Brutal T&T trample Leewards

NORTH SOUND, Antigua – Breath-taking batting, led by a brutal, unbeaten 56 from Kieron Pollard, restored the gloss on reigning champions Trinidad & Tobago, firing them to an emphatic, 167-run victory over Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament on Wednesday.

Pollard blasted two fours and seven sixes – an amazing five in one over off Leewards captain and West Indies leg-spinner Anthony Martin – propelling T&T to 211 for three from their allocation of 20 overs after they chose to bat in their Group-A match at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

Lendl Simmons supported with a similarly enterprising 56 that included six fours and three sixes from 39 balls, and fellow West Indies opener Adrian Barath struck five fours and two sixes in 54 from 46 balls to start the rampage for T&T in a record-breaking batting performance.

It was the highest team total in the three-year history of the CT20 and was just two runs short of the regional record held by Nevis against Antigua & Barbuda set six years ago just a few miles away at the Stanford Cricket Ground (now the Sticky Wicket Stadium) during the inaugural Stanford T20.

New-ball pair of leg-spinner Samuel Badree, with three wickets for 18 runs from four overs, and Ravi Rampaul, with two for six from four overs, took the air out of the Leewards mounting a serious challenge before Sunil Narine followed up with four for nine from two overs, as the “hosts” were dismissed for 44 in 12.4 overs.

No Leewards batsman reached 20 in the lowest team total and easily the most lopsided victory in a regional T20 ever.

The victory earned T&T four points – moving them into second in the group four behind Windward Islands with a superior net rate to Guyana – also on four points. Leewards get no points, keeping them rooted to the bottom of the five-team group ladder.

Badree and Rampaul gave Leewards no chance, bowling out their allotted overs to reduce the home team to a sorry 10 for five in the sixth over.

The leg-spinner struck with the first delivery of the Leewards’ chase, having left-opener Austin Richards Jr caught behind for a duck.

 Badree tightened T&T’s grip, when he had Javia Liburd caught at deep mid-wicket for four and West Indies opener Kieran Powell caught at long-off for a five-ball duck from successive deliveries in his second over.


 Rampaul swung into action, when he bowled Devon Thomas for a duck with a perfectly-pitched yorker, and had another wicketkeeper/batsman Jahmar Hamilton caught at slip for two.


 T&T met resistance from Chesney Hughes, whose 16 was the only score past 10, and Justin Athanaze before Narine ran through the Leewards lower order. Dwayne Bravo formalised the result, when he had Martin caught at extra cover for a duck, condemning Leewards to ignominy.


 Earlier, Pollard treated the average crowd to the kind of sensational batting that he has transported to other parts of the World. He got into stride with a straight six off Gavin Tonge, but he reserved special treatment for hometown hero Martin in the penultimate over.


 Pollard struck the first two over the mid-wicket boundary, lofted the third straight, and launched the fourth ball over the media centre at the northern end for easily one of the biggest sixes ever struck in the brief history of the VRCG.


 After a replacement ball was acquired, Martin managed to keep Pollard scoreless for the next ball, which was tugged into the leg-side, but the T&T talisman made light of the bowler changing his line of attack from over to around the wicket and deposited the last ball of the over onto the embankment on the western side of the ground.


 Pollard would have made the batsman after whom the ground was named extremely proud with his hitting and he completed his 50 from just 14 balls – two balls more than Indian Yuvraj Singh’s World record – with a straight six off Athanaze’s off-spin.

In between, Darren Bravo was caught at mid-wicket off Athanaze for a crisp 33 that was clearly overshadowed by Pollard.

Simmons and Barath had put on 111, establishing a new regional T20 record for the first wicket, to give T&T the launching pad for their assault. Fortune favoured them both however.

Simmons was dropped on two off the third ball of the match, when Devon Thomas muffed a chance at deep backward square leg off Kelbert Walters, parrying the ball over the boundary for six.

Barath was given two reprieves. He was 20 when Martin dropped a return chance in the seventh over, and on 31, when Kieran Powell fluffed a one-handed, diving chance at backward point off Larry Joseph’s off-spin in the next over.

The pair continued to murder the Leewards bowling with Simmons swinging Martin over mid-wicket for his third six to reach his 50 from 36 balls before he mistimed a hook and was caught at short fine leg off Walters.

Barath reached his 50 from 40 balls, sweeping Joseph to deep fine leg for his final four, before Chesney Hughes, bowling his uncomplicated left-arm spin, bowled him to make way for Pollard’s pyrotechnics.

T&T face Guyana in their third match on Friday at this venue, where Leewards meet Canada on the same day in their next contest.

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 18:06