A sensational lone-hand from Kieron Pollard was not quite enough to take Barbados Tridents home in a thrilling match in Lauderhill.
Chasing an improbable 155 to win on a slow pitch the Tridents slid to 54 for 5, requiring a further 101 off 48 balls when Pollard played one of the great CPL innings.
Pollard’s 62 off just 33 balls single-handedly took the Tridents to the brink of victory but a lack of support from his team-mates meant that when he was dismissed off the last ball of the 19th over, the Tridents hopes of victory went with him.
After a cautious start Pollard’s power took the slow pitch out of the equation and he muscled six sixes and two fours in an astonishing assault. He was aided by some wayward bowling from the Tallawahs but the enormity of the task at hand demanded more than just poor bowling.
Every time the match seemed to be slipping away from the Tridents Pollard responded with muscular power, heaving boundaries over the leg side and clubbing them down the ground. When he took 18 off the 18th over, bowled by Shakib, reducing the equation to 25 off 12 balls the match finally seemed within the Tridents grasp.
However, a superb over of death bowling from Mohammad Sami, who finished with 4 for 12, stopped Pollard at the last hurdle. After conceding just five from the first five balls, Sami dismissed the key man as he attempted an audacious ramp shot off the last ball of the over.
Until Pollard’s assault the Tallawahs had been in control of the game for the majority of the match—a middle-order blip notwithstanding.
After winning the toss the Tallawahs innings started brightly with Kumar Sangakkara hitting three sumptuous boundaries square on the off side before an attempted fourth was brilliantly plucked out of the air by Kane Williamson at backward point.
Despite the loss of Sangakkara the Tallawahs continued onwards unperturbed with Lendl Simmons using his feet to manufacture three boundaries. At the end of the Powerplay the Tallawahs had scored 45 for 1.
Once the field dropped back the Tridents reined the Tallwahs in with four tight overs of spin, costing just 20. The pressure of that period told in the 11th over when Wahab Riaz struck three times in four balls, dismissing Simmons – caught at mid-wicket, Imad Wasim, trapped leg before wicket, and Rovman Powell, chopping onto his stumps. The over ended up as a triple-wicket maiden and threatened to derail the Tallawahs effort with nine overs to go.
The gutting of the Tallawahs middle order brought together Andre McCarthy, who was unbeaten on a run-a-ball 20 and Shakib Al Hasan. Their critical partnership of 81—dominated by McCarthy but culminating in a Shakib cameo—owed a fair bit to the poor fielding of the Tridents who dropped McCarthy twice.
The Tallawahs’ total of 154-5 was the highest of the season to date, and on a sluggish pitch the Tridents were faced with a tough task.
That task became significantly more difficult after a tight opening two overs ended with Imad bowling Williamson with a ball that turned past the outside edge to take the top of off stump. The Tallawahs maintained the pressure through the Powerplay and when Shoaib was run out in the fifth over, leaving the Tridents 23 for 2, the odds were firmly stacked against them.
Another run out—a direct hit from Sami—saw the back of Hosein and when in his following over Sami removed the struggling Dwayne Smith for 21 off 31 and Nicolas Pooran for a first ball duck the match rested solely on the broad shoulders of Pollard. In the end, even his best was not enough.