They say catches win matches and Shawn Findlay was the embodiment of that saying on Sunday taking two brilliant catches as Jamaica won their first regional limited overs championship since 1999 when they defeated Trinidad and Tobago by 28 runs at the 3 Ws’ Oval, Cave Hill, Barbados.
For good measure Findlay also threw in a spectacular run out.
Asked to take first strike on a wicket that was offering some help to the fast bowlers, Jamaica reached 230 all out from their 50 overs thanks mainly to a patient innings of 52 from opener Brenton Parchment and some big hitting by the lower order batsmen.
The innings was off to a flyer. Skipper Chris Gayle and Parchment posted 39 for the first wicket in eight overs before Gayle, who had earlier struck two successive deliveries from Ravi Rampaul down the ground and through extra cover with disdain and pulled Merv Dillon over a wide mid-wicket for six, lost his wicket as he attempted to repeat the shot off Dillon but picked out Sammy Badree at a short mid-wicket.
Gayle made 18 from 20 balls and struck two fours and a six.
In strode the inform Findlay who has been amongst the runs for Jamaica in the competition, but the Trinidadians did not give him a chance to showcase his talent as he was bowled by Sherwin Ganga for five attempting to drive a delivery which spun back from outside off-stump.
Australia-born Brendon Nash and Parchment then added 49 for the fourth wicket before Nash, who was struggling to get the ball away and took 13 balls to get off the mark, was bowled by Badree as he too went for an expansive drive and played all around the ball. He faced 37 balls for his 15 runs.
Parchment duly reached his 50, facing 59 balls and hitting four boundaries but soon succumbed for 52, bowled by Badree as he drove loosely and was beaten between bat and pad by a flighted delivery.
Jamaica were 98-4 off 24 covers and looked in danger of not making 150. But thanks to some gusty late order batting by Carlton Baugh (25), who was getting his first chance to do so in this competition, Nikita Miller (26), Danza Hyatt (28) and fast bowler Darren Powell (20) helped restore some respectability to the Jamaicans’ score.
They were all severe on the Trinidadian bowlers and took a liking to West Indies all rounder Dwayne Bravo, whom they belted around the small University of the West Indies (UWI) Oval as he went wicketless in his 10 overs that cost him 46 runs.
Powell showed that he was no rabbit with the bat when he struck Bravo over extra cover for six in the final over of the innings.
Sherwin Ganga 3-31 and Badree 3-36 were the most successful bowlers for Trinidad with Dillon claiming 2-48 and Rampaul 1-44.
In the Trinidadians’ reply, openers Mario Belcon and Lendl Simmons ran purposefully between the wickets whilst contending with some fiery fast bowling from Powell and Taylor.
Simmons came into his own with an exquisite extra cover drive off Powell which sped to the boundary but Belcon, who was struggling to cope with the pace of the Jamaican duo, who were bowling a nagging line and length, fell lbw to Taylor for seven. He faced 20 balls during his partnership with Simmons that brought 36 runs.
Skipper Darren Ganga was greeted with a ferocious bouncer by Taylor first ball and was the target of short balls around the mid riff area by the Jamaicans. It was a short ball that brought his undoing as he attempted to hit one from Taylor but only succeeded in getting his glove onto the ball and Baugh took a running catch at a short third man.
New batsman Bravo soon followed his captain back into the pavilion, lbw first ball to Powell and suddenly the boys from the twin-island republic were 36-3 in 10 overs against a fired-up Jamaica attack.
Kieron Pollard and Simmons eased the pressure somewhat with the former square driving Andrew Richardson through point and then through the covers for back-to-back boundaries. He then greeted Nash’s first delivery of the match with another superb drive through the backward point region for another four to draw shouts of joy from the Trinidadians on and off the field.
Simmons then joined the party by hitting Powell back down the ground for four but after posting 43 runs in 12 overs, Pollard fell courtesy of a spectacular catch by Findlay that would have surely brought him US$25,000.00 in a Stanford Twenty/20 competition.
Pollard had struck Nash hard and high to a wide long on and the ball seemed destined for a spot somewhere in the crowd, but Findlay made up for his dismal performance with the bat by leaping about six feet off the ground to his left to come up with the ball which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Pollard, who made 27 from 39 balls with three fours, had to reluctantly join his team mates on the bench leaving his team tottering on 79-4 in the 22nd over.
Simmons and Ramdin (48) then added a further 51 runs for the fifth wicket with Simmons reaching his 50. He faced 71 balls and struck three fours and a huge six over mid wicket off the bowling of Miller.
But Simmons was run out by Findlay attempting a risky single. He faced 87 balls and struck four fours and a six in his 64.
After his demise, no other batsman apart from Ramdin who faced 67 balls for his 48, hitting one four and a six off the hapless Miller tried to get their team past the seemingly meagre score of 230 made by the Jamaicans. Gayle took 3-32 whilst Taylor, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match ended with 3-37 from his ten overs.