By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
With Mohamed Hassan going for a duck and Aaron Baker falling for two, Cavaliers, chasing Royal Knight’s 176 for 9, had a start that mirrored last year’s dismal playoffs performance versus Vincy, when they were bowled out for a paltry 63, before Drumor Tooney came in and stabilized the innings with 87 not out, to secure a five wickets victory, making 178 for 5.
“With Royal Knight’s 176, we knew we could have knocked if off in 16, 17 overs and we did it in 16.3 today,” captain Vishal Bharat noted. “But, we lost some crucial wickets up front with some bad shot selection. I had to build a partnership with Tooney, (18) then (Jagnarine) Persaud came in and played a good hand too.”
Persaud was caught by Kewsi St. Clair for 25 off the bowling of Anthony Slowley, who bagged 2 for 34. Reno Mitteholzer snatched 2 for 42.
After winning four consecutive championships, Bharat said his team hasn’t won the tournament in four years and they know that they have to start well. as they began their quest in what is hoped to be a return to supremacy.
“We did that today,” he said. “It was a good performance restricting them to 176, we’ll take that any day even though they got off in the last two overs and could have restricted them to under 150 and the batting did its work today.”
Royal Knights captain Richard Fredericks said they were below par in all departments. The batsmen they expected to perform like J Mickle who went lbw for seven and himself who was caught for nine, gave away their wickets cheaply.
Cavaliers’ Dhanpaul Chrisnanand plucked 3 for 29, Sukdeo “Vin” Rambarose, 2 for 42 and Baker, 2 for 35.
“The top five at the top, those are the senior guys and we were looking for someone to actually bat through and none of us did,” he noted., with Chrisnanand’s 38 the high score “The fielding also let us down.”
In preparing for the tournament, Fredericks said they are facing a major challenge with practice time as all 10 teams are using one field. He said many times there are five different teams on the pitch and as a team, they don’t get any team practice in. “It’s very difficult to get anything done,” he said.
Bahrat said they are taking the tournament one game at a time and trying to play better cricket. He noted that after last year’s BVICA tournament, they won the Peter Harycraft and the Dion “Ragga” Clarke tournament.
“We know we could play good cricket and we have a good team and we just have to play one game at a time and play well,” he said. “We have prepared well, better than we have in a few seasons and players have been more committed this year. We want this tournament badly after not winning it in four years.”
Last year’s finalist Grenada will make its season debut and face RTW at 10 a.m. on Sunday followed by Under The Tree and Vikings at 2.