Thursday 8th August 2014 – Basseterre, St Kitts. An excellent bowling performance from Jason Holder saw the Barbados Tridents secure victory over Limacol Caribbean Premier League table toppers, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel. Holder’s four top order wickets were enough to make the total almost unobtainable. With wickets falling and the rate rising, there was too much for the lower order to do, as the Red Steel finished well short of their target.
In the Tridents innings, Raymon Reifer scored 65 not out in his first game of this year’s tournament to set up the victory for his team after a slow start had left them struggling to get going. Only William Perkins scored at a decent rate in the early stages of their innings. The wicket keeper was a surprise call up to the Barbados team, he was not a member of the original squad and having not played a game of T20 cricket in 12 months, but he repaid their faith with a breezy knock.
Once again, Samuel Badree bowled brilliantly during the fielding restrictions for the Red Steel, conceding just 13 runs and removing both openers. The first to go was Dwayne Smith, who once again fell for a single figure score, his fourth of the tournament that has been interspersed with two hundreds.
Neil McKenzie continued his batting struggles in this year’s CPL. He is yet to hit a single boundary in four innings with a highest score of just nine. This time he was run out by Sulieman Benn in the bowler’s follow through. Some brilliant thinking from the big spinner saw him throw down the stumps to see McKenzie well short of his ground.
Shoaib Malik has been far and away the most consistent batsman for the Tridents this season, and he became the leading run scoring in this year’s CPL as he put together a 38 ball 35. While he managed to keep the singles coming, the boundaries were harder to find and in the end Malik fell attempting to force the pace, caught in the deep off the bowling of Gabriel.
A brief rain delay held up proceedings, but upon the resumption Kieron Pollard set about helping his team set a defendable score. In combination with Reifer, he took his side up to 174. Reifer was the glue that held this innings together.
A challenging but not insurmountable target had been set, but the Red Steel got off to the worst possible start as Kevin O’Brien fell in the first over attempting a big shot over long off. Ross Taylor was dropped on two when Jeevan Mendis failed to take a tough chance over his shoulder. This did not prove too costly for the Tridents as just two balls later Taylor was brilliantly caught by a take on the run from Smith. The bowler in both instances was Holder who found his wicket taking touch for the first time in this CPL.
At 14 for two some rebuilding was needed, and captain Dwayne Bravo promoted himself up the order to carry out the task. Evin Lewis, the Red Steel’s leading run scorer in the tournament, could not keep his skipper company as he too departed to the bowling of Holder. It was the Bravo brothers together again, and not for the first time, the Red Steel’s hopes rested on them. It was not to be this time as Holder picked up his fourth wicket, but the man that should take the credit is Pollard. A spectacular one handed diving catch saw Dwayne Bravo go for just 16.
Holder finished with career best figures of four for 27 to rip the heart out of the Red Steel chase. It was difficult for them to find a way back, but Nicolas Pooran and Darren Bravo steadied the ship. The concern was that, if either failed, the Red Steel would not have the late order hitting to get them over the line.
Pooran was dropped twice during his bright innings of 33 off 23 balls, although neither was a straightforward chance. Darren Bravo was not so fortunate as he was caught by Pollard on the boundary, a shot so powerful it knocked the fielder off his feet as he collected the chance. Eventually Pooran’s luck ran out as he too fell to a catch on the boundary edge.
With the departure of Pooran, so too went the momentum of the innings. The lower order swung from the hip, but there was too much for them to do.
The Red Steel have lost their place at the top of the table on net run rate due to this heavy defeat. This loss means that they will need other teams to stumble for them to regain the lead. Barbados winning here kept their chances of automatic qualification alive, but they too will need results to go their way.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel captain, Dwayne Bravo, said:
“I thought we did quite well in the field restricting the Tridents to under 180, but we were just not able to build enough momentum with our batting. We played a few poor shots, and there are a few things for us to learn ahead of an important game on Saturday. But we have been playing well throughout the tournament, winning six matches and losing just two, so there is no need to press the panic button.”
Man of the Match, Barbados Tridents’ bowler, Jason Holder, said:
“Warner Park is a small ground and the wicket is a good one for batting, but the fielding display from the team today was very impressive, and helped us win the game. We held some great catches and backed up the bowlers really well in the field. I was very pleased to get four wickets and it was a good win for us.”