Holder, Searles star in easy win for Barbados
Barbados 159 for 6 (Holder 46*, Emmanuel 3-14) beat Windward Islands 120 for 9 (Fletcher 33, Searles 4-19) by 39 runs
A stirring lower-order counterattack led by Alcindo Holder lifted Barbados to a challenging score of 159 and killed the fight in Windward Islands, who crashed to their second successive defeat in the Caribbean T20. Barbados went the other way, charting their second win in as many games to enter the semi-finals.
Windwards made a promising start to their chase with Johnson Charles crashing Kemar Roach for a six and a four in his opening over, but things unraveled quickly thereafter. Devon Smith cut Ryan Hinds straight to Dwayne Smith in the third over, and Charles, possibly disturbed by constant chatter from Sulieman Benn, was run-out attempting a tight single to cover.
Andre Fletcher continued to attack with his trademark whips to cow corner, picking 20 runs off six balls he faced either side of Charles' dismissal. Offspinner Ashley Nurse then wrested back the initiative, pinning Fletcher in front of the stumps for 33 off 17 balls and castling Liam Sebastien with a full delivery.
Darren Sammy tried to stay in the game with some risk-free cricket but once he perished, pulling the impressive debutant Javon Searles to square-leg, the asking rate began to go out of control. Searles continued to keep things tight, but the match as a contest fizzled out long before he picked the last of his four wickets.
It was not always so easy for Barbados whose innings seemed to have stalled on the starting line after they were asked to bat first. Jason Hinds, opening in his Twenty20 debut, was scratchy against the Windwards seamers and it was left to Dale Richards to generate the early push. He targeted left-arm spinner Gary Mathurin whose tight lines were interspersed with boundary balls. Craig Emmanuel who came on in the fifth over hit impressive lines and began with a maiden as Jason struggled to get bat on ball. In his second over, Emmanuel struck with his nagging length, getting Richards to miscue a pull to third man.
Spinners Sebastien and Rawl Lewis maintained pressure following the Powerplay period before Jason's listless innings ended in a mix-up in the eleventh over amidst cheers from his home crowd. Jonathan Carter dispatched Lewis for two sixes towards midwicket to reignite the innings, but fell attempting another heave off Shane Shillingford. In the meantime, Ryan Hinds lofted Nelon Pascal to long on and the innings seemed to be falling apart, but Alcindo Holder and Dwayne Smith had other plans.
Holder was reprieved early, eluding the grasp of a diving attempt in the outfield with a lofted cover drive. Smith served notice with two lusty swings off Shillingford over midwicket before Holder trained his guns on Pascal's hittable lengths. He smashed the first ball of the 17th over past long on for six, before pulling over midwicket, edging past the wicketkeeper and lofting over extra-cover as 19 runs were looted off the over. Butler was re-introduced to exert control, but he too was punished as Holder pinged long-on for six and point for four.
Emmanuel got the better of Dwayne despite conceding a six over fine leg, and finished off with the wicket of Carlo Morris caught smartly by Sebastien at long on. Holder stayed put till the end and hustled Lewis for another six over long on as Barbados plundered 104 runs off their last ten overs. They had been helped along by some poor fielding under pressure, and muddled thinking from Windwards, who failed to make full use of Emmanuel, their best bowler on the day. As it transpired, their batting effort was even worse, and the 39-run margin of defeat summarised the rift between the two sides perfectly.