Saturday 19th July 2014 – St. John’s, Antigua: The runs flowed in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League match between Antigua Hawksbills and Barbados Tridents, with the number three batsmen for both sides making significant contributions. Marlon Samuels top scored with 84 off 54 balls, but it was not enough to prevent his team’s third defeat in the tournament as the Antiguans’ innings lost momentum in the face of some excellent death bowling from Ravi Rampaul. Instead it was Pakistan’s, Shoaib Malik, who played the match winning innings – his 72 runs seeing the Tridents to victory.
The Hawksbills started slowly with Danza Hyatt struggling to give his team any momentum, especially against the spin of Akeal Hosein. The slow left armer could have picked up the wicket of Hyatt in his first over when he failed to hold a relatively simple caught and bowled chance. Hosein’s next over saw Hyatt play out a maiden over as he couldn’t find a way to get off strike. This pedestrian beginning to the innings was ended with Hyatt’s departure when he fell to Ravi Rampaul, bowled by a ball that kept low that he should have come forward to.
The arrival of the Hawksbills captain Samuels changed things as he wasted no time in increasing the scoring rate. He put together a partnership of 83 with Australian Ben Dunk, but Samuels was very much the main contributor scoring 58 of those runs. The most striking of the shots that Samuels played was a short arm pull off Rayad Emrit that disappeared over straight long off for six.
Samuels’ innings was not without fortune. He should have been run out on 48 when he attempted a high risk run and was sent back by his partner. He would have been five yards short of his crease, but instead two overthrows brought up his fifty. He may have departed on 59 when a ball he edged off the bowling of Kieron Pollard fell agonisingly short of the wicket keeper.
The Tridents’ big fast bowler Jason Holder was the man that took most of the punishment, his third over proving his most expensive, going for 17 runs as David Hussey hit him for two fours and a six. Ravi Rampaul also came in for some tap, with his penultimate over going for 20 runs. This was followed by an excellent final over of his spell, where he picked up three wickets for just two runs, dismissing both Samuels and the well set David Hussey. But for this excellent bowling at the death, the Tridents could well have been chasing closer to 200 rather than the 173 they were set. Ultimately this low scoring end to the Hawksbills innings was the difference between the two teams.
From the very start of their innings, the visitors seemed to have this chase under control. Barbados Tridents openers, Shane Dowrich and Dwayne Smith, both got away to flying starts in an attempt to break the back of this target in the power play. Dowrich was bowled by the pacey Sheldon Cottrell, while Smith was brilliantly caught at third man by Miguel Cummins.
Pakistani overseas player, Shoaib Malik, took over where the openers had left off, even matching Samuels amazing pulled six over long off with one of his own. He paced his innings perfectly, as the Hawksbills struggled to exert any control over the visitors. Only veteran wrist spinner Brad Hogg found a way to check the scoring, as his wily googlies and leg spinners went for 28 runs off his four overs.
Malik was ably supported in his efforts, first by Jeevan Mendis and then Kieron Pollard as the Tridents completed the victory with four balls to spare. When Pollard fell in the 17th over to a ball that would have been called wide but which he edged behind, there would have been some concern for the Tridents that they would fall short. Those worries would have intensified when Malik was run out going for an ill judged two. Jason Holder had other ideas as he hit two sixes to finish the game, including the winning runs which were hit over the rope off Cottrell.