It was a win, a loss, and a thrill for a fair crowd that delighted in Trinidad and Tobago's brilliant comeback win over Bangladesh in the curtain closer of the "Asia vs the Caribbean" series on Saturday night at Queen's Park Oval.
With a mature display of courage and determination, Man-of-the-Match Yannick Ottley, with 52 not out, supported by the composed figure of fellow all-rounder Sherwin Ganga (40 not out) in an unbroken 79-run stand, dug T&T out of a big hole, from 12 for five to 129 for six and a four-wicket victory.
Ottley made sure the match did not go down to the last ball, belting the third one of the final over bowled by Shakib Al Hasan, for a big six over midwicket.
The shot cost Bangladesh the series title and $US 50,000. After a long delay to verify the figures, the title went to little-fancied Afghanistan, much to the disbelief of the Bangladeshis. Afghanistan had earlier in the day seen off an ordinary Barbados with aplomb to book their second win of the tournament.
T&T (0.105), Afghanistan (0.402) and Bangladesh (0.105) each finished with two wins from their three matches, and the Afghans had the edge on net run rate, while Barbados ended without a point.
Against T&T, the Bangladeshis, sent in to bat, started fast, stumbled hard, and then recovered late to hand T&T a competitive target of 125, and to make the match more interesting, ten overs in which to claim the series on run rate.
T&T took up the challenge. But once big-hitting opener William Perkins was gone without scoring off the third ball of the innings, his steepling heave-ho landing in the safe arms of Shakib at cover, the slide began.
Justin Guillen replaced the injured Evin Lewis at number three, but failed to trouble the scorers, while Adrian Barath (five) struggled before edging one to the wicketkeeper.
Daren Ganga went similarly for one, and Navin Stewart — promoted to give the innings impetus — turned from hero with the bat a night before versus Barbados to villain, playing all over a Razzak delivery.
The score was then 12 for five in the sixth over.
Jason Mohammed and Sherwin Ganga consolidated with a partnership of 39, as the hopeful home crowd cheered them on.
It was Mohammed who started the counter-attack, slamming big sixes to midwicket off Mahmadullah and Abdur Razzak. He and Sherwin took T&T to 51 before Mohammed was gone for a well-played 24, caught behind of Abul Hasan.
He showed his intent in that very over with a hit over midwicket. But he and Ganga also ran the ones and twos well, and frustrated the fielders.
In the 17th over, Ottley went again, this time Mahmadullah getting a taste with another six, before bringing up the 100 with two off Elias Sunny, followed by a cut for four that sent the crowd wild.
Next over Sherwin, unsettled by the excellent left-arm spinner Razzak (three wickets for three runs of his first three overs), pulled off the reverse sweep to the ropes at third man, and then Ottley further spoiled Razzak's figures with a straight six. That over cost 14 runs.
That left the simple task of five runs in the final over, and after a couple of singles, Ottley fittingly carted Shakib for six to reach his fifty.
In their innings Bangladesh too were in trouble at 69 for five after Mahmadullah's attempt at the 'Dilscoop' off Sherwin Ganga's last ball went all wrong.
Spinners Ganga (right-arm orthodox) and Ottley (left-arm orthodox) had pulled back the match with the ball too, after pacers Shannon Gabriel and Navin Stewart were punished by Mohammad Ashraful early on.
Ganga had opener Junaid Siddique and captain Rahim out with big swipes, and Ottley tempted Ashraful (30, four fours, one six) into a false stroke, bowling him, before also accounting for the dangerous Shakib.
But Nasir Hossain and Rahman did the repair work, running some cheeky singles. T&T too were sloppy in the field, missing a few run outs and a stumping, as Ottley and Stewart put down catches.
Still, they kept things down to a manageable total, with chinaman bowler Dave Mohammed coming in late and grabbing figures of three for 17 off his four overs.
It meant T&T had a shot at the title, one that slipped away in a few careless overs. But with courage and class, they rallied to a deserving victory.