NOT long after a call-up to play international cricket, all-rounder Keemo Paul showed he was ready for the step up, leading West Indies-A to an unlikely victory over England Lions.
The former Under-19 champion came in to bat at No.9, with his team on the ropes at 153 for 7 and in danger of not lasting the full 50 overs. Paul made 55 off 40 deliveries as an outrageous tail-end partnership – 97 runs in only 77 balls with Raymon Reifer – took the hosts to 252 for 9.
The target was still not very daunting and the Lions would have felt so ahead of the game, cruising to 173 for 4 in the 40th over.
But then came a match-defining collapse. The captain Keaton Jennings’ wicket started it all, caught and bowled for 33. All-rounder Sam Curran followed for 26.
And the tail folded soon after, 26 runs short of their target, not even batting their full quota. Paul ended his big day with 3 for 55 having opened the bowling, and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican was equally effective, picking up 3 for 41.
England in the end were left to rue 10 overs of play that undid some excellent work after they had lost the toss. Curran and Richard Gleeson were excellent with the new ball, collecting six wickets between them for only 93 runs.
In the face of their discipline, only one West Indies-A batsman from the top six made a score more than 16. Jermaine Blackwood, who usually likes to have a go at the ball, made 53 off 75, while he searched desperately for support at the other end.
He did not find it while he was at the crease, but his wicket brought Paul into the game, who basically bossed it from there. (ESPN Cricinfo)
K. Powell c wkp. Davies b Curran 10
D. Thomas c Coughlin b Gleeson 8
J. Blackwood c Jennings b Curran 53
R. Chase c wkp. Davies b Gleeson 16
A. McCarthy c Curran b Parkinson 11
R. Cornwall lbw b Bess 8
J. Warrican not out 0
J. Hamilton stp. Davies b Parkinson 35
R. Reifer not out 45
K. Paul b Gleeson 55
O. Smith b Curran 2
Extras: (lb-5, w-7, nb-1) 13
Total: (9 wkts, 50 overs) 256
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-22, 3-38, 4-67, 5-78, 6-148, 7-153, 8-250, 9-256.
Bowling: Gleeson 10-1-52-3, Curran 10-1-41-3, Coughlin 7-0-43-0, Parkinson 10-0-44-2, Bess 9-0-43-1, Critchley 2-0-16-0, Jennings 2-0-12-0.
N. Gubbins c Thomas b Reifer 9
A. Davies b Chase 38
S. Hain c wkp. Hamilton b Paul 21
S. Northeast b Warrican 34
K. Jennings c & b Chase 33
S. Curran b Smith 26
P. Coughlin b Warrican 9
M. Critchley c Powell b Paul 20
D. Bess c Powell b Warrican 19
R. Gleeson c Cornwall b Paul 1
M. Parkinson not out 1
Extras: (b-5, lb-4, w-6, nb-5) 20
Total: (all out, 48.4 overs) 231
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-47, 3-99, 4-115, 5-173, 6-175, 7-185, 8-219.
Bowling: Reifer 5-1-26-1, Paul 9.4-1-54-3, Smith 7-0-34-1, Cornwall 7-0-26-0, Warrican 10-1-41-1, Chase 10-0-42-2.