Under the leadership of Stoute – a rookie in the hot seat; and Smith – the proclaimed Agent and a Man on a Mission – the Bajans silenced the crowd of over 12 000 clad in red in Queen’s Park Oval and another couple thousand outside whose hunger to be admitted could not be satisfied.
The soft-spoken Stoute had the honour of lifting the Clive Lloyd Trophy shortly after 10 p.m. This was the second time in two weeks that Barbados had beaten the home team and it signalled a change in fortunes after the men in red had dominated the boys in blue over the past decade.
“I have had a lot of ups and downs. I came back to captain Barbados when I wasn’t even expecting it but it is a fantastic feeling to win this tournament for Barbados,” Stoute said.
“When last has Barbados won a one-day championship?” he asked. “It has been a while. We shared it in 2010 [with Leeward Islands] and now against the odds, we came here and beat Trinidad.”
“I just want to stay very humble and say ‘thank you’ to everyone who gave me the opportunity to do this job of leading my country and all those who believed in us and helped us along this journey. This is for all of Barbados,” he added.
The Barbados skipper Kevin Stoute praised the efforts of his players, particularly senior players Sulieman Benn and Smith, for playing big roles in their unbeaten run in the tournament.
Smith was the leading scorer in the tournament with 252 runs while Benn was second on the bowling list with nine wickets, one less than Rayad Emrit from T&T who had ten.
Stoute also said that he and Barbados were out to prove a point after he was appointed skipper.
“A lot people doubted that I could have done the job. They said I could not manage this crop but at the end of the day, I just showed those guys what I am capable of, once given the opportunity,” said Stoute.
Stoute won the toss and boldly decided to bat first. Barbados made 252 all out thanks to Smith’s brilliance and a classy 49 off 51 balls from the much improved Jonathan Carter.
At the end, Benn made a vital 22 not out. They then bowled out the home team for 245 for a thrilling 17-run victory. Seamer Carlos Brathwaite took four wickets, but it was Smith’s LBW dismissal of Denesh Ramdin at the death which silenced the crowd and finished T&T’s spirited resistance.
Benn also chipped in with two wickets in nine tight overs to crown off a good all-round night and tournament, boosting his chances of a recall to the West Indies team.
Smith said he was happy to contribute to a winning effort.
“I won it! It feels really good to play a good innings and see my team go on and win a trophy. Everyone is happy. Everyone deserves to be happy with this performance. All we needed was to maintain the pressure and we saw what happened.
“I’ve worked very hard in trying to get back into the West Indies team. I’m a bit disappointed because I had two scores where I should have carried on and made hundreds. But we have the trophy and that is what matters the most.”