A King’s Performance

Master Class From West Indies Captain Sets Up Opening T20 Win Against South Africa

Source: Jamaica Gleaner
THE WEST Indies, on the back of some enterprising batting from captain Brandon King and a workmanlike effort with the ball, set up a 28-run win over the touring South Africans in their opening T20 clash at Sabina Park yesterday.

King put his money where his mouth was after professing that his role at the top would have been crucial, landing a man-of-the-match performance to record a half-century and lead the home side to 175 for eight before restricting the visitors to 147 with one ball to spare.

After being sent in, the home side got off to a frantic start with King and Johnson Charles adding 36 quick runs for the opening wicket before the latter got caught off debutant Ottniel Baartman for just one.

The right-handed King had mentioned that home conditions would play a key role, and he used it to perfection to rattle off a quickfire 79 off just 45 balls with six fours and six sixes.

When King went caught off medium pacer Adile Phehlukwayo, the West Indies had 115 runs on the board in the 11th over, but the innings stuttered after that.

Kyle Mayers watched Kings’ innings for the most part but, when it was his turn to step on the gas, he got to 34 off 25 balls with one four and three sixes before he held out off Gerald Coetzee.

Roston Chase ensured the home side had a decent total on the board with 32 not out off 30 balls, but it was Baartman and Phehlukwayo with three wickets each that put the skids on the innings.

The par score of 175 was always going to be touch and go and, when opener Quinton de Kock hit the first ball of the innings down the ground off Matthew Ford for four, the home fans knew the contest was on.

With the very next delivery, Ford found de Kock’s edge, eliciting a rapturous response from the cricket-starved Sabina crowd.

The cheers had hardly died down when Chase removed the other debutant, Ryan Rickleton, stumped for six at 11 for two in the second over.

Opener Reeza Hendricks then decided that he wanted in on the act, chalking up a brilliant 87 off 51 balls with six fours and six sixes.

Though wickets tumbled around him at regular intervals, his knock almost did the trick for the Proteas, the right-hander batting right to the final over before he fell to Forde with two balls left in the innings.

Forde would finish with figures of three for 27 while spinner Gudakesh Motie ended with similar figures of three for 25.

Debutant speedster Shamar Joseph finished with one wicket from three overs which cost 20.
King was pleased that he was able to put in a player-of-the-match performance, as well as to get off to a winning start in the three-match series.

“I had the advantage of knowing the conditions, as this is my home. I know that the easiest time to bat is when the ball is new, so you have to try and get the most runs at the beginning because it is difficult to score runs in the back end. Yes, I am happy with my performance but the most important thing is the win.”

“King played an unbelievable knock but our bowlers brought it back nicely. The conditions changed a lot when we batted, and that put us on the back foot as they picked up wickets continuously and we could not get going and build partnerships.”

The teams will go at it again in the second T20 at the same venue on Saturday.

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