West Indies Under-19s stumbled at the ‘death’ and lost the second and final 50-over-a-side practice match against Sagicor West Indies High Performance Centre (HPC) by three runs at 3Ws Oval here today.

It gave the HPC a 2-0 series success and left the West Indies Under-19s to ponder on not only the strength of their batting but also their level of thinking on the eve of their departure to Bangladesh for seven 50-over matches against Bangladesh Under-19s as they prepare for the ICC Youth World Cup in the United Arab Emirates next February.

Having been comprehensively beaten by 97 runs in the first match on Thursday, Ramaal Lewis’ team had an excellent opportunity to level the series but they panicked in the dying stages and paid the price.

Chasing 172 to win in 50 overs, they needed 32 off the last five overs with five wickets in hand.

At the crease were Brandon King and fellow Jamaican Fabian Allen, who was soon bowled by off-spinner Dalton Polius for two to leave the score 142 for six after 45.3 overs.

It let in Lewis, one of five Jamaicans in the side and whose batting could do with some beefing up.

That 46th over from Polius cost just four runs.

Kyle Mayers, the Barbadian all-rounder, who bowls a lively right-arm medium-pace and bats left-handed, conceded ten runs off the 47th over.

It, therefore, came down to 18 runs off the last three overs, or in a nutshell, a run-a-ball.

Raymon Reifer, another all-rounder from Barbados, was recalled for the 48th over from the Ramadhin and Valentine end at the south, bowling left-arm medium-pace. Six runs were scored.

Six runs also came off the 49th over from Mayers and it meant that the West Indies Under-19s were on course for victory.

But when it mattered most, Lewis seemingly panicked against a smart Reifer. No runs were scored off the first two balls and a single was scampered off the third delivery.

King also took a single off the fourth ball, leaving his skipper to handle the pressure. But Lewis swung at the fifth and missed and repeated the stroke to be bowled off the very last for six.

King was unbeaten on 47, which took 85 balls and contained one four and one six as West Indies Under-19s ended on 168 for seven.

King’s 47 was the joint topscore with Nicholas Pooran, the adventurous wicket-keeper/batsman from Trinidad & Tobago, who in sharp contrast faced 49 balls and in typical style, lashed four sixes and one four at No. 3.

Tristan Coleman of Jamaica contributed 27 off 74 balls.

Polius took two for 26 off ten overs and Mayers, two for 39 off seven overs.

The HPC were bowled out for 171 in 49.1 overs after winning the toss.

Reifer topscored with 34 off 69 balls, while fellow left-hander Mayers made 32 off 47 deliveries with one boundary, and Shai Hope, 23.

Off-spinner Lewis and left-arm seamer Preston McSween each took three wickets for 22 and 29 runs respectively.

Barbadian opener Kraigg Brathwaite, called up by the West Indies selectors a week ago as a replacement for the injured Chris Gayle for the three-Test tour of New Zealand, again played but batted as low as No. 9 before falling for ten.

One wondered what could have been going through his mind. Instead of being in New Zealand or at least on his way to play what would be his 10th Test match starting on Tuesday (Monday evening Caribbean time), he was left wondering when his visa would arrive as news circulated that it could take ten to 15 days.

Who knows? At this baffling rate, Brathwaite might very well find himself celebrating his 21st birthday on Sunday with family and friends at home.

Perhaps West Indies Cricket Board president Dave Cameron needs to add this latest issue as a major topic on the agenda at the next meeting of Directors in St. Kitts on December 7. There are seemingly more questions than answers.


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