Durham 37 for 4 (Sanderson 3-20) trail Northamptonshire 217 (Rossington 82, Rushworth 5-68) by 180 runs
Adam Rossington produced a murderous counterattack to revive Northamptonshire on the opening day of their crucial Specsavers County Championship promotion clash with Durham at Wantage Road.
Asked to bat in bowling conditions that couldn’t have been better designed, Northants were listing at 150 for 8 after Chris Rushworth‘s fourth five-wicket haul of the season before captain Rossington struck 60 in just 22 balls to rescue a batting point. He was last out for 82 but pushed his side to 217. Ben Sanderson then put Northants on top with three wickets as Durham slipped to 37 for 4 when bad curtailed the day.
Rossington targeted the short leg-side boundary towards the Clark Road and shuffled across his stumps to slog sweep seven sixes – three of them in one over from Brydon Carse that went for 27 and four off Rushworth, including the biggest that brought up the batting point.
It was the perfect time for a captain’s innings and gave Northants something to bowl at, which looked unlikely when Rushworth ran through them after lunch. Conditions were tailor-made for he and the Durham attack with a heavy grey cloud clinging over the ground and the floodlights the only reason play was possible. Ned Eckersley could have declined the toss from the changing room.
But the visitors did not initially do justice to conditions and allowed Northants to reach 99 for 1 just after lunch. But Durham located a more consistent length and Rushworth’s first wicket began a severe slide of 7 for 51 in 21.1 overs.
He found the breakthrough with a delivery that jagged back sharply off the seam to pluck out Alex Wakely’s off stump as he perfectly justifiably shouldered arms. Two balls later Rob Keogh edged an away-swinger to fall for a second-ball duck after a match-winning innings last week.
Rushworth also nipped one through Ben Curran’s defences, who was rather caught on the crease in losing his off stump for a battling 36. After tea, Doug Bracewell was pinned by a nip-backer for 1 and the five-wicket haul was completed by one that bounced to take the shoulder of Brett Hutton’s bat to point.
Ben Raine also went to 50 wickets in a season for the second time with his 3 for 57, having Rob Newton caught at slip for 26, Luke Procter caught behind first ball after tea for 8 and Gareth Berg bowled off his gloves as he tried to avoid another ball that bounced a little.
But after Rossington’s brilliance gave his side a useful score, and momentum, the Northants bowlers made inroads much earlier then Durham managed.
Sanderson got one to straighten on Cameron Steel who edged low to Hutton at third slip for 7 and lured Alex Lees, on 15, into flicking across a full delivery to provide Alex Wakely with a catch at first slip. A nip-backer then trapped Angus Robson lbw for 9.
Gareth Berg also produced a big inswinger that won a leg before decision against Championship debutant BJ Watling. The New Zealander walked off for a third-ball duck as Northants ended the day much the stronger.
Recent Match Report – Barbados Tridents vs Guyana Amazon Warriors, Caribbean Premier League, Final
Barbados Tridents 171 for 6 (Carter 50*, Charles 39, Tahir 1-24) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 144 for 9 (King 43, Reifer 4-24, Nurse 2-17, Gurney 2-24) by 27 runs
When the New England Patriots defeated the New York Giants 38-35 to end the 2007 NFL regular season, they became the first American Football team to go undefeated since the league expanded to a 16-game format. But the game exposed vulnerabilities that gave the Giants a blueprint to beat the Patriots in their rematch in Super Bowl XLII 17-14.
Last Sunday, Guyana Amazon Warriors defeated Barbados Tridents to take their CPL record unbeaten streak to 11 matches by posting 218 for 3 behind Brandon King’s record century. What was lost in the shuffle of that match was that the Tridents actually made a serious fist of the chase, ending on 188 with Jonathan Carter top-scoring to make 49 off 26, as some vulnerabilities started to appear.
Bucking the T20 trend of teams opting to chase, Tridents’ success through much of CPL 2019 has been in defending totals. Given a chance to bat first in the CPL Final at Brian Lara Academy, Carter produced a stirring roundhouse kidney punch that stopped Amazon Warriors dead in their tracks. Unable to dance around the ring, Amazon Warriors’ chase was floored by a collective effort from Jason Holder’s bowling unit, as the Tridents produced a stunning upset to claim their second CPL title, and first since 2014, by knocking off the Warriors to thwart their undefeated title bid and a fifth CPL final loss.
Having to go without their second-leading scorer JP Duminy, who sat out with a hamstring injury picked up in Thursday’s win over Trinbago Knight Riders, Tridents got off to a solid start in the first ten overs to reach 76 for 3. But after Shai Hope fell in the 12th over, the chase went haywire with Shakib Al Hasan involved in a pair of runouts.
The first came four balls after Hope’s wicket as Holder flicked to deep midwicket. Shakib hared down three strides ahead of Holder for the first run and was already a quarter of the way back for a second before Holder had turned at the non-striker’s end. Keemo Paul had covered the ground well to field and relay to Nicholas Pooran over the striker’s stumps as Holder came back reluctantly in response to Shakib and wound up being out by a foot.
Shakib created an identical situation with Carter two overs later after the latter drove out to extra cover. Once again, Shakib was three steps ahead and started coming back for a second run, but Carter was slow getting out of the crease after striking the ball and wasn’t interested in the second, but made his decision too late for Shakib. This time Paul’s throw dragged Pooran well away from the stumps but Shakib had given up and the keeper’s throw from five yards away was true, leaving the score 109 for 6 with 31 balls left.
Upset the Apple Cart(er)
Against the Knight Riders on Thursday, Ashley Nurse and Raymon Reifer plundered 43 off the last two overs to salvage a floundering innings and get up past 160 on a traditionally low-scoring ground. On this occasion, it was Nurse and Carter who resurrected the Tridents in the waning overs.
Carter took the lead with a trio of fabulous straight drives for six before and another over midwicket. The bulk of that came in the 19th over off Paul, who leaked 17 in the frame as momentum swung sharply toward Tridents. Nurse then took his swipes at Romario Shepherd in the 20th with a six and four to start the final over before Carter struck a two to bring up a 26-ball half-century as Tridents ended with 63 off the last 31 balls to post a total that looked like it was well above par based on past evidence.
USA 3, rest of CPL 2
Coming into the final, Shoaib Malik had only been dismissed four times in 11 innings. Two of those came at the hands of Knight Riders fast bowler Ali Khan and Tridents legspinner Hayden Walsh Jr., the only two Americans playing in the tournament. Walsh Jr. added Shoaib for a second time on Saturday night to cap his season with a tournament-best 22 wickets in just nine matches.
After Raymon Reifer had set back Amazon Warriors in the Powerplay with the wickets of Chandrapaul Hemraj and Shimron Hetmyer, Shoaib came to the middle but was not his usual fluent self. After reaching 4 off 10 balls, he got a half-tracker from Walsh Jr. that should have gone for six but failed to get the elevation, a microcosm of his lack of rhythm on the night as he picked out Reifer at deep midwicket. It put Walsh Jr. on the path to ensure an American would raise the CPL trophy for the second year in a row after Khan with Knight Riders in 2018.
The Warriors were still in with a chance of overhauling the target as long as the tournament’s leading scorer was at the crease. Brandon King was looking sharp but struggled for support at the other end, causing him to lose patience. On the last ball of the 11th over, King charged impetuously at Nurse and turned a full ball into a yorker, playing over the top as it slid past leg stump for a simple stumping by Hope.
Another half-tracker claimed another big scalp for the second time in the chase as Pooran toe-slapped a long hop from Nurse to Alex Hales at long-on. Harry Gurney and Reifer then continued to whittle through the middle order until 41 were required off 12 balls. Paul holed out to long-on off Gurney in the 19th and with 33 needed off the last over, Reifer mathematically clinched it by having Chris Green slashing an edge behind, giving him the best bowling figures ever in a CPL Final.
With their backs against the wall playing a de-facto elimination match in the penultimate game of the regular season against St. Lucia Zouks, Tridents stormed back to life and by the end, snuffing out Amazon Warriors’ fairy-tale season with a Cinderella finish of their own.
Match Preview – Barbados Tridents vs Guyana Amazon Warriors, Caribbean Premier League 2019, Final
When most of us think of CPL star power on the domestic player front, the first names that roll off the tongue are of Andre Russell, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine and the like. But this year’s tournament has suggested that a change of guard maybe on the cards, with none of those big names taking part in the final, to be played between perennial bridesmaids Guyana Amazon Warriors and a resurgent Barbados Tridents.
In past years, the Amazon Warriors have fallen short after building their team around overseas stars like Rashid Khan, Martin Guptill and Chris Lynn. Most of their additions during draft time in 2019 may have flown under the radar, but coach Johan Botha has cultivated incredible chemistry to produce the most remarkable winning streak in CPL history, currently standing at 11 matches.
Yes, the Amazon Warriors have their share of established talent. Captain Shoaib Malik has provided metronomic consistency in the middle order with 313 runs at an average of 78.25. Imran Tahir‘s manic sprints have shown few signs of slowing down with each wicket celebration, leading the team with 15 scalps. Chris Green has been miserly and incisive with his new-ball offspin. Nicholas Pooran, Sherfane Rutherford and Shimron Hetmyer have provided the muscle and flair to give them the late kick when needed.
But their improbable record is equally due to the contributions from a number of unheralded and often underappreciated players. Brandon King was taken in the ninth round of the 2019 draft in the traditional US$ 15,000 slot but he is the tournament’s leading scorer with 453 runs. Romario Shepherd was taken a round later in the US$ 10,000 position but has needled opposition batsmen with 12 wickets to stem momentum in the middle overs. Chandrapaul Hemraj lasted until round 13 in a US$ 5,000 slot, yet has been a handy foil for King at the top of the order and has also chipped in with key overs of left-arm spin in the powerplay, like the 3 for 15 to plough through the defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders.
The Tridents’ record has a few more blemishes, but their formula to reach the final has not been much different. Johnson Charles, discarded by West Indies in 2016, has powered their starts with a team-leading 376 runs. In the same vein as Malik, Tridents captain Jason Holder has been a source of inspiration not just with his 14 wickets, third-highest in the tournament, but for shrewd bowling changes and some special fielding, especially at long-on and long-off in the slog overs.
Though the management misfired with their first overall selection at the draft in the form of Alex Hales, who has yet to score a fifty, coach Phil Simmons has made wise decisions in his choice of replacement players after the draft. Shakib Al Hasan‘s nuggety knocks and tidy spells have been a late-season bonus. JP Duminy has been a reassuring presence in the middle order and fired the tournament’s fastest fifty against the Knight Riders. Harry Gurney‘s variations have thrown big-hitters out of sync at the death.
The Tridents’ bargain shopping has trumped the Amazon Warriors’ by some distance too. Raymon Reifer, who iced the semi-final against the Knight Riders by trapping Seekkuge Prasanna for his tenth wicket of the season, was taken in round 14 for US$ 5000. The Tridents mined a diamond in the final round with their US$ 3000 ICC Americas pick, taking USA’s Hayden Walsh Jr., who is not only the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 21 in eight matches, but has been the event’s most electric fielder. Just ask Pollard, who fell victim to a momentum-shifting run-out by Walsh Jr. on Thursday night.
Saturday night might not be as raucous an occasion at the Brian Lara Academy without the host franchise involved. But there’s no doubt it will be a memorable one as the Amazon Warriors pursue perfection while the Tridents try to pull off an upset.
Guyana Amazon Warriors WWWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Barbados Tridents WLWWL
In the spotlight
Coming into CPL 2019, 24-year-old Brandon King had just one fifty and 267 runs in 14 career T20 innings. But he has four 50-plus scores in his last seven matches. He broke Russell’s record on Sunday for the highest score in CPL history, bashing an unbeaten 132 off 72 balls with 11 fours and ten sixes. It was an innings that brought coach Botha to tears, but the tournament’s most improved batsman was restrained in his celebrations, an indication that he may have bigger plans in store for the final.
Hayden Walsh Jr. entered the season as the back-up legspinner to Sandeep Lamichhane, the same role he served when the pair was together in 2018 at St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. But when Lamichhane left after the sixth match for national duty with Nepal, Walsh Jr. got an opportunity to come back into the line-up and exploded with a five-wicket haul against the Knight Riders. Walsh Jr. now has a CPL-best 21 in eight matches, has never taken fewer than two wickets in any game, and is a spark plug at backward point.
The only reason the Amazon Warriors may change the line-up that beat the Tridents in the qualifier is if they feel they need another variation bowler at the death. Ben Laughlin is a candidate if so, but if it ain’t broke, they are unlikely to fix it.
Guyana Amazon Warriors (probable XI): 1 Brandon King, 2 Chandrapaul Hemraj, 3 Shimron Hetmyer, 4 Shoaib Malik (capt), 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Sherfane Rutherford, 7 Keemo Paul, 8 Chris Green, 9 Romario Shepherd, 10 Odean Smith, 11 Imran Tahir
The Tridents leadership will be sweating over Duminy’s fitness after he had to retire hurt with what appeared to be a hamstring injury during his innings on Thursday against the Knight Riders. If he can’t go, the most likely alternative is Justin Greaves, who scored a half-century earlier this season when Hales left temporarily for the T20 Vitality Blast final.
Barbados Tridents (probable XI): 1 Alex Hales, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Shai Hope (wk), 5 JP Duminy/Justin Greaves, 6 Jonathan Carter, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Raymon Reifer, 9 Ashley Nurse, 10 Hayden Walsh Jr., 11 Harry Gurney
Pitch and conditions
The Tridents fielders looked like they were on ice skates at times in the outfield, which had excessive dew after Thursday’s qualifier playoff was pushed back to 8.15pm local time due to transportation problems the Tridents experienced making the drive south from Port-of-Spain to Tarouba. But the final is scheduled for a 5pm start, making the dew less of a factor. The Brian Lara Academy pitch has regularly been challenging for batsmen, and scoring more than 150 batting first hasn’t been easy.
Stats and trivia
The Tridents’ only CPL title came in 2014, when they beat the Amazon Warriors in the final in St Kitts by eight runs (DLS method). Current Amazon Warriors captain Malik was Man of the Match in the final for the Tridents, scoring an unbeaten 55 off 42 balls. That loss by the Amazon Warriors was the second of four runner-up finishes, including last year.
The tournament’s leading wicket-taker has been a part of the champion squad on three occasions: Krishmar Santokie (16) for Jamaica Tallawahs in 2013, Dwayne Bravo (28) for Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel in 2015, and Fawad Ahmed (22) for the Knight Riders in 2018. Only once has the tournament’s leading scorer played for the champion team: Colin Munro (567 runs) in 2018 for the Knight Riders.
“If you start thinking about going into a bigger game then you add extra pressure on you. Since we have so many youngsters, my message is still the same. When you come to the ground, whatever responsibilities you get, just try to handle them not thinking about how this is a final because then your brain is only working towards a trophy.”
Shoaib Malik on the pressure to end undefeated
“The beauty of our performances so far in this tournament is we’ve held on in close games. We also lost some close games but the majority of our games we held our nerve and been able to come out on top.”
Jason Holder on the Tridents’ resilient run to the final
“My best not good enough right now” – Bavuma
This hasn’t been a uniformly terrible tour for South Africa’s batsmen. Dean Elgar and Quinton de Kock have both scored hundreds, and Faf du Plessis has made a couple of fifties. The lower order has stuck around to the extent that South Africa, on this tour, have achieved two of the five longest ninth-wicket partnerships ever seen in India.
But it has been a nightmare tour for South Africa against the new ball, and Temba Bavuma, their No. 4, isn’t shying away from that.
“Look, from the guys at the top, the top-order batters, the guys who are entrusted with scoring the bulk of the runs, it does kind of hurt,” Bavuma said at the end of the third day’s play in Pune. “It does dent your ego when you’re seeing the lower order go out and fight it out to do what you’re really playing to do.
“The boys are trying with the bat and I think, looking forward, looking at the second innings, there’s a lot of confidence we can take in the fact that it’s not all demons out there. We can actually bat. We’ve just got to find a way to dominate with the bat, as much as India have done so.
“I don’t have the answers as to where it’s going wrong. The obvious one is that we’re not able to put up partnerships. We haven’t been able to absorb and sustain the pressure that the Indian bowlers have put on us for a consistent period of time.
“And that’s obviously something that we’ll be trying to rectify. We’re going to have an opportunity now in the second innings, whether India decide to bat again, whether they decide to [enforce the] follow-on, we’re going to have an opportunity as batters to really stake our claim.”
In three innings on this tour, Bavuma has made 18, 0 and 8. He knows a lot more is expected of him.
“I can understand all the criticism and all the flak that is coming my way,” Bavuma said. “Like I’ve always said, as a batter your currency is runs and that’s what you’re judged according to. And when your performances are not at the level that we’re so accustomed to as South African batters, people are going to come hard.
“The South African public, the fans, are very proud and they’re used to a higher standard of cricket. Us as sportsmen represent the South African country – that’s the pressure we deal with. From my side as a player, it’s not as if I am going out there and trying to nick balls and trying to miss straight ones.
“I can honestly probably say, being critical of myself, that I’m giving my best but probably my best at this point in time is not good enough. In saying that, it is not something that I’ll shy away from. Criticism is a good thing. I’ve always felt that it’s just a matter of me, as a professional cricketer, stepping up to the pressure that is before me and trying to win back the support of the fans back home.”
At the end of the second day’s play, when South Africa were 36 for 3 in response to India’s 601 for 5 declared, their team director Enoch Nkwe had stern words for the players.
“We had an honest and truthful chat from the coach,” Bavuma said. “He gave us his true feelings, his true thoughts on how we had gone about our last two days. He was really critical of our effort. Basically he said with everything that’s happened, we’ve got to find a way.
“We haven’t come to India to lose, we haven’t necessarily come to India to just learn; we’ve actually come to compete and to win. That’s what our goal is. Yes, we haven’t done it in the first Test. We haven’t been able to do that in the first two-and-a-half days [here], but there’s an opportunity going forward to do it. Like I said, there is a responsibility from us to stake our claim and do everyone justice.”
“It was a spectacular effort from Vernon and Keshav to fight it out there out in the middle, and face as many balls as they did, and in saying that still accumulate runs. I mean, us in the change room and even on the sides, we were enjoying every moment of it.
“But as I said, we were feeding from the confidence they were giving us. You saw the balance between their defence as well as their attacking shots. That’s something we’ve been speaking about as batters. That’s been our aim in what we’re trying to do. The mood is definitely positive, the mood has been positive, to be honest. It was enjoyable, the 260-ball partnership between those two.”
There was more inspiration to take from the fact that Maharaj, who scored his first Test fifty, was batting with an injured right shoulder.
“There’s definitely a lot of positives to take,” Bavuma said. “This is a confidence-booster. Keshav is a big player in the team, obviously Vernon as well. For big players, for senior players in the team to step up when the occasion arises is definitely is something that you can stick out your chest on.
“Like I said, over the next two days we’re going to need a lot more of that, with the ball, with the bat, in every department, we are going to need guys to put up their hand and no matter which way the result goes, let’s just make sure that our pride is intact.”
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