Joseph smashes 82 in Stanford Superstars practice

COOLIDGE, ANTIGUA - With Stanford Superstars selectors Sir Everton Weekes, Courtney Walsh and Richie Richardson taking keen notes, Antiguan batsman Sylvester Joseph hit a commanding unbeaten 82 as he led Dwayne Bravo's XI to back-to-back wins over Daren Ganga's XI.

It was Ganga's XI fourth straight loss in the fifth practice match of the Stanford Superstars training camp.

Batting first under lights at the Stanford Cricket Ground on Saturday night Bravo's XI made 156-8 from 20 overs, to which Ganga's XI could only respond with 142-7 from their share of overs, losing by 14 runs.

The right handed Joseph, batting at number four, held the innings together, smashing 11 fours and two sixes during his entertaining 56-ball knock. He got some support from Denesh Ramdin (24), who opened the innings and Dave Mohammed, 18.

Joseph scored 18 runs from the last over - that went for 19 - bowled by part-time off-spinner John Eugene, whose three overs cost 32 runs. Jamaican all-rounder Danza Hyatt picked up 2-24 from two overs, while all-rounders Rayad Emrit and Tonito Willett both had excellent figures of 1-20 from four overs.

Emrit then returned with the bat to top score for Ganga's XI with 32 from 25 deliveries, inclusive of three fours and one six. Xavier Marshall, who opened the innings, made a run-a-ball 30 (2x4, 1x6), while Ganga, batting at number eight, made an unbeaten 29, but was unable to gather enough momentum to push his team past the target score.

Barbadian left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn was outstanding with the ball, his four overs costing a mere 10 runs. But Jamaica pacer Jerome Taylor was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for 30 runs from four overs, while the unheralded Antiguan pacer Chad Hampson continued his impressive showing with 2-15 from four overs.

In four outings, the right-handed Hampson has bowled 16 overs for 73 runs and has picked up five wickets and his economy rate is 4.5 runs per over. Only off-spinner Lennox Cush (who was rested for the fifth game) has been more economical, his 12 overs in three matches costing 52 runs at an average of 4.3 runs an over.

It was Taylor's second three-wicket haul of the five completed practice matches and he now sits level with Trinidadian all-rounder Kieron Pollard on eight wickets as the most by any bowler. Joseph has the most runs thus far with 139 from four innings at an average of 69.5.

At press time, the sixth practice match was in progress, while the final practice game is slated for tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm.