Krunal Pandya holds nerve in win

Earlier this year, when Oshane Thomas was named the winner of the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation People’s Choice Performance Award, there were some curious faces in the audience at Jamaica’s Pegasus hotel. A report in The Gleaner said the 21-year-old fast bowler trumped hurdler Omar McLeod and boxer Kemahl Russell to bag the prestigious award.

A Man-of-Match performance for Jamaica Tallawahs – 3/31, including Chris Gayle’s scalp – against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) last year said to have played a role in Thomas getting the nomination and eventually winning the prize. More than anything else, though, the adjudicators seemingly wanted to give the young fast bowler some serious encouragement.

Thomas is very early into his international career. He played two matches in the recently concluded ODI series before making his T20 international debut, along with Fabian Allen and Khary Pierre, at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. And he bowled with enough hostility to provide a throwback to the West Indies’ glorious pace age. Thomas gave a glimpse into his raw talent, and pace, in the final ODI Thiruvananthapuram. The tourists had been defending a paltry 104, but the fast bowler gave India early jitters. He castled Shikhar Dhawan and should have had Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as well. But the India captain was dropped at first slip, while Rohit got a no-ball reprieve. In Kolkata, luck didn’t betray him. West Indies yet again bungled big-time with the bat. A total of 109/8, batting first on a good pitch in a T20 fixture, attested implosion.

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