Trinidad and Tobago opening batsman Jeremy Solozano hit a match-winning 80 to lead Queen’s Park Cricket Club II to third place in the Championship Division Twenty20 competition yesterday, anchoring the Port of Spain Club to a close three-wicket win over Victoria United in the third place playoff at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre.
After restricting Victoria to 163 for seven off their 20 overs, Solozano took charge of the chase for the Parkites B team, batting through the innings to bring home the win in the final over of the match.
He kept them in the hunt throughout, stepping up with some big shots to keep his team’s hopes alive after losing two early wickets.
Solozano and Nicholas Arthur (36) shared a 56-run stand to bring the North team back into contention, taking the score from 44 for two in the fifth over to 100 for two in the 13th.
It took a brilliant one-handed catch by Brandon Jaggernath at long-on to finally break the third-wicket partnership as Arthur attempted to go over the top off the bowling of Rajindra Dhanraj.
It was still anybody’s game at that stage, but the pendulum swung in Queen’s Park’s favour in the 15th over which started off with the Parkites needing 53 to win.
Solozano smacked former West Indies spinner Dhanraj for two sixes over midwicket to take the score to 127 and bring the equation down to 36 needed off the last five.
Despite losing four quick wickets coming down to the end of the chase, Solozano held his nerve to seal the victory with his winning knock coming off 52 balls. He hit eight fours and two sixes.
Earlier, Victoria, who had won the toss and elected to bat first, also started on the back foot after losing opener Andres Sankar run out for zero with the score on eight.
But some brilliant counterattacking cricket from Krishendath Ramoo (69 off 54 balls) and Shatroghan Rambarran (37 off 30 balls) brought the South Championship team back into the match.
The counterattack started with Ramoo, who hit pacer Israel Canning for a straight six followed by a four to the long-on boundary in the sixth over.
Rambarran joined in with six off pacer Sherwin Peters over midwicket, then one over wide long-on before missing a reverse sweep.
The left-handed Rambarran welcomed left-arm spinner Nico Adams with six over midwicket before finding Jeremy Solozano at long-on off the bowling of leg-spinner Jesse Bootan for 37.
Marcelle Jones picked up where Rambarran left off.
Jones upped the tempo with three sixes and a four off right arm pacer Shakeel Johnson in the 17th over to boost the total before he was finally caught by Rosales off Adams for 42 which came off 25 balls and included fours sixes and two fours.
By the time Jones departed, the score had moved on to a competitive 139 for three and it was the opener Ramoo who took them over the 150 mark. He brought up his 50 off 44 balls with a four to deep midwicket off Peters before being run out for 69 in the final over.
But in the end, his effort was not enough to secure the win.
The Parkites pocketed $15,000 for their third place finish while Victoria went home with $10,000.
In yesterday’s late match, Jenexcon Tableland were in action against Valiants Sports in an all-South Championship T20 final for a first prize of $50,000.
Victoria Sports 163/7 (20 overs) (Krishendath Ramoo 69, Marcelle Jones 42, Shatroghan Rambarran 37; Nico Adams 2/24) vs QPCC 2 167/7 (19.4 overs) (Jeremy Solozano 80 n.o., Nicholas Arthur 36; Raffick Hosein 3/30, Marcelle Jones 2/32) QPCC won by three wkts Man-of-the-Match: Jeremy Solozano (QPCC II)