If the Barbados Tridents do not get into this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League playoffs they will have an implosion of epic proportions on Monday night at the Kensington Oval to blame for it.
This after one of the most horrendous batting displays thus in the tournament saw them fall to a five-run loss to the struggling Jamaica Tallawahs in a match it was easier to win than lose on their home turf.
After restricting the Tallawahs to just 127 in their 20 overs, one of the lowest totals this season, the Tridents batsmen simply panicked after finding scoring slow in the first 10 overs and collapsed to the spin of Imran Khan (3/19) and medium pace of Shamar Springer (3/32) in the second half of their innings to be restricted 122 for nine.
The result caused a major shake-up in the bottom half of the six-team table, as the Tallawahs joined the Tridents in joint fourth spot on four points. Leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors had already qualified for the playoffs with their maximum 12 points going into Monday night, while the Trinbago Knight Riders (9 pts) remained second and the St Kitts Nevis Patriots (8 pts) third.
However, it was Man-of-the-match Springer who blew the game wide open to make the Tallawahs win possible. Brought on in the 13th over by skipper Chadwick Walton to take wickets, Springer got immediate results when he removed Jonathan Carter. Carter tried an uppercut to a rising slower delivery outside the off stump from Springer, didn’t get the timing right and the ball looped up to towards George Worker, who took a well-judged catch. Carter was gone for 17 as the Tridents slumped to 74 for four.
The home fans weren’t as concerned just yet but Springer struck again in his next over, removing the normally dangerous Johnson Charles, caught at deep mid-wicket by Dwayne Smith for an uncharacteristic 35-ball 31 with just three fours.
Skipper Jason Holder, who would have watched on as his teammates got themselves out, then inexplicably tried a wild pull shot at leg-break specialist Khan, top-edged it and was taken by a diving wicket-keeper Glenn Phillips at square leg.
Holder was out for just two and the Tridents now in real trouble at 81 for six in the 16th over and their best batsmen back in the pavilion with 47 runs needed then off 29 balls.
Things only got worse from there. Springer then pushed a quicker bouncer through to Ashley Nurse (4) who was late on his pull shot and gloved one behind, where the ball was gleefully accepted by Phillips as the Tridents slumped to 84-7.
Khan then got the burley Roshon Primus (2) to run down the wicket going for a big drive out the ground which he missed and was stumped by Phillips as Tridents imploded to 90-8
Still, some late big hitting heroics from Raymon Reifer gave the Tridents some hope.
Reifer hit Springer for a six and two fours in the 19th over, which produced 15 runs, to take Tridents into the final over needing another 15 for a come-from-behind win. After Sandeep Lamichhane got a single off medium-pacer Smith, who was surprisingly given the last over responsibility, Reifer hit the second ball for six and the next one for two. However, Smith outfoxed him with a slower fourth ball outside the off stump and he could only reach as far as Springer at deep cover with the shot. Reifer hit a 12-ball 26 including two fours and two maximums and his innings only showed the recognised batsmen the folly of their ways earlier.
Smith then bowled two dot balls to Lamichhane to seal a win the Tallawahs desperately needed.
Earlier, Tridents got a brilliant start when Holder removed Tallawahs talisman Chris Gayle for just one run. Holder delivered a ball lined on off stump and coming back at him and Gayle tried to play a cut shot although cramped for room and succeeded only in chopping it onto his stumps.
Chadwick Walton was in next but he didn't last very long before he was dismissed in the fifth over thanks to a brilliant piece of fielding from Ashley Nurse. Walton ran down to leg-break specialist Sandeep Lamichhane's second delivery and was almost yorked but managed to squeeze the ball towards the slip region. However, Nurse dived brilliantly to his right to pluck the ball out of the air just before it hit the turf on its way to what would have been at least two runs as Tallawahs were reduced to 35-2.
With no Andre Russell in the line-up, there was now no one to work with Glenn Phillips to initiate a recovery for the Tallawahs. But Tridents did not take their foot off the Tallawahs' necks either as JP Duminy and Lamichhane combined to remove George Worker (6) and Dwayne Smith (1) in the eighth and ninth overs respectively as the Tallawahs slumped to 55-5.
And when Phillips himself was out, caught behind by Johnson Charles off medium-pacer Raymon Reifer for a well-played 41 with five fours and a six, it was a question of how much the Tallawahs tailenders could muster for them. They managed 50 runs and thanks to their bowlers later on, it proved just enough.
JAMAICA TALLAWAHS 127 all out (20) (Glenn Phillip 41, Ramaal Lewis 27*, Sandeep Lamichhane 2/17, Jason Holder 2/21, Raymon Reifer 2/31) v BARBADOS TRIDENTS 122-9 (20) (Johnson Charles 31, Raymon Reifer 26, Imran Khan 3/19, Shamar Springer 3/32, Dwayne Smith 2-22)
Result: TRIDENTS WON BY 5 RUNS
Man-of-the-match: Shamar Springer (JT)