Red Force punishes sloppy Scorpions to storm into final

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(CMC) ST JOHN’S – Lendl Simmons and Nicholas Pooran smashed entertaining half-centuries as T&T Red Force thrashed sloppy Jamaica Scorpions by six wickets in Antigua on Wednesday night, to canter into the final of the Regional Super50 Cup.

Asked to chase an under-par 256 in the first semi-final under lights at Coolidge Cricket Ground, the multiple-time champions hardly blinked as they overhauled their target off the first ball of the 43rd over, to maintain their impressive unbeaten run in the championship.

Opener Lendl Simmons provided an excellent platform for the run chase with 68 off 70 balls while Nicholas Pooran carved out an unbeaten 54 off 40 deliveries and Jason Mohammed, a patient 41 off 71 balls.

However, it was captain Kieron Pollard who put the finishing touches on the victory in style, blasting a four and five sixes in a whirlwind 18-ball unbeaten 36, to also hasten Scorpions’ demise.

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“I thought it was a total, total team effort,” Pollard said afterwards.

Scorpions had only themselves to blame, however, dropping three catches at key stages to squander important moments in the contest.

Sent in earlier, Scorpions managed 255 for seven off their 50 overs with West Indies opener John Campbell top-scoring with 88 and Brandon King stroking 58.

Andre McCarthy chipped in with 35 while Nkrumah Bonner hit 20 but Scorpions found themselves pegged back in the last 10 overs by excellent bowling from Red Force, especially former West Indies seamer Ravi Rampaul who finished with four for 29 from his 10 overs to earn Man-of-the-Match honours.

Only 58 runs came from the last 10 overs which yielded four wickets as Scorpions tailed away badly at the end.

“The way that the experienced bowler Ravi Rampaul came to the fore – just sticking to basic lines and lengths. It just shows you can’t beat experience,” said Pollard.

In his first appearance of the tournament following his recent return from the Test tour of Bangladesh, Campbell immediately made his presence felt.

Dropped on four by Pollard at slip in the opening over off pacer Anderson Phillip (2-41) and then again on 80 by Mohammed at backward point in the 42nd off Rampaul, Campbell rode his luck to strike four fours and a six in 131 balls at the crease to notch his ninth List A fifty.

He lost opening partner Aldaine Thomas cheaply for one in the third over, caught at the wicket off Rampaul, but anchored two crucial successive stands to keep Scorpions going.

First, he put on 108 for the second wicket with King who faced 81 deliveries and struck five fours and a six before going bowled on the back foot by Phillip in the 28th over, hitting across the line.

Campbell then added a further 58 for the third wicket with McCarthy who produced a breezy 29-ball innings which was laced with three fours and a six.

Once McCarthy holed out to long on in the 37th over off leg-spinner Imran Khan at 171 for three, however, the innings fell away as Scorpions lost wickets steadily with five wickets going down for 69 runs.

Campbell appeared on course for only his second List A hundred but was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to Rampaul in the 46th over, after being hit outside off-stump by a full length delivery.

“I didn’t think we particularly finished the innings well. That’s always been a problem for us throughout the entire competition and today it showed,” lamented captain Rovman Powell who made 16 before tapping a simple catch to short mid-wicket off Rampaul in the 40th over.

In reply, Simmons was dropped off the second ball of the innings at long on by Bonner off off-spinner Jamie Merchant but recovered to strike seven fours and three sixes, in a 63-run opening stand of 60 deliveries with Evin Lewis (24).

Left-hander Lewis, also dropped on five in the fifth over off Merchant, eventually skied left-arm spinner Jeavor Royal to deep mid-wicket to depart in the 17th over but a string of partnerships kept Red Force on top.

Simmons added 35 for the second with Darren Bravo (19) and a further 41 for the third wicket with Mohammed, before finally falling in the 25th over to a juggling catch at long on by Bonner off left-arm spinner Fabian Allen.

Pooran, let off on 25 at deep extra cover by Derval Green running back, then put on 59 for the fourth wicket with Mohammed and 58 in an unbroken fifth wicket partnership with Pollard. With the fight having gone out of Scorpions, Pollard accelerated the end by clobbering Allen for three massive sixes in the 41st over.



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