When Jamaica’s women lost to Barbados in the penultimate round of the recent Caribbean Women T20 Blaze competition, in Guyana, they knew like everyone else that their chances of claiming the regional title had dwindled significantly.
To their eternal credit, Jamaica’s Captain Ms Stafanie Taylor and her team gave no thought to giving up. They knew that there was always a chance that Trinidad and Tobago could upset the unbeaten Barbadians in their final game.
That would mean that a lopsided Jamaican win over the Leeward Islands would leave Barbados and Jamaica tied on points. Net run rate would then be used as the tiebreak to decide the title winners.
Says Ms Taylor: “After seeing Barbados losing to Trinidad, we were wondering what was the calculation [of net run rate]... But I just said to the players, ‘Let’s go out there [and] if we do win the toss, bat first, post a big target and at least we know that’s something we could control.’ ”
That’s exactly how it turned out. Jamaica ended up beating the Leeward Islands by 124 runs after Barbados were beaten by Trinidad and Tobago by 19 runs.
Both Barbados and Jamaica were now tied on 16 points. But the calculations showed that, because of their massive victory margin over the Leeward Islands, Jamaica now had a superior run rate compared to that of Barbados — 2.170 to 1.428.
Looking back, we have to say it would have been so easy for Ms Taylor and her team to stumble under the pressure of competition after losing to Barbados. Instead, they displayed steely determination to match their talent and executed perfectly against the Leeward Islands to comprehensively turn the tables and claim the T20 title.
Ms Taylor tells us that they were highly motivated by the desire to honour the memory of late former coach Mr Cleon Smith, who died in May 2020. Mr Smith was head coach in 2018 when the Jamaica team had previously lifted the T20 crown.
“We wanted to wear black armbands because he passed away, and we wanted to play hard cricket and dedicate this one to him,” she is reported as saying.
The Jamaicans will now renew rivalry with Barbados on Saturday in the CG United Women’s Super50 tournament also in Guyana. The tournament started on Thursday with Barbados beating the Windward Islands.
Also, we note that the long-awaited Women’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is now set to begin on August 30, with three teams — Guyana Amazon Warriors, Barbados Royals and Trinbago Knight Riders.
We are told that Ms Taylor will lead the Amazon Warriors, while two other outstanding regional players, Ms Hayley Matthews and Ms Deandra Dottin, will skipper the Royals and Knight Riders, respectively.
Our hope is that the Women’s CPL will not only bring added interest and excitement but will help to inspire stronger participation in cricket by women and girls in Jamaica and the wider region.