Barbados Tridents (175-8) beat Jamaica Tallawahs (87 all out) by 88 runs
A game that was in effect a shootout for a spot in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League final ended with the Jamaica Tallawahs going from first to fourth place and the Barbados Tridents coming from nowhere to finish top of the table and qualify automatically for the final on Saturday.
The Tridents had set the Tallawahs 176 to win, primarily because of an excellent innings of 63 from Kieron Pollard. On this small ground and on an excellent pitch, that may not have been enough, but some excellent bowling from the Bajans and some poor batting from their opponents saw them run out emphatic winners.
From the very start, regular wickets meant that the Tallawahs were struggling to get close to this target and, for the second game in a row, their batsmen let them down. Having looked like the favourites to win the group stage, the Tallawahs will need to work hard to regroup before the first play-off game on Wednesday.
Dwayne Smith got the Tridents away to a decent start, going along at better than a run a ball. However, he had little support at the other end as William Perkins could not get going. Smith was dismissed just as he was starting to accelerate, slogging Vettori up in the air. When he went he had made 32 of the 35 runs that had been scored.
Perkins started to find some fluidity with Smith’s dismissal, and he began to make up for his slow start. No one seemed able to stay with him during the first half of the innings as Shoaib Malik and Raymon Reifer both fell cheaply to shots they mistimed into the air for easy catches. Perkins continued to move through the gears to get to above a run a ball, but he attempted one innovation too many as he was caught at the wicket attempting a ramp shot off the bowling of Rusty Theron.
Pollard was the man who needed to play a captain’s knock to set a defendable total thanks to the stop-start effort of his teammates. He had more time than he has been given in this year’s tournament to date, with over half of the innings remaining when he came to the crease. He went on to record his highest score this season. The way he was able to attack low full tosses was breathtaking as he made his first really telling contribution with the bat.
He combined with Jeevan Mendis to take the Tridents up to and beyond 150. They were going really well until a foolish miscommunication saw Mendis run out. The Sri Lankan charged down the pitch when there clearly wasn’t a single to be had and was well short of his ground.
Pollard continued to swing hard, but he too departed to Theron, bowled by a good length ball that he tried to over hit. It was an excellent knock, but his dismissal so close to the end of the innings will have restricted the total that the Tridents could have set. Kyle Mayers went on the very next ball, another man bowled by Theron. This time it was a quicker ball and Mayers could not decide if he should defend or attack; he ended up doing neither.
Despite some big sixes from Jason Holder at the back end of the innings, it still looked a tough ask for the Tridents to defend the total they posted on this Warner Park ground.
As it was, the defence got off to the best possible start as the Tallawahs skipper, Chris Gayle, was dismissed for just a single by a full ball from Ravi Rampaul that trapped him LBW. His opening partner, Chadwick Walton, went in the next over to as good a catch by a wicket keeper as you will see. The batsman feathered the ball down the leg side and Perkins dove full length to his left to take the ball inches above the ground.
A recovery of sorts took place, as a partnership between Adam Voges and Nkrumah Bonner brought the Tallawahs back into the game, but a senseless run out saw Voges depart for 10. Owais Shah did not last long either, falling LBW trying to sweep Mendis.
Things did not improve from there for the Tallawahs as wickets continued to tumble and the rate continued to climb. Only Bonner showed any real resistance but he could not do it on his own. Mendis put together a superb spell of bowling to strangle the Tallawahs in the middle of the innings, and they fell well short of their target. The Sri Lankan dismissed Bonner for 47, and with his departure so too went the slim hopes the Jamaicans had of turning this around.
Barbados Tridents captain, Kieron Pollard, said; We knew we had qualified for the knockout stages when we arrived in St. Kitts, but finishing top looked a long way off. We took a brave decision today to bat first on a pitch where chasing teams have had a lot of success this week. Our batting is a strength for us though and - as this was a virtual semi-final – we thought that runs on the board would really count, and so it proved.
Barbados Tridents bowler, Jeevan Mendis, said; A win like this gives us a lot of confidence. Warner Park has had a reputation as being a bad place to be a bowler this week, but we put a good score on the board and that puts pressure on the batsmen. We are very pleased with how we bowled and fielded and really pleased to have finished top of the group stages, going straight into the final.
Jamaica Tallawahs coach, Mickey Arthur, said; We have got to find a way of getting our mojo back a bit this week. We just need one or two players to stand up and take the initiative when we bat. We have perhaps been a little over reliant on Chris Gayle to give us a dominant start with the bat this tournament, but we have lots of players who can step up and help us build competitive totals. We just need to get the smiles back on our players’ faces and play with confidence again. Four days is a long time in cricket, so I am sure we will bounce back well against the Red Steel on Wednesday.