Malik, Pollard lead Tridents to victory
Bridgetown, Barbados - Kieron Pollard starred with bat, ball, and in the field to rescue the Barbados Tridents and start the home team’s Limacol Caribbean Premier League campaign with a victory.
He didn’t do it all by himself, but was the star of the show in a week that has his seen role in the team come into question.
Before the players even hit the field though, a rousing opening ceremony, consisting of almost every element of Caribbean lifestyle was on show in the opening ceremony. From carnival girls to Konshens, the spectacle had started with a bang. It was made even sweeter when the legend of Sir Garry Sobers, the man hailed as the greatest cricketer of all time, out in the middle of the field, officially unveiled the tournament, directly after Kieron Pollard won the toss and elected to bat.
And as though the script was written, even when the excitement of the opening ceremony was supposed to boil down as Alison Hinds and Kees Dieffenthaller faded into the background, Albie Morkel brought the crowd back to life, getting Dwayne Smith caught behind first ball. The tournament had taken off at 150 miles an hour.
The Barbados Tridents batsmen struggled to come to terms with the pace of the wicket. Jonathan Carter played a few shots, but he too would fall victim, failing to clear Devon Smith at deep cover. At the other end though, the experience of Shoaib Malik shone through. He was the only batsman who seemed comfortable on the wicket, knocking the ball around, even upping gears towards the end.
Even Pollard, who he would share in an 88-run stand with, had to start off slowly. But that was mainly down to the fact that Pollard entered the fray with the Tridents in serious trouble at 48/4. Umar Akmal and Shakib al Hasan both fell cheaply. Pollard and Malik for the most part of their early partnership knocked the ball into gaps and took the singles.
The Zouks bowled tight and kept a lid on the scoring. Pollard and Malik used the opportunity to build a partnership for the Tridents. But as the last five overs approached, and Malik went past 50, the Pakistani begun taking the attack to the bowlers. The ball started rolling in the 15th over. The unlucky bowler was Nelon Pascal, who was struck for a six and two fours in an over that cost 19 runs.
Pollard fed Malik the strike as much as he could. The big Trinidadian was discreet at the crease, as Malik stole the show. But once Malik went in the 18th over for 78, the spotlight had once again turned on Pollard. He blasted 19 runs from the 19th over, hitting Morkel for two sixes and a four, one of which went 96 metres.
Tino Best, who was the Zouk’s best bowler, conceded a six off the last ball to blemish his figures to 4-0-28-1. The damage had been done around Best though. The Tridents, once looking like they would limp to 120, had gotten to 169/5. Pollard was unbeaten on 61.
The statisticians dug into their history books, and quickly, stacked the odds against the Zouks. If they were to win, they had to break a record chase at Kensington Oval in Twenty20 cricket. With the start they got, records looked like it would be shattered.
Within the first five overs, the opening pair of Andre Fletcher and Tamim Iqbal had put on 57 runs. The aggressive Bangladeshi swung at every ball, rarely playing defensively. Fletcher on the other hand showed better shot selection. When Iqbal got to 22, his luck had run out, as Ashley Nurse struck in his first over to remove him.
Nurse bowled a tight line and length, desperately trying to pull the game back for the Tridents. However, at the other end, Pollard’s only wrong of the day seemed to be bringing on Shakib-al-Hasan. Fletcher never allowed him to settle, lifting his first two deliveries over long-on for 6.
Other than that, Pollard could do no wrong. His call on fellow countryman, Rayad Emrit, pulled the game towards the Tridents. Nurse had accounted for Fletcher for 57, but the wicket probably should have been credited to Pollard, to who leapt high in the air to snap up a sharp chance at mid-on. Bowling in tandem, Nurse and Emrit bowled tightly, so much so the pressure begun to toll on the Zouks batsmen.
St Lucia Zouks needed to score quickly as balls kept lowering and the run rate kept rising. Gibbs came and went, so did Morkel. The only real fight came from captain Darren Sammy at the end, who hit 35 from 16 balls, particularly ripping into Jason Holder at the start of the 19th over. Sammy struck the young bowler for 14 runs from his first three deliveries. But Holder kept his composure, bowling a swinging Sammy the next ball.
Effectively, the game was won there for Pollard and his men. Fittingly, the captain took the last catch and the last wicket, in a match he had skilfully pulled back from what looked defeat. Pollard was eclipsed for Man of the Match by Malik, but he seemed to be too caught up in the win by 17 runs to be bothered.
Barbados Tridents 169 for five (20 overs). Shoaib Malik 78, *Kieron Pollard 61 not out. Darren Sammy 2-36.
Saint Lucia Zouks: Andre Fletcher 57, Darren Sammy 35, Tamim Iqbal 22. Kieron Pollard 3-15, Ashley Nurse 2-18, Rayad Emrit 2-20, Jason Holder 2-43.
Dwayne Smith c Andre Fletcher b Albie Morkel 0
Jonathan Carter c Devon Smith b Darren Sammy 11
Shoaib Malik c Herschelle Gibbs b Tino Best 78
Shakib Al Hasan c Andre Fletcher b Darren Sammy 5
Umar Akmal c Darren Sammy b Shane Shillingford 0
Kieron Pollard* not out 61
Kyle Mayers not out 2
Extras: (1lb, 10w, 1nb) 12
Total: 169/5 (20 overs)
Did not bat: Ashley Nurse, Rayad Emrit, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-30, 3-47, 4-48, 5-136.
Bowling: Albie Morkel 3-0-35-1 (1w), Garey Mathurin 3-0-15-0, Darren Sammy 4-0-36-2, Shane Shillingford, 4-0-26-1 (6w), Tino Best 4-0-28-1 (3w), Nelon Pascal 2-0-28-0 (1nb).
Saint Lucia Zouks
Tamim Iqbal st Umar Akmal b Nurse 22
Andre Fletcher c Kieron Pollard b Ashley Nurse 57
Herschelle Gibbs c Jason Holder b Rayad Emrit 7
Devon Smith st Umar Akmal b Shoaib Malik 9
Misbah Ul-Haq c Rayad Emrit b Kieron Pollard 12
Albie Morkel c Shoaib Malik b Rayad Emrit 0
Darren Sammy* b Jason Holder 35
Shane Shillingford c & b Kieron Pollard 0
Garey Mathurin c & b Pollard 0
Tino Best c Umar Akmal b Jason Holder 0
Nelon Pascal not out 4
Extras: (4w, 2nb) 6
Total: 152 All Out (19.4 overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-57, 2-81, 3-95, 4-104, 5-105, 6-129, 7-134, 8-148, 9-148, 10-152.
Bowling: Shannon Gabriel 2-0-25-0 (1w, 1nb), Jason Holder 4-0-43-2, Shakib Al Hasan 2-0-29-0 (2w), Ashley Nurse 4-0-18-2 (1w), Rayad Emrit 4-0-20-2 (1nb), Shoaib Malik 1-0-2-1, Kieron Pollard 2.4 0-15-3.
Toss: Barbados Tridents who decided to bat
Result: Barbados Tridents won by 17 runs
Points: Barbados Tridents 2, St Lucia Zouks 0
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