Former West Indies wicket-keeper/batsman Andre Fletcher and medium-pacer Lionel Baker helped the Windwards Islands defeat the Leeward Islands by 151 runs in their final practice game before the start of the Regional Super50 tournament at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) Ground yesterday.
The Windwards, who won the previous encounter between the two sides on Saturday at the DCC ground by six wickets won the toss yesterday and elected to take first strike at the small Queenstown venue.
They slipped to 155 for 7 as the new ball pair of Baker and left-arm medium pacer Keon Peters ran through their top order.
Fletcher 70 (5×4, 3×6) at this stage was the only Windwards batsman making a significant contribution, until the lower order trio of Dalton Polius 40 (4×4, 1×6), Garey Mathurin 43 (2×4, 2×6) and Denis George 32 (4×4, 1×6) fought back as the Windwards posted 297 all out in 49 overs.
Baker, the only player for Montserrat to play for the West Indies, took 5/50, Peters 2/62 and St. Kitts left-arm spinner Jason Campbell making his first tour with the Leeward Islands, 2/47.
The Leewards, in reply, were never in the chase as they lost wickets at regular intervals en route to collapsing to 146 all out in 34 overs.
Montcin Hodge (26) and Steve Liburd (24) were the only batsmen to make significant contributions for the Leon Rodney-coached side.
Mathurin (who recently played a starring role in the West Indies Twenty20 international victory versus England in September), George and Polius, bowling left-arm spin and off-spin respectively, after their heroics with the bat earlier in the day, came back to be the key wicket-takers claiming figures of 2-16, 4-23 and 2-18 each.
Speaking to Stabroek Sport at the end of the game, veteran Windwards manager Lockhart Sebastian said:“We came here early to get some early practice on these slow Guyana wickets. We batted reasonably well in these two games while our bowling has not surprised me, since that was always going to be our strength. Overall we are satisfied by how things went in practice games and we are looking forward to the tournament.”
Due to the current West Indies tour to Bangladesh all the teams in some way will be missing players who have commitments on that tour. Leewards will be missing opener Kieran Powell for the entire tournament, but are expected to have leg-spinner Anthony Martin back from the limited-overs leg of that Bangladesh tour by their second game. The Windwards on the other hand, will be without regular captain Darren Sammy and off-spinner Shane Shillingford.
Windwards face hosts Guyana in Zone ‘A’ at Providence in the opening round tomorrow while Leewards face Jamaica also at Providence in their first round match on Thursday in a Zone ‘B’ clash.