Carter, Richards put Barbados in final
Barbados 154 for 4 (Carter 54, Richards 40, Santokie 2-12) beat Jamaica 153 for 9 (Hyatt 89) by six wickets
Danza Hyatt blazed away with the bat to lift Jamaica to a respectable score, but on a day when most of his team-mates were off colour it was not enough to deny Barbados an easy path to the finals. Jonathan Carter and Dale Richards complemented their side's efficient bowling display as Barbados sealed victory by six wickets.
For the most part of the match, Jamaica just did not seem interested in making a statement. After winning the toss, they batted without intent on a good track, and Barbados maintained control by just sticking to the basics. They were not hampered by the late withdrawal of Kemar Roach who took a hit on the head during practice, while Jamaica gained little from Chris Gayle's return from a groin strain.
In the third over, Gayle top-edged a pull off Javon Searles for Jonathan Carter to complete a smart catch running back from square-leg. With the wicket spicing up at sundown, Dwayne Smith got the ball to deviate off the seam and Xavier Marshall was done in by one that moved in to take out leg stump. Jamaica had lost their best batsman and their in-form batsman, but even so the timidity that followed was inexplicable.
Ryan Hinds combined with Smith to choke the innings as Marlon Samuels settled into a listless crawl. The bowling was steady at best and there was no need for anything more as the batsmen rarely hustled for runs. Only 30 runs came in the next seven overs before a marginal lbw decision sent Samuels back. It proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Jamaicans. Hyatt had by now settled in well and shifted gears in the 14th over. Larry Babb slanted a couple of half-volleys across Hyatt who freed his arms to launch them straight for sixes. He then trained his guns on Sulieman Benn whose strategy of firing them full into the blockhole came apart in the 16th over. Hyatt drove for four through long-on and dispatched two sixes over cow corner to bring up his fifty, and the tide began to turn finally.
Searles was the next bowler to suffer at Hyatt's hands: two pulled sixes over midwicket, two fours drilled through long-off and an inside edge past the fine-leg boundary brought up 27 runs in the 18th over and Jamaica were suddenly eyeing a decent total. Hyatt had enough in the tank to bash a beamer from Ashley Nurse behind square-leg for six more before lofting Babb to long-off to end his fireworks. With his exit, Jamaica once again contrived to lose momentum, losing five wickets off the last ten deliveries to finish with 153. That they could not manage a better score inspite of Hyatt's brilliance highlighted their ineptitude. More of the same was to follow on the field.
Jamaica had to keep things tight in the Powerplay overs to make a match out of their middling score, but Dale Richards had other plans. In the second over, he laced into Andre Russell's pedestrian lengths, pulling and slicing for three boundaries when he dropped short and driving down the ground for one more when he over-pitched. Dave Bernard bowled with far more control and induced Kirk Edwards to spoon a catch to mid-off in the third over, but the buffet continued unabated at the other end. Gayle served a long hop and a half-volley in the next over, both of which Richards duly dispatched for boundaries.
Jamaica's uninspired day was not helped by Tamar Lambert's defensive captaincy: despite the urgent need for wickets, he did not bring his form bowler Krishmar Santokie on immediately. He instead came on himself in the fifth over and conceded 18 runs as Richards feasted on a no-ball and the free-hit that followed. Within five overs, Jamaica had managed to undo the good work Hyatt had done with the bat.
Nikita Miller had Richards stumped with his first delivery and Barbados decided to step off the throttle for a while, a luxury they could now easily afford. Santokie and Miller could not break through as Alcindo Holder and Carter played themselves in. Just as the required-rate began to rise, Carter targeted the weakest link in Jamaica's attack. Russell could do little as 21 runs were plundered in the 14th over, putting Barbados well in command. Santokie refused to give up and dismissed both batsmen off consecutive balls, but Carter had done enough damage during his fifty to ensure a smooth finish.
Ryan Hinds and Smith sealed the deal without fuss and like in the first semi-final, the best individual performance of the game was in defeat. More crucially, on both occasions, the better all-round team had prevailed. Jamaica will have to raise their game considerably to put it past Trinidad and Tobago in the third-place play-off, while Barbados and Guyana look evenly matched for the title and a spot in September's Champions League.