On Sunday, February 7, hours before the start of this years Super Bowl 55, in thousands of cricket loving households all across Canada, individuals were glued to their television screens. Their individual and combined attentions were riveted on the exploits of their fellow Canadian Nitish Kumar, who was representing the Leewards Hurricanes against the Windwards Volcanoes in the opening fixture of the Cricket West Indies hosted 2021 Caribbean Regional Super50 Tournament, being played at the Coolidge Cricket Center in St Johns Antigua.
As the only Canadian involved in the Tournament, indeed its only non West Indian player, Kumar carried the interests of all of his Canadian supporters when he strode to the crease with the Leeward Hurricanes score on 51/2 off 8.6 overs in pursuit of the 285 run victory target that had been set by the Windwards Volcanoes. He did not disappoint, proceeding instead to fashion an innings that was subsequently described during the post match presentation ceremony by the Windwards Volcanoes captain, West Indies One Day International player, Sunil Ambris as one of the very best he has ever seen in Caribbean regional limited overs cricket.
Displaying his extensive repertoire of shots Kumar stroked his way to 112, made off just 106 balls that included nine majestic fours and two imperial sixes. It was as the West Indies fast bowling great Sir Curtly Ambrose described, an innings of superb class and outstanding pedigree. It was, however, part of a losing cause as the Leewards Hurricanes were eventually dismissed for 253 off 47.2 overs 31 runs short of the required victory target. Kumar was also, somewhat surprisingly, not chosen as the Man of the Match, losing out in that respect to the Windwards Volcanoes Kevin Stoute, who scored 86 off 96 balls with eight fours and one six as part of his teams match winning total of 284.
Kumar's social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were immediately flooded with congratulatory messages from supporters across Canada following his outstanding innings. Several Cricket Canada Board Members including President Rashpal Bajwa, Directors Mohammed Shaikh and Ranjit Chaudhri, General Manager Ingleton Liburd as well as Brampton & Etobicoke League President Praim Persaud were among those sending congratulatory messages to Kumar.
Kumar's Leewards Hurricanes 2021 Caribbean Regional Super50 century is his fourth in List A matches, Since making his One Day International debut in 2011 and becoming the second youngest ever ODI player, as a right-handed batsman and right-arm off spinner, Canada born Kumar has become one of Canadas leading batting all-rounders and a regular member of Canadian National cricket teams. His most recent appearances for Canada were as a member of the Canadian squad for the 201920 Caribbean Regional Super50 Tournament. He was again Canadas leading run-scorer in the tournament, with 265 runs in eight matches.
The Leeward Hurricanes remaining 2021 Caribbean Regional Super50 Preliminary Round matches will be on Feb 10 vs Barbados Pride; Feb 13 vs Guyana Jaguars; Feb 17 vs T&T Red Force and Feb 19 vs Jamaica Scorpions.
Update 10 February:
Canada’s Nitish Kumar followed his superb 2021 Caribbean Super50 opening match century with a solid 41, as the Leeward Hurricanes led by Keacy Carty’s superb unbeaten century and a belligerent Hayden Walsh Jnr cameo, secured a sensational four wicket final over win against the Barbados Pride. Carty, produced a memorable knock of 123 not out. He hit nine fours and three sixes, to record his maiden List A hundred on a good pitch at the Coolidge Cricket Ground. He won the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match award.
Chasing the daunting victory target of 302 to win at a required rate of 6 runs per over, the Hurricanes lost both its opening batsmen by the thirteenth over with only 62 runs on the board. Kumar and Carty, however, combined for a 98 run third wicket partnership which steadied the innings and provided a perfect platform for the match-winning fireworks that were to follow.
Having gracefully stroked his way to 41 off 48 balls with two fours, Kumar attempted an injudicious reverse sweep to an Ashley Nurse delivery, missed completely and was struck plumb in front to be adjudged lbw. It was a most disappointing end to an innings that had promised much and which had even seemed headed toward a second successive century.
In the final stages with an asking rate of close to 14 runs per over Hayden Walsh smashed an explosive 9 ball 28, which included three massive sixes in one over. His belligerent cameo provided the impetus for the undaunted Casey to eventually see the Hurricanes home.
The Barbados Trident’s 302 had been structured around Shamar Brooks 96 off 88 balls and Jonathan Carter’s 91 ball 58. The two featured in an 160 run partnership for the third wicket that provided the backbone Pride’s eventually insufficient total of 301.
Full Scorecard: https://www.windiescricket.com/matches/206981/#scorecard
The win gave the Leewards Hurricanes its first two points of the tournament and a third place on the points table behind the Jaguars and Windwards Hurricanes, while the Pride were left floundering in last place with zero points having lost both of its matches played to date. The tournaments two other competing teams. Jamaica Scorpions and Trinidad Red Force were set to play each other on Thursday February 10.
Kumar will be hoping for much improved performances in the Leeward Hurricanes three remaining Preliminary Round matches. The Hurricanes will face the Guyana Jaguars on Feb 13; T&T Red Force on Feb 17 and the F Jamaica Scorpions on Feb 19.
Photo credit: Windies Cricket