Trinis turn up heat on Bajans
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Their bowlers put them in firm control and an unbeaten 31 from Kieron Pollard coasted Trinidad & Tobago into the Grand Final of the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament with a five-wicket victory over arch-rivals Barbados on Saturday.
Pollard struck fours and two sixes from 23 deliveries, surviving a dropped catch and defying a top-order collapse to usher T&T to their target of 91 in a low-scoring second semi-final at Kensington Oval.
The big-hitting Pollard was two, when he offered Sulieman Benn a sharp return chance to his right, but the beanpole left-arm spinner failed to hold on – and Barbadians heads drooped sensing what could come next.
Pollard sent home a capacity, holiday crowd that was looking to culminate celebrations of the life and the achievements of the Father of Independence and National Hero, Sir Errol Barrow, gravely disappointed when he skied a delivery from Ryan Hinds high over mid-wicket for six to formalise victory with 36 balls remaining.
The result meant that T&T will face Jamaica in the Grand Final on Sunday at the same venue, condemning the two unbeaten sides in the tournament – Barbados and Windward Islands – to battle for third place in the Consolation Final before the showpiece.
T&T bowled with typical purpose and Barbados’ batsmen melted under the heat, falling for 90 in 19.5 overs.
Dwayne Bravo was the most successful T&T bowler with three wickets for 23 runs from his allotted four overs, but Sunil Narine was his usual unplayable self, grabbing two for 10 from four overs to earn the Man-of-the-Match award, Samuel Badree took two for 11 from four overs and Kevon Cooper collected two for 18 from three overs.
T&T suffered an early setback, when Ryan Hinds trapped Adrian Barath for a two-ball duck in the second over.
Lendl Simmons had started brightly, hooking the second ball of the chase from Fidel Edwards for four and second ball of the third over for six, but the West Indies fast bowler bowled him in with the next delivery, leaving T&T 14 for two.
The two Bravo brothers promised much, but delivered little before Ryan Hinds had Dwayne caught at extra cover for two in the fourth over and Edwards had Darren caught at deep fine leg for 18, sinking T&T to 39 for four.
There was pandemonium in the World famous venue, when Denesh Ramdin touched a snorter from Tino Best and was brilliantly caught behind by pint-sized wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, flying to his right, for seven.
T&T were 44 for five and the noise in the ground was deafening, but Jason Mohammed joined Pollard and they lowered the volume with measured batting.
Pollard deflated the Barbadians, when he lofted Sulieman Benn for a straight six and then flicked a full toss to fine leg for four in the 11th over.
With each passing delivery, he and Mohammed brought Barbadian heads lower and lower, and left-arm spinner Ryan Hinds gave up the ghost, when he conceded 21 in his third over – the final of the match.
Earlier, Ravi Rampaul and Samuel Badree tamed the Barbados opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Kirk Edwards.
Narine then made the breakthrough in the fifth over, when Smith was caught at mid-wicket for eight, when he whipped a delivery from the off-spinner.
T&T got a fortuitous wicket in the sixth over, when Barbados captain Kirk Edwards was bowled, playing on a delivery from Samuel Badree too close for the cut.
Badree ended his spell, when he also bowled Kevin Stoute for three, wobbling Barbados on 27 for three.
T&T brief resistance, when Alcindor Holder joined Dowrich and stemmed the flow of wicket, putting on 27 for the biggest stand of the innings before he was caught at deep mid-wicket off Cooper for nine in the 13th over.
Two overs later, Narine struck again, when Dowrich gave him a return catch and was dismissed for the Barbados top score of 22.
T&T never allowed the Barbadians to script a comeback story, and the hosts lost their last five wickets for 30 inside the last five overs.