T&T Red Force captain Kieron Pollard signalled his intention of lighting up the Super50 Cup tournament with a stroke-filled innings in a practice match at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, Port-of-Spain on Wednesday.
The Kieron Pollard XI faced an Imran Khan XI in what was the final practise match in front of the selection committee headed by Rajendra Mangalie, before the 15-man squad was selected that will travel to Antigua for the competition on Jnauray 26.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, the Pollard XI found themselves in real trouble at 41 for four. But for Jyd Goolie’s 19, the top order had caved in. However, as Ramdin and Pollard met at the crease, the veteran pair would put on a 100-run stand to get the innings back on track. Ramdin was much more circumspect than Pollard, who was pummeling the Khan XI’s bowling attack to all parts of the ground. Ramdin was run out on 22.
But it was Pollard at the other end that did all the damage for his side. The right-handed all-rounder bludgeoned eight sixes and three fours particularly going after spinner Imran Khan during his knock. The Parkite struck 95 runs from 86 balls. A yorker from pacer Terrence Hinds bowled the skipper as he fell five runs short of his century.
His side would be bowled out for 190 runs in 42.2 overs. Both Hinds and Anderson Phillip ended with three wickets each. In response, the Khan XI was also in early trouble at 57 for three.
However, Isaiah Rajah and Dwayne Bravo came together in a crucial 75-run stand that saw the chase get back on track. While Bravo hit 42 runs from 60 balls, Rajah struck an unbeaten 61 runs from 96 balls exuding temperament at the crease. Rajah hit three fours and a six while Bravo struck three fours and as many sixes. Rajah would stay to the end to ensure the Khan XI got the victory by four wickets as they ended on 191 for six winning with 29 balls to spare.
After the game, as the selectors went about picking the squad privately, Khan was happy with how the practice matches and sessions went. He told Guardian Media Sports, “The preparation was good and most of the guys are fully fit which is really good going forward. Sometimes with the weather, we couldn’t do much about it but the games that we got to play the guys capitalized on the opportunity and we’ve seen some of the younger guys put their hands up for selection as well. All in all, a few weeks before the tournament we are where we want to be.”
Meanwhile, Bravo, a veteran of the sport, who is serving as a mentor on the team for the tournament said it was important, he gives back to his country.
He said: “This position is not a position I’m looking to take a coach’s job. I am offering my services because I know after T10 I will have a window before I get myself ready for the Sri Lanka series so I told the board that I’m available to be with the squad and pass on my knowledge, support my national team and my captain.”
Bravo will not initially travel with the team to Antigua but may join them later.
POLLARD XI: 190 (42.2 ov). K. Pollard 95, D. Ramdin 42; A. Phillip 3-22, T. Hinds 3-24, R. Emrit 2-23 lost to KHAN XI: 191/6 (45.1 ov). I. Rajah 61, D. Bravo 42, T. Hinds 25; B. Charles 2-39. KHAN XI won by four wickets.