Red Steel wilt under the Tridents’ fire
Raymon Reifer’s half-century and Jason Holder’s four-wicket opening burst propelled the Barbados Tridents to a 69-run victory over the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel and into the top half of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League at Warner Park, Bassterre, St Kitts, last night.
The defeat meant that the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel missed out on the opportunity to pass the Jamaica Tallawahs and claim No. 1 spot in the competition.
Tridents got off to a shaky start after losing the toss. Three of their top four batsmen scored at fewer than a run a ball, but they maintained momentum because of William Perkins’ 24 at a strike rate of 200. The innings took off after Shoaib Malik was dismissed for 35 off 38 balls in the 15th over.
Reifer scored 65 not out in his first game of this year’s tournament after the slow start had left his team struggling to get going. Only Perkins scored at a decent rate in the early stages. The wicketkeeper was a surprise call up to the Barbados team. He was not a member of the original squad and had 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 the 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 follow through after bowling. Some sharp thinking from the big spinner saw him throw down the stumps as McKenzie backed up too far.
Malik has been far and away the most consistent batsman for the Tridents over the past two years, and he became the leading run scoring in this year’s CPL during his 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 the innings together. His 65 came in 41 balls with five boundaries and three sixes.
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 in Holder’s first over.
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 Smith on the run. Holder was the bowler once again.
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 was 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. Rayad Emrit chipped in with 3 for 23.
It was difficult for Red Steel to find a way back, but Nicolas Pooran and Darren Bravo steadied the ship somewhat. 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’s 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.