The Clico Cayman 20/20 has moved into the business end of the tournament with the top four in both divisions set for the semi-finals.
It all unfolded over the weekend; in Division 2, the newly formed UCCI had a comfortable victory against Wellys/Cayman Doors. Kervin Ebanks (2 wickets) and Oscar Owen reduced Wellys/Cayman doors to first 3 wickets for 5 runs then 5 wickets for 19 runs. A small recovery from Miguel Palmer (25) took Wellys/Cayman Doors to 87 for 8. Ramon Sealy led UCCI to victory with a typical patient 33 runs.
A revived Greenies advanced to the semis crushing Pro Plus by 7 wickets. Having restricted Pro Plus to 136 with good bowling from Chris Troskie and David McGrath who took 3 wickets a piece, Matt Walker 52 and Steve Smith 46 blasted Greenies to victory.
Paramount caught everyone by surprise as they comprehensively defeated Police by 7 wickets. Having restricted Police to 125 for 9 wickets Deno McInnis 69 not out, and Michael ‘Junty’ Reid 34 combined well to reach the target.
Greenies 1 continued their good run by defeating front runners By Rite by 11 runs. Scott Cameron 38 and Paul Monico 26 set Greenies up to a respectable total of 145 for 7. Conroy Wright took 4 wickets. It was an uphill battle for By Rite with only Ainsley Hall 40 and Wright 34 getting amongst the runs. Andrew Ledger 3 wickets and Wrendon Timothy 2 wickets were the destroyers for Greenies.
In a low scoring fixture at the Jimmy Powell Oval, Prison eased pass Esso by 7 wickets on a good all round performance from captain Saheed Mohamed. Having first captured 2 wickets for 8 runs, Mohamed batted sensibly scoring 27 runs. Charlie Greaves got amongst the runs too with a good knock of 21.
Most surprising result was Esso losing to Prison as the former have a number of national players on their books. ‘With the addition of the new players to the Esso team it is expected that they should have been stronger,’ said technical director Theo Cuffy. ‘In both division of the Clico 20/20 it’s going to be very exciting. We have some much better cricket. A lot more thought is going into the cricket now. It’s not simply that some teams are way better than the others, there’s more equality. And that can only mean higher standards.’
Cricket commentator Fazeer Mohammed has criticized the Stanford 20/20 tournament, stating that the inaugural tournament in 2006 did not improve standards of West Indies Test cricket. Cuffy said: ‘Fazeer’s views of 20/20 will not help. He’s talking about all the hype and everything else that goes with it. But we must not miss the point that 20/20 is not the be all and end all of what we want.
‘What Stanford 20/20 is doing right now is bringing people back to the game. Bringing our youngsters back and advertising our countries and allowing sports tourism to be part of the tourism hype. It gives our youngsters an opportunity to be in a pro atmosphere and so develop their game.
‘And what we need to do as the West Indies Cricket Board is to take the best players that we see on display and groom them into Test players. So 20/20 now has a part to play in restoring our cricket. So Fazeer’s point of view and thinking only about the money being spent and the glamour and dancing, that’s great. That’s West Indies cricket any case. I think a lot of people are getting to know what is our cricket. And maybe this could be the turning point in bringing our youngsters back to it.
‘What we need now is for the Board to put a program in place to ensure all these young cricketers that we’re seeing – like the 20-year-old fast bowlers clocking 90mph – what are we going to do with them?’