CAPE TOWN – West Indies Over-50s middle- order batsman Azad Mohammed hit a fluent century against Canada on Sunday in round three of the Over-50s Cricket World Cup at Western Province Cricket Club just before tournament organisers pulled the curtains on the 12-team show piece due to the threat of coronavirus.
Speaking to the teams and members of the public at the completion of West Indies’ innings, Chairman of the tournament Stirling Hamman said “a decision was made with consultations from four specialist doctors in South Africa to suspend the Over-50s Cricket World Cup with immediate effect and to urge teams to return to their respective homes as soon as possible.
This is due to the rapidly spreading corona virus in South Africa and around the world. It is unfortunate but it is the best decision at this time.”
Prior to the news of the suspension West Indies and Canada were in the middle of a key group A fixture with the Caribbean side opting to bat first. After losing their first two matches in their first such tournament, West Indies were desperate for an improved showing especially with the bat and they got it.
Mohammed walked to the crease with his team tottering at 40-3 in the 11th over and immediately went to work. His first assignment was to repair the innings after the top order was blown for the third consecutive time. After the stability, the right handed batsman then launched an assault to see West Indies to 243-7 from their 45 overs.
Earlier, West Indies lost openers Narine Bishesi (2) at 4-1 and Ishwar Maraj (15) at 30-2 followed by Julian Charles (7) at 40-3 and were desperate for a partnership against the fired up Canadians.
Mohammed popularly called ‘Parlour Boy’ got to his first 50 from 57 balls with 7 fours and while at the crease saw the fall of Sudesh Dhaniram LBW for the third consecutive time for 20 and Rajendra Sadeo for 10 but he kept going and found the perfect partner in Roy Singh.
Singh picked the gaps to rotate the strike nicely and hit 6 boundaries of his own as he grew in confidence. However, as he was approaching his half century he was bowled for 44 leaving Mohammed at the other end on 93 not out ending the 113-run partnership for the sixth wicket with 15 balls still available.
Mohammed kept going and moved from 94 to 100 with a massive six over long on before Puvi Ravishankar (2/38) cleaned him up. The Trinidadian faced 97 balls hitting 15 fours and a six to put West Indies on the verge of a massive win before the disappointing news broke.
New ball bowler Naveed Serai with 3/29 was the pick of the bowlers with his accurate seamers while Vince Correia (1/45) and David Mohammed (1/46) supported.
Tournament directors will convene a meeting as soon as the threat of the deadly virus subsides to determine the way forward, as was confirmed by Hamman.