Nandu’s half-century in vain as Ireland Academy beat WI Academy

An unbeaten hundred from Test batsman Murray Commins and three-wicket hauls from Scott MacBeth and Gavin Hoey left West Indies Academy with a 26-run defeat to Ireland Academy in the opening game of their three-match series on Friday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

The 26-year-old Commins, who played his only two Tests earlier this year, carried his bat for 118 not out off 129 deliveries as the visitors gathered 245 off 49.1 overs after choosing to bat first at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.

In reply, West Indies Academy looked a great beat for the win when opener Matthew Nandu struck 59 off 99 deliveries, his partner Kadeem Alleyne hit 42 off 30 balls and number three Leonardo Julien chipped in with 28.

However, 19-year-old off-spinner Scott MacBeth (3-33) and 22-year-old leg-spinner Gavin Hoey (3-43) grabbed three wickets apiece to send the home side crashing for 219 all out in the 42nd over. The two teams square off again tomorrow  at Coolidge Cricket Ground.

Left-arm spinner Joshua Bishop (4-45) and fast bowler Johann Layne (2-52) scythed through the top order with two wickets apiece as Ireland Academy collapsed to 37 for four in the 11th over.

Hoey resisted with 25 from 31 balls but Bishop and off-spinner Kevin Wickham (2-51) made key strikes to leave the innings in dire straits at 123 for eight in the 30th over.

However Commins, who lashed 14 fours and a six, anchored a 103-run, ninth wicket stand with Tom Mayes, who counter-attacked with two fours and three sixes in a 46-ball 51, to ensure Ireland Academy rallied at the back end of the innings. Facing a relatively straightforward run chase, the hosts started brightly as 20-year-old left-hander Nandu stroked three fours, putting on 58 for the first wicket with Alleyne who struck two fours and three sixes.

When Alleyne skied a pull at seamer Matthew Foster and was brilliantly taken by Commins running back at mid-wicket at the start of the ninth over, Julien arrived to add a further 59 for the second wicket with Nandu and keep West Indies Academy on course.

But Julien’s demise in the 21st over, stumped off MacBeth after being deceived in flight, triggered a slide that saw five wickets tumble for 35 runs, leaving West Indies Academy tottering on 152 for six at the start of the 28th over.

Nandu and Junior Sinclair (28) posted 56 for the seventh wicket to revive their side’s fortunes but once the stand was broken, the hosts lost their last four wickets for 11 runs. (CMC)