‘I knew I had to stay out there’: James believes second innings knock was pivotal to Blackhawks’ success

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All-rounder Kofi James made 76 runs from 63 deliveries in the second innings to help push Blackhawks over the line in their chase of 140 for a three-wicket victory. (Photo by Johnny JnoBaptsite)
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By Neto Baptiste

PIC Liberta Blackhawks all-rounder Kofi James said he knew he had to play a major role in his team’s second innings against Empire Nation if they were to find success in the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA) Two Day Final on Sunday. 

James made 76 runs from 63 deliveries in the second innings to help push Blackhawks over the line in their chase of 140 for a three-wicket victory.

“I knew I had to stay out there and I knew we had to get to the runs. Surviving on the wicket would have been tough and you had to go and go after it because if you went out there and tried to defend, you were going to get out because the balls were keeping low. So, the 76 was a stability innings, just staying out there trying to get closer to the total,” he said.

Named player of the match, James said that after being bowled out for just 105 in the first innings, the players knew it would not have been an easy task.

“After restricting them for such a low total and chasing 140 plus, we were like ‘hey, we saw what happened in the first innings so we have to go out and bat properly because as long as we stay we will get the runs’. We already said since [Sunday] that we are going after the runs and honestly, the game was a very intense game. It was the sweetest victory I ever got for Liberta despite all the Cool & Smooth and all of the 40 overs,” he said. 

Meanwhile, coach of the Blackhawks team and former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin said he was never worried that his team had what it takes to get the job done, especially after both teams were bowled out on day one of the match.

“We looked at the Empire team … player by player, and we felt that the batting for Empire honestly, wasn’t really strong enough to bat a day against our bowling. We looked at the players that were there and we thought they would do two things, which are — they would either come and try to put runs on the board and probably they could out the Blackhawks again for under that, or they are going to try and bat the day which they did, which I thought was a very poor decision,” he said.

James also snatched five wickets for 59 runs in 19 overs in Empire’s first innings while claiming another six for 42 in just 19.5 overs.

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