The North’s comeback in this year’s North-Series was completed with a crunching 96-run win over Delray Rawlins and his South teammates at the 3Ws Oval in Barbados led by a commanding 112 in 98 balls from Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke.
The 21-year-old right-hander had scored 46 in the North’s opening defeat before hitting 71 in their series levelling victory on Wednesday. He will have been disappointed not to have converted either previous scores to three figures, but he made no mistake at the third time of asking. He hit 10 fours and 5 sixes in a knock that ends his winter on a high after a difficult Lions tour.
The South’s reply suffered a big blow before it even began. Nick Gubbins, a centurion in the first two matches played at the Kensington Oval, was forced to leave the field in the 18th over when suffering a hamstring injury after sliding to stop a ball at deep cover. He will undergo a scan in London on Monday.
The loss of their in-form opener proved costly to the South who, after taking 46 from the seam-bowled 10-over powerplay, lost their way against spin. With pace off the ball Matt Parkinson and Brett D’Oliveira began to halt proceedings. Daniel Bell-Drummond had made 37 when D’Oliveira had the Kent batsman playing all around one. Then as the dots were mounting Sam Northeast attempted to break the shackles but only succeeded in lobbing Matt Critchley to Keaton Jennings at long-off.
Ollie Pope, promoted to open in Gubbins’ absence, made 68 in 76 balls, but no one seemed eager to stay with him. Sam Northeast and Rawlins both made double figures, but holed out in to long-off. Critchley, who had accounted for Northeast, added Sam Curran to his two-wicket haul, another batsman falling in the deep.
Rawlins scored 23 runs off 16 deliveries, he hit 2 fours and 1 six.
Saqib Mahmood took his tally to a series high of eight wickets in the series, adding Pope and Evans to his scalps, but it was pace off the ball that slowed the run-rate and suffocated the South.
The South’s struggles proved how well Clarke had played. He finished with a series-best 229 runs at 76.33 and ended the day named Player of the Series.