By Neto Baptiste
The defending champions in the Cool & Smooth T20 Explosion, PIC Liberta Blackhawks, got off to a flying start in the 2022 edition of the tournament on Monday with a 90 runs victory over New Winthorpes Lions at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG).
Playing in Group A of the tournament, Blackhawks were led by Leeward Islands all-rounder Kofi James who slammed four fours and six sixes on his way to 77 off 42 balls, as the defending champs posted 198 for three in their 20 overs.
Opener Uri Smith contributed with 51 from 45 deliveries, hitting six fours and a six in the process while West Indies spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr made 36 off 24.
Lions were then restricted to just 108 for nine in their 20 overs with their best effort coming from Amir Jangoo who made 23. Walsh Jr led with the ball, claiming two wickets for 11 runs in four overs.
Captain of the Blackhawks team and West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall credited a balanced game for the comprehensive win.
“Kofi and Uri, I think those guys set up the game for us really well, so that players like Karima and Hayden could come and finish the game in the middle and in the back end, so I think it was a very good total on that pitch. We know we still have to come up with the ball in the right areas rather than thinking that we made 198 and we could just come and relax. So, we played the game and tried to finish it off in a certain way that in the back end we could relax and give youngsters opportunities to feel their way into the tournament,” he said.
Meanwhile, former champions Pigotts Crushers rebounded from a wobbly start to their chase to beat CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles by three wickets in Monday’s opening match.
Chasing 110, Crushers reached 111 for seven in 17 overs with Kadeem Henry batting through the innings to make 38 not out from 41 balls. He was assisted down the order by Gershum Phillip who made 21 not out from 21 deliveries.
Barbadian all-rounder Nyeem Young was the pick of the bowlers for Eagles with four for 16 in three overs.
Earlier, after winning the toss and opting to bat, Eagles were restricted to 110 for nine in their allotment of 20 overs. Young hit a top score of 52. Demari Benta was best on show with the ball for Crushers, claiming three wickets for 18 runs in four overs. Elroy Francis Jr and Stephan Matthew each bagged two wickets.
Henry said he decided to stay at the crease to see his team to the end after a number of key batsmen had gotten out.
“We got off to a pretty good start but at that point when we lost those three quick wickets back to back, I was saying to myself that basically I have to see it home, I have to bat as deep as possible to bring home the game because, based on how many of our premier batsmen who got out, I knew that if I got out we would have been in a serious spot of bother,” he said.
Following matches on Tuesday night, the tournament is slated to continue Thursday when New Winthorpes Lions play CUB Bethesda Golden Eagles at 4pm and Pigotts Crushers face PIC Liberta Blackhawks at 7pm.