Destructive bursts from their Captain Nyeem Young and hometown pace bowling prospect Kelvin Pitman set up West Indies Academy for a seven-wicket win against Team Headley in the opening match of the Headley-Weekes Tri-Series on Friday in Antigua.
Young was the pick of the Academy bowlers with three for 17 from 10 overs, and Pitman supported with three for 27 from seven overs — and Team Headley were bowled out for 122 in their second innings on the third day of the four-day, first-class match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Justin Greaves led the way for Team Headley with 30 not out, Akeem Jordan made 28, and Test left-handed opener Kieran Powell got 20 — but an inexplicable batting collapse that has become endemic in West Indies cricket returned to undermine their side and leave the Academy to chase 59 to win.
Barbados Pride off-spinner Chaim Holder scalped three for 22 from eight overs to add a bit of drama to the chase, but Trinidad & Tobago Red Force opener Keagan Simmons ushered the Academy over the finish line about 20 minutes after tea with 31 not out.
The result meant the Academy ended the match with a haul of 18 points and put them in a favourable position to strongly challenge for the title in the three-team tournament that also features Team Weekes led by Windward Islands Volcanoes Captain Alick Athanaze.
Team Headley finished with only five points, and they will hope that Team Weekes can slow the roll of the Academy when those two sides meet in the second match of the tournament, starting next Wednesday at the same venue.
Team Headley started the day on 27 for one, and ran into immediate trouble, slumping to 61 for six inside the first hour with Young and Pitman carving up their top order.
Young bowled Windward Islands Volcanoes pair of makeshift opener Sunil Ambris 12 and Kavem Hodge for eight in the span of 25 balls in the first half-hour.
Pitman tightened the grip of the Academy when he got Volcanoes wicketkeeper-batsman Tevyn Walcott caught behind, bowled Team Headley captain and West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva for three, and got Powell caught behind all in successive overs.
Jordan came to the crease and shared 50 with Greaves to get Team Headley past 100, but Barbadian left-arm spinner Joshua Bishop finished with two for 18 from 12 overs to bring a swift end to the resistance.
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