Zach gave Cayman the edge

The Challenge Cup T20 cricket final pitted a young, well-drilled Cayman Islands side against the cavalier style of a Jamaican ex-pats team.

On paper it looked like a close match but in the event the Caymanians won comfortably, by 42 runs.

Cayman went in first at the Smith Road Oval on Sunday with openers Zachary McLaughlin and Kervin Ebanks giving them a solid start.

McLaughlin hit 45 and Ebanks – better known as a fast bowler – scored 39. In came Omar Willis, their wicket-keeper, and he too played a controlled, steady innings to notch 40.

Cayman scored 148-4 from their 20 overs, a reasonable score considering the quality of the Jamaican bowling that included Kanute Tulloch and skipper Conroy Wright.

Jamaica never really got into a rhythm and wickets went cheaply as batsmen slashed for boundaries.

They had a glimmer of hope when Garth Bryan (19) and Wright (20) were lashing out but apart from them everybody else went quickly. Jamaica scored 106.

McLaughlin also took 3 for 19 so topped all stats for Cayman. Theo Cuffy, technical director of cricket here, is pleased that the youngsters he and coach Andy Myles have groomed over the 16 years he has worked here since arriving from Trinidad, are now maturing.

“I expected Cayman to win but didn’t expect it to be of that magnitude,” Cuffy said. “A 42 run defeat is a big one in T20.

“All these boys have been in constant training for the team even though it is off season. It is extremely pleasing to see how well they stepped up.

“Zach, Kervin and Omar have been the most dedicated in training and the results were there to be seen.

“The difference in the two teams was how well Cayman could play against all bowling, both fast and spin.

“Jamaica could not adapt so well to the fast, particularly by Marlon Bryan and Kervin. Marlon didn’t take a wicket but he was outstanding.”

The Cayman side is in training for an ICC Americas T20 in the US in March.

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