Saturday, December 16, 2017

Queen’s Park ease past Tableland to reach final

It was more a summer stroll than a romp, but Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) moved within one step of regaining the NGC-sponsored T20 Cricket Festival, reaching tonight’s final with a five-wicket win over Jenexcon Tableland yesterday at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain.

Kevon Cooper, fresh from the Indian Premier League (IPL) where his team Rajasthan Royals only just missed out on a playoff spot on run rate, thumped a 42-ball 51 to lead the charge after Fidel Edwards led the “Parkites” bowling to restrict Tableland to 131 for eight, which made for a comfortable chase with eight balls to spare.

Tableand didn’t help their cause with some lax fielding in defending a hardly daunting total, and a pair of dropped catches by William Perkins and Kjorn Ottley summed up their afternoon.

It also left QPCC in a good mood to relax and watch last night’s late semi-final, which would have determined whom they will face between PowerGen and unbeaten Merry Boys.

PowerGen are the defending champions after dethroning Queen’s Park in last year’s final.

Devindra Krishna was Tableland’s best bowler, taking two for 29 in his four overs, but Tableland simply needed more runs to challenge for that final berth.

Cooper came out early with the loss of Justin Guillen, who took Daniel St Clair for two fours in the first over but was stifled by Amir Khan in the second, and then chased St Clair into the hands of wicketkeeper Steven Taylor in the third.

The lanky Cooper took some time to warm up with a few singles, before slapping his first boundary to the cover fence. He followed it up with another four on the leg side and rode his luck with a few streaky shots before helping Queen’s Park bring up their 50 with a paper-thin edge for four.

Even after losing opener Sherwin Peters (14), Cooper continued opening his shoulders to bring Queen’s Park to 100, his best shots being two big sixes over long off, one resulting in a lost ball.

By the time he was out for 51, Queen’s Park were 96 for three and the target was in sight.

Tableland never gave up, though, grabbing two more cheap wickets in Marlon Barclay (12) and Jonathan Augustus (seven). The result, though, was never in doubt, as Akeal Hosein (29 not out) took QPCC home.

Tableland would have seen their match slipping away at 50 for five after Edwards had ripped into their top order. He bowled Evin Lewis for one and forced an edge from Lewis’s opening partner Perkins (nine) and also got Steven Taylor for duck in between.

Ottley and Elijah St Clair tried to build things back with a 33-run stand, but once St Clair was outfoxed by Amit Jaggernauth and Tableland captain Lincoln Roberts was dismissed for one, it was all but over.

Ottley revived the innings with a stand of 27 with Amir Khan (15), but after losing his partner, he too went attempting a third lusty blow for six.

Andre Brown (14) took advantage of poor QPCC fielding to get a few runs and Daniel St Clair (30 not out) played a counter-attacking innings that included two mighty sixes to help Tableland to a total worth defending.

Still, it wasn’t enough and Queen’s Park return for tonight’s final at seven o’clock at the Oval.