GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Jamaica finally got a win in the WICB Regional Under-19 One-Day Championship, as middle-order batsman Brian Gayle hit an unbeaten century to guide them to a two-wicket victory with a ball to spare in a cliff-hanger yesterday.
Gayle, a strong right-hander made an even hundred as Jamaica scrambled home at 230 for eight off 49.5 overs to beat pre-game favourites Windward Islands at the Demerara Cricket Club.
Jamaica were replying to the 227 all out off 48.1 overs by the Windwards.
After winning the three-day tournament quite easily, Jamaica have found the going tough in the shorter version.
They lost their first three matches in the one-day tournament and were made to work hard for their first win.
On the flip side, the defeat dented the Windwards’ hopes of winning the title as their record now reads two wins and two defeats from four matches.
Batting at number four and entering at 40 for two, Gayle played with great ease and confidence off the front and back foot and counted 11 fours in his determined innings.
He reached the coveted landmark with a single in the final over and turned over the strike but Ragni Francis held his nerve and smashed the penultimate ball of the match through the covers for a sensational boundary as the Jamaicans earned the hard-fought victory.
With 10 overs left to play, Jamaica found themselves needing 57 runs to win with five wickets in hand but Gayle added 42 for the seventh wicket with Fabien Allen, who knocked a six and a four in 16 from 17 balls.
Earlier in the day, the Windwards posted a challenging target as three batsmen made more than 40 but none kicked on and the innings never got into overdrive.
Dwight Thomas was promoted to open and cracked 45 from 25 balls, adding 65 with skipper Kavem Hodge (40) for the second wicket.
Sunil Ambris played with his usual flair in making 40 from 39 balls, but became a wicket for Gayle, whose 10 overs cost just 30 runs.