell c Theophille b Matthew 16
N Bonner c Fletcher b Matthew 1
T Lambert c Fletcher b Johnson 88
A McCarthy c Emmanuel b Mathurin 93
A Russell not out 28
C Baugh not out 28
Extras 3nb, 14w, 2lb 19
Total for 5 wkts (50ovs) 282
Fall of wkts: 11, 28, 32, 211, 232.
Bowling: D Johnson 10-2-47-1, M Matthews 8.1-2-33-3, K Peters 10-1-66-0, G Mathurin 9.5-0-67-1, L Sebastien 10-0-53-0, J Charles 2-0-14-0.