Bridgetown, Barbados – Johnson Charles played a number of breathtaking strokes as Sagicor High Performance Centre beat Combined Campuses & Colleges Select XI in a one-sided Twenty20 match under lights on Wednesday night.
The powerful right-hander smashed five sixes and four fours in a whirlwind 56 not out off just 31 balls, as Sagicor HPC motored to 73-0 off 9.1 overs on a flat surface at 3Ws Oval.
Charles shared an unbroken stand with Jermaine Blackwood, who made 14 not out. Earlier, the Sagicor HPC bowlers and fielders did very well to bowl out the home side for just 71 off 16.1 overs.
Left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cotterell bowled with pace to take 2-8 off 3.1 overs, while Jason Dawes got late swing and took 2-17 off four overs. There were two run outs from direct hits – Kjorn Ottley with a flat throw from midwicket to the bowler’s end and Jomel Warrican with a one-handed pick-up and throw from deep mid-off.
Charles demonstrated the form and awesome power which saw him hit a career-best 84 in the West Indies win over England in the Super Eights of the ICC World T20 two months ago in Sri Lanka. He earned the Man-of-the-Match award in that contest which West Indies won by 15 runs at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
“I hit the ball really well and I enjoyed my time at the crease tonight,” Charles said following his knock. “I have not really been among the runs since I came back from Sri Lanka, so I needed a bit of a boost to get back in the groove. We must give credit to the bowlers for dismissing them for such a small score…also we were very good in the field. It was a small target so I decided to go hard in the first six (overs) and it paid off.”
The 23-year-old said he has benefitted immensely from his time at the Sagicor HPC and is looking to get even better, especially against slow bowling.
“I enjoyed my experience in Sri Lanka and I was delighted to be in a team that won the World Cup and brought glory to the West Indies. Now, it’s back to the drawing board and working at my game. I have really developed my range of strokes and I have worked really hard at improving my allround game since I came here into this programme.
“I think I am doing okay, but I still have some work to do against the spinners especially. I have mapped out a plan with the coaches and I’m confident that I can make even greater steps forward,” he added.
Charles will next line-up for St Lucia in the Windward Islands’ tournament next month, which will form part of the preparations for the Caribbean T20 to be played at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia from January 6 to 20.
“I’m looking forward to representing St Lucia. I’m looking to score big. I’ve developed a hunger. We (St Lucia) have not won the tournament in something like 40 years, so I will be giving a big effort to try and break that. We have a number of good players in our set-up and I know I will be called on to play a senior role,” Charles said.
“I have represented West Indies and I’ve had some success so a lot will depend on me. I’m comfortable with that…I believe I can handle the responsibility and do the job for the team when required.”
Friday, November 23 – 50 overs
Sagicor HPC1 vs Sagicor HPC2 – 10 am
Sunday, November 25 – Twenty20
Sagicor HPC1 vs Sagicor HPC2 – 1 pm
Sunday, November 25 – Twenty 20
Sagicor HPC 1 vs Sagicor HPC 2 – 6 pm
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