Left-arm spinner Khary Pierre snatched a career-best six-wicket haul but it was Jason Mohammed’s half-century and Shannon Gabriel’s nerve, which fired Trinidad and Tobago Red Force to a nail-biting one-wicket win over English county Hampshire.
Set a paltry 140 for victory at the 3Ws Oval today, Red Force looked a fair bet to take full points at 126 for five in the 29th over, thanks to Mohammed’s 51 and Nicholas Pooran’s 23.
However, Red Force suddenly lost their way as four wickets tumbled for just 13 runs in the space of 45 deliveries, to leave them tottering on 139 for nine and in danger of squandering the result.
In fact, it was Mohammed and then Pierre who fell in successive overs with scores tied, to leave the game wide open. But Gabriel, arriving at the crease in tense circumstances, got a boundary off the first ball he faced, to carry Red Force over the line.
Off-spinner Joe Weatherley was the best bowler with four for 25 while seamer Bradley Wheal supported with two for 28.
Hampshire, opting to bat first, had earlier struggled before they were dismissed for 139 in the 39th over, with captain James Adams top-scoring with 39.
Bradley Taylor extended his decent form with 36 while Weatherley scored 27 but it was the 26-year-old Pierre who shone with six for 34.
Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cotterrell trapped Thomas Alsop without scoring in the third over with five runs on the board before Adams and Weatherley consolidated in a 34-run second-wicket stand.
Hampshire then lost four wickets for 22 runs to stumble to 61 for five in the 17th over, with Pierre grabbing two wickets and off-spinner Sunil Narine (2-22) and leg-spinner Imran Khan also making key strikes.
Taylor, however, rallied the innings, combining with Adams in a 34-run, sixth wicket stand before adding a further 31 for the seventh wicket with Gareth Berg (11).
Pierre claimed Taylor as he single-handedly wiped out the last four wickets of the innings, leaving Hampshire in ruins.
In reply, Red Force quickly found themselves on 37 for three in the seventh over after Wheal struck two key blows but Mohammed and captain Denesh Ramdin (12) posted 44 for the fourth wicket to repair the innings.
When Ramdin perished in the 17th over, Mohammed and Pooran joined forces in a 27-run partnership which appeared set to take Red Force home.
Mohammed faced 101 balls and counted two fours and a six while the left-handed Pooran produced an identical boundary count in a 24-ball cameo.
The slide then claimed both batsmen before Red Force held their nerve to sneak the win.