Trinidad and Tobago Red Force missed the chance to confirm their spot in the semi-finals of the Regional Super50, when they slumped to a surprise three-wicket defeat to Windward Islands Volcanoes at Lucas Street, St Philip today.
Playing in their final Group A match of the competition at Windward Cricket Club, Red Force failed to defend 254 and will now have to wait on the outcome of Volcanoes’ final preliminary match against English county Hampshire on Saturday, before knowing their fate.
The defeat, the third for Red Force, left them on 22 points and still favoured to advance to the final four along with title-holders Barbados Pride.
Volcanoes, third on 17 points, need a victory and a bonus point from their final match – along with a superior net run rate – in order to eclipse Red Force.
Sent in, Red Force got half-centuries from Tion Webster (58) and captain Denesh Ramdin (50) as they got up to 254 for eight off their 50 overs.
Left-handers Nicholas Pooran and Isaiah Rajah supported with 34 apiece as Red Force got themselves out of a hole at 184 for six in the 41st to reach a competitive total.
Amir Jangoo (10) was an early casualty with Red Force on 34 in the 11th over but Webster and Rajah added 74 for the second wicket, to rally the innings.
Webster stroked four fours and a couple of sixes in a 77-ball knock while Rajah faced 60 deliveries and counted three boundaries.
Red Force suffered a double blow when both batsmen fell in successive overs to leave the innings perched on 108 for three in the 29th over but Ramdin then produced a captain’s knock to prop up the innings.
He stroked five fours and a six in a 44-ball stay at the crease, first adding 44 for the fourth wicket with Pooran, 30 for the sixth with Sunil Narine (15) before putting on a further 41 for the seventh with Roshon Primus (11).
Former West Indies off-spinner Shane Shillingford finished with three for 54 while pacer Obed McCoy picked up two for 28.
A rejuvanted Volcanoes then produced a strong display with impresssive Barbadian all-rounder Kyle Mayers top-scoring with 53 from 48 balls while aggressive opener Johnson Charles weighed in with 48.
Veteran opener Devon Smith got 37 and Kavem Hodge, an important 32, as Volcanoes reached their target with 21 balls remaining.
Their start proved key with the experienced Smith and Johnson posting 58 off 43 balls for the first wicket before being separated.
Smith faced 28 balls and belted a couple of fours and sixes while Charles cracked two fours and four sixes off 57 deliveries.
But the peerless Narine accounted for both en route to figures of four for 42, triggering a collapse that saw five wickets fall for 66 deliveries.
In turmoil at 124 for five in the 22nd over, Volcanoes were rescued by Mayers and Hodge who staged an enterprising 97-run, sixth wicket stand which took them to the brink of victory.
The left-handed Mayers struck two fours and four sixes while Hodge was more sedate with two fours in a 66-ball innings.
Disappointingly, both perished in successive overs with the score on 221 in the 39th over but by then the momentum was with Volcanoes and victory was basically assured.