Warm-up Match: Surrey v West Indies
Tony Cozier - 12 May 1999
Powell calls shots: New boy stars in WI win
Brian Lara appeared on the field for the first time this summer at the Oval yesterday.
But it was merely to perform unaccustomed 12th man errands in the West Indies' third and last preparation match before their World Cup starts in earnest on Sunday.
The captain was again unwilling to expose his lingering right wrist injury to possible damage before the opener against the powerful Pakistanis in Bristol, although he assured listeners that he would be on parade then.
It was left to the youngest and newest man on the West Indies team, and Surrey's imaginative, Caribbean-style outfield entertainment – complete with steelband and Notting Hill Carnival costumes – to enliven another showery afternoon for an encouragingly sizeable crowd of around 6000.
The 20-year-old Jamaican, drafted into the squad after Carl Hooper's last minute's withdrawal, blazed away with strokes that were a mirror-image of those Lara might himself have played.
Hitting with the fluent, wristy power that so impressed Barbadians in last season's Busta Cup and that gained him his selection, Powell accumulated 53 off 23 balls out of the 61 runs made while he was in.
Mainly on his momentum, the West Indies rattled up 100 off their final 10 overs to reach 224 for six once their innings was reduced to 40 after rain intervened at 30 overs and halted play for 2 3/4 hours.
The complicated Duckworth/Lewis system obliged Surrey to score 258 off the same 40 overs and they were really never in with a chance, ending 169 for eight to lose by the computerised margin of 89 runs.
Lara's choice to miss the match was a disappointment to the several hundred West Indians from nearby Brixton but they were well compensated by Powell's spectacular display.
Knowledgeable journalists in the Press box suddenly sat up and took notice as he reeled off one breathtaking stroke after another.
His three sixes were clean, long and straight hits. His first was still rising as it cleared long-off from the medium-pace of Jason Ratcliffe, a stroke Corey Collymore may remember from the Busta Cup at Kensington.
The second and third were off the similar pace of Gary Butcher in an over that cost 17.
There were four fours as well and Powell allowed only one ball to go scoreless.
Yorked by Ben Hollioake with two balls left, he returned to a standing ovation from the members' area and nods of approval from Lara and the West Indies dressing room.
But he has created something of a quandry for their selection for Sunday's opener.
They have to balance his inexperience – his first-class debut was in January and he had not even played a One-Day match for Jamaica prior to his selection – against his patent natural talent and youthful enthusiasm.
He is, in addition, a fast and outstanding outfielder and he sent down five useful overs of off-spin when Surrey batted.
The West Indies topscorer was the left-handed wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs, who came through Alex Tudor's impressive opening burst to gather 80 from 98 balls with two sixes and seven fours as his main scoring strokes.
He shared a second-wicket partnership of 109 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul when the weather was dry before Tudor removed the left-handers, Chanderpaul and Keith Arthurton, with successive balls.
Tudor, a tall, lively fast bowler born in London of Barbadian parents, claimed both wickets with the aid of two stunning catches by wicket-keeper Jonathan Batty.
Promoted as opener for the final four matches of the recent One-Day series against Australia in the Caribbean, Jacobs has taken to the job with relish.
His success at the top means that the middle order can have a more substantial look with Lara at No. 3 to be followed by Chanderpaul, Jimmy Adams (who chose to give others the chance of a hand yesterday), and Phil Simmons. And, now, perhaps, Powell as well.
Like Lara, Courtney Walsh also chose to take the match off, as he did the earlier two.
His 36-year-old joints, especially that in his left knee, need as much rest and attention as they can get prior to what could be an exacting few weeks.
His perennial partner in pace, Curtly Ambrose, did have his first match for the summer, sending down five leisurely, but mean, overs for one wicket.
Reon King generated impressive pace to take three wickets.
Source: The Barbados Nation
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