Listening to the news this week and speaking to former players the common consensus was that it was the bowlers who are to blame for Jamaica’s surprising loss to Guyana in the playoffs of the recently concluded Caribbean T20 competition. The bowlers were unable to defend what should have been a winning total of 183 for 6 off 20 overs and as a result Jamaica lost an opportunity to take on two-time defending champions Trinidad in the finals.
As it was Guyana were no match for the champions and were summarily disposed of. It was such an easy run for Trinidad that Lendl Simmons was laughing his head off half the time as Trinidad chased 117 to win. It was like taking candy from a baby, the Trinidad win.
Meanwhile, Jamaica was left licking its wounds at yet another failure at the T20 game, unable to even get to the finals. The blame has been heaped on the bowlers and that’s that, but I beg to differ. Yes, the bowlers may not have brought their A game to the match against Guyana but had the batsmen performed Guyana, in my opinion, would have come up short.
Lets look at Jamaica’s scores in the competition leading up to that match. 72 against Barbados, 116 against the Windwards, 110 against the Leewards, and 94 for 5 off 18.1 overs against Guyana. The highest score by a Jamaican batsman up to that point was 44 by Danza Hyatt in the match against the Windwards – 44 out of 116.
For the last two games Chris Gayle, easily the best T20 batsman in the world came in to replace an injured Andrew McClarty and while the scoring improved Jamaica’s batsmen did not. Chasing 151 to win against the Combined Colleges and Campuses Jamaica made 151 for 3 off 16.4 overs, a very good strike rate. However, Gayle, who had endured a very poor run during the Australian Big Bash during which he scored only one half century, feasted on the CCC bowling smashing 85 off just 44 balls. The remainder of the Jamaican batsmen meanwhile scored only 66 runs from the remaining 56 balls.
In the match Jamaica lost to Guyana Gayle smashed his unbeaten 122 off 61 balls, which means that the remainder of the batsmen scored 61 runs from the remaining 59 balls. Are you beginning to see the picture?
Lets break it down further. In that loss to Guyana Hyatt scored seven runs off 16 balls, a strike rate of less than 50 per cent. It gets worse. David Bernard Jr wasted 11 balls and didnt even bother the scorers. That 11 wasted balls. Yannick Elliot mustered six runs from nine balls. Had the middle bastmen managed a run a ball, just six runs an over from the balls they faced, Jamaica would have an an additional 23 runs to defend. Also, had Andre Russell, who came in and smashed a six and a four and lost his wicket on the third ball he faced, managed to stay at the crease and focused on rotating the strike to the man who had been at the crease for almost 17 overs at that time, who knows how many more runs Jamaica would have scored.
The bottom line is that except for Gayle, Jamaica’s batsmen underperformed during the tournament. Gayle’s brilliance only serve to mask what I believe to be an inability of the Jamaican batting line up to think quickly and execute under the intense pressure of the T20 format. They have issues with shot selection, the ability to score quickly and an inability to dominate bowling attacks.
Jamaica doesn’t play all that much T20 cricket so that may be the cause, but what ails Jamaica’s batsmen goes far beyond that.