Fighting for their lives in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League, the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel lost the battle last evening at Warner, Park, St Kitts.
Andre Russell, coming to the crease with the defending champions Jamaica Talllawahs heading out of the competition at 72 for five in the 13th over, reprised his “Superman” role with a devastating, knock of 62 off 27 balls to blunt the Steel and send Dwayne Bravo’s side crashing out of the competition at the semi-final stage.
Playing for the chance to meet the Guyana Amazon Warriors in another semi-final playoff today, the Red Steel saw their hopes disappear into the night sky as Man-of-the-Match Russell clobbered four sixes and five fours to snatch victory from defeat.
He added 82 off just 40 balls with Rusty Theron (18 not out), who smacked skipper Bravo for six to end the match with two balls remaining. Both men were dropped by Evin Lewis in the last two overs of the match.
It was a crushing end for a Red Steel side, forced to play without key bowler Samuel Badree who had a damaged shoulder, especially after Shannon Gabriel was fortunate to win an lbw verdict against Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle in the first over of the champions’ pursuit of 156 for victory.
When they batted, the Red Steel suffered stutters both at the start and the finish of their innings.
They lost the first three in the innings---Kevin O’Brien (118), Lewis (18) and the recalled Nasir Jamshed (four) for 36 runs by the end of the Powerplay at six overs. And after innings top scorer Ross Taylor (70 off 44 balls) and Darren Bravo (33 off 35 balls) had dragged the innings back to respectability with a fourth wicket partnership of 110 in 12 overs and four balls, the Red Steel lost momentum over the last two overs, scratching together just nine runs in total while losing Taylor, Bravo and Nicholas Pooran in the space of three runs.
The Tallawahs had seemed to have had the match well in hand at that stage. At the start of the match, after Gayle had won the toss decided to field first, Dave Bernard Jr gave the Tallawahs the advantage by having O’Brien caught at slip by Gayle and Jamshed and Lewis caught off identical pull shots to Nkrumah Bonner on the square-leg boundary. However, the Tallawahs were guilty of giving chances to both Taylor (27) and Bravo (five).
Those misses nearly back to hurt them, but they were saved by Russell, Theron and those late Red Steel misses.
T&T Red Steel vs Jamaica Tallawahs
T&T Red Steel Inns
K O’Brien c Gayle b Bernard 11
E Lewis c Bonner b Bernard 18
N Jamshed c Bonner b Bernard 4
R Taylor c Taylor b Theron 70
DM Bravo c Bonner b Theron 33
N Pooran c Theron b Russell 3
DJ Bravo not out 2
K Cooper not out 1
Extras: (W12, NB1) 13
Total: (for six wickets, 20 overs) 155
Did not bat: J Mohammed, S Benn, S Gabriel
Wickets at: 18 (O’Brien), 34 (Jamshed), 36 (Lewis), 146 (Taylor), 148 (DM Bravo), 151 (Pooran)
Bowling: Vettori 3-0-21-0 (2w), Bernard 4-0-19-3 (1w), Taylor 4-0-41-0 (4w), Russell 4-0-37-1 (1nb, 4w), Theron 4-0-32-2, Miller 1-0-5-0 (1w)
Jamaica Tallawahs Inns
C Gayle lbw Gabriel 1
C Walton c Mohammed b Benn 8
N Bonner run out 39
A Voges run out 1
J Blackwood lbw Benn 4
D Bernard c Taylor b Benn 6
A Russell not out 62
J Theron not out 18
Extras: (LB1, W18) 19
Total: (for six wickets, 19.4 overs) 158
Wickets at: 3 (Gayle), 24 (Walton), 25 (Voges), 39 (Blackwood), 72 (Bernard), 76 (Bonner)
Bowling: Gabriel 4-0-33-1 (3w), DJ Bravo 3.4-0-35-0 (3w), Benn 4-0-27-3 (1w), Cooper 4-1-25-0, Mohammed 4-0-37-0 (6w)
Result: Jamaica Tallawahs won by four wickets
Man of the match: Andre Russell