Jamaica Tallawahs’ captain Andre Russell might call his team’s latest defeat the curse of Lauderhill. But Jason Holder and his Barbados Tridents dodged a bullet when they eked out a two-run win in their Hero Caribbean Premier League clash in Florida tonight.
Other than the final over of the Tallawahs’ innings, the Tridents did basically everything to lose the match, while their opponents lost once again on their disputed “home” ground with their two biggest hitters in captain Andre Russell and Rovman Powell sitting helplessly in the dug-out with their pads on.
Tridents made a below-par 156 for 6 in their 20 overs and an opening partnership of 80 between Tallawahs’ Johnson Charles and Glenn Phillips made reaching their victory target a seeming formality. But they were left stranded on 154 for 3. Charles made a 32-ball 42 which included five consecutive boundaries in Holder’s solitary over before he was dismissed by Steve Smith’s seldom used leg-breaks in the 10th over, caught by Martin Guptill at deep midwicket from a top-edged slog sweep. That was the first ball of the over and off the fifth Smith struck again when he had Phillips caught by wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran off a somewhat dubious edge for 36 made off 24 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. The over went for a mere two runs and broke the Tallawahs’ momentum. The following over bowled by seven-footer Pakistani Mohammad Irfan also went for a mere two runs as new batsmen Ross Taylor and Kennar Lewis attempted to assert themselves.
Lewis benefited from Raymon Reifer’s generosity in the 12th over bowled by Smith when rather than take a catch at deep mid-wicket he tipped the ball over the boundary for six as he tried to catch with a reverse-cup technique. This was the first of five catches which the Tridents dropped, none of them particularly difficult. In the 13th over Reifer again played Santa Claus when he presented Lewis with another gift, this time dropping him at third man off Irfan. Ashley Nurse caught the virus when in the same over he too dropped Lewis on the boundary and in the process conceded six runs. Irfan would finally get his man in the same over when Lewis edged to Pooran to depart for 17. At the end of the 13th over the Tallawahs were 101 for 3 needing a quite gettable 56 runs in seven overs. Perhaps, on hindsight, Russell or Powell should have come to the crease at this stage but David Miller joined Taylor.
Taylor took a six off Reifer in the 15th over that went for 10 runs. Then Wahab Riaz bowled an excellent 16th over that went for only six runs. This was perhaps the best period of bowling by the Tridents and in the 17th over Reifer restricted the Tallawahs to eight runs. Irfan conceded nine runs in the 18th over and the penultimate over delivered by Riaz went for 11. The Tridents had time in this pressure situation to drop yet another catch when Shai Hope shelled a regulation take at deep mid-wicket off a spliced shot by Miller. Some might suggest that had he taken the catch it would have meant Russell coming to the crease.
Holder had been mauled earlier by Charles and chose wisely not to bowl the final over, entrusting it instead to Reifer who bowled admirably and redeemed himself for his earlier fielding lapses. With nine runs required by the Tallawahs for the win, Reifer’s first ball to Taylor went for a single. His second to Miller was edged down to square leg and the batsmen ran three. The third delivery was a beautiful Yorker outside off-stump that Taylor failed to touch. The Kiwi got a single to the sweeper cover off the fourth delivery and turned over the pressure to his South African teammate. Another brilliant delivery from Reifer saw Miller backing away to hit him through the off-side but the southpaw delivered a full, wide ball which went through to Pooran. The final ball was yorker length and was hit down to long-on where Guptill fielded and restricted the Tallawahs to a single. A crestfallen Russell could be seen sitting in the dugout, head in hands, in stunned disbelief at the turn of events, and yet another loss in Florida. Taylor finished with 26 in 28 balls while Miller’s 25 took him 20 balls.
Smith bowled excellently to finish with 2 for 19 in three overs, while Irfan had 1 for 30. Though he went wicketless Nurse was exceptional with his off-spin, conceding a mere 18 runs in his four overs.
Earlier in the Tridents innings they slumped to 39 for three losing Dwayne Smith (18), Hashim Amla (15) and Guptill (0) by the 7th over. But a spirited partnership of 103 between Smith and Hope revived the innings. Smith made a 44-ball 63 that included five boundaries and three sixes while Hope’s 43 was made off 35 balls and he counted two boundaries and three sixes. Their partnership was marked by their excellent running between the wickets. The two were dismissed in the 18th and 20th over respectively as the Tridents reached their underwhelming score. In the end, it proved to be just enough. (WG)