TOBAGO'S Club Crusoe made big waves by sealing a semifinal spot in the UWI-Unicom Twenty20 (T20) Cricket tournament yesterday with an entertaining three-wicket win over UWI Cricket Club. Sent in to bat by Club Crusoe at the Sir Frank Worrell Ground, St Augustine yesterday, the hosts made 212 for five in their 20 but still couldn't hold onto a win. Club Crusoe, 2015 champs in this tournament, then stunned the crowd by reaching 213 for seven in 18.5 overs to set up the eliminator against Queen's Park Cricket Club on January 25. Prisons will face El Socorro Youth Movement a day later with the final carded for January 27, all at the same venue.
UWI had Anthony Alexander to thank for its score with a mammoth 134 off just 71 balls. He registered the tournament's highest individual score with 13 fours and nine sixes to his name. It ended up being a one-man show as Alexander took it to bowlers like Jahron Alfred (none for 30), Chris Pattia (none for 32) and especially Rachad Forde who went wicketless for 40 from three overs. He opened the innings with Brian Christmas, who was run out for eight by Vikash Rampersad, and never slowed down. Rampersad then had Franklyn Rouse (five) caught in the deep by Marcus Daniel with the score on 61, only to see captain/wicketkeeper Clifton Halls out LBW to Ancil Nedd for four just six runs later. However, with wickets falling around him, Alexander continued to belt the bowling.
Sion Cain entered the fray with 30 off 14 (three fours, two sixes) and they took the score to 111 in the 13th. After Nedd removed Cain, Kareem Muradali would chip in with 14, but it remained Alexander accounting for the lion's share of the runs. He made 45 in the final four alone as the duo ended the innings with an unbroken partnership of 101 in just under seven overs.
In their turn at the crease, Club Crusoe depended on their talismanic Iraq Thomas to get them going. He accounted for all of their first 30 runs, and then began to share responsibilities with Mbeki Joseph (10). However, Thomas remained the constant aggressor as he made 73 off 30 with nine fours and five sixes. When Joseph was bowled by Stephan Soloman, Stephan Wharwood entered the fray and chipped in with 20 to keep the run-rate ticking. After Thomas was run out with the score on 91 by Cain, the run-rate was well over 10 but Muradali pulled things back with his first two overs going for eight.
He had Alfred caught behind by Clifton Halls for nine and got Wharwood playing into the hands of Franklin Rouse to leave proceedings at 122 for four in the 11th. Rouse then had Chris Pattia (one) skying into Christmas at mid-off with Marcus Daniel following suit for six to leave the score at 136 for six in the 12th. However, just as with the first match, Forde made a quick cameo to make up for his shoddy bowling, grabbing 15 to keep the score moving. When he departed at 156 in the 14th, lofting Alexander to Muradali at cover, Joshua James decided to step in and deliver a match-winning performance.
He took apart Muradali (who ended with two for 41) and united with Jason Persaud (five) to take their team home with a partnership of 57, grabbing the competition's highest score in the process. James slammed 61 off 31 (eight fours, two sixes) and copped the man-of-the-match award as Persaud rotated the strike to coast home with over an over to spare, eliminating defending champs Powergen in the process.
In their earlier match yesterday, Club Crusoe grabbed a five-wicket win to upset defending champs Powergen. After sending Powergen in to bat and getting hammered for 182 for five in the allotted 20, Club Crusoe shocked the cricket fraternity by getting to 183 for five in just 18 to jump ahead in Group D.
Powergen started off brilliantly with an opening stand of 104 from wicketkeeper Stephen Katwaroo (67 off 47 with nine fours and two sixes) and captain Mark Deyal (44 off 34 with nine fours) before Rachad Forde removed Deyal. Ancil Nedd then had Ewart Nicholson (five) out leg-before and bowled Jameil Maniram for duck to leave the champs at 115 for three in the 13th. Nedd would go on to bowl Katwaroo en route to figures of three for 20. Akiel Cooper would come into the wicket and take four sixes off Forde in the 18th as he got to 37 from 18 while Teshawn Castro chipped in with 17 from 13 to push the Southerners past the 180 mark, despite losing a couple of late wickets. Forde ended with 54 runs going from his four overs, but would make massive amends later on.
Club Crusoe also got off to a flyer, mostly scoring at 10 an over. Mbeki Joseph (60 off 42 balls with five fours and three sixes) and Iraq Thomas (42 from 24 with four fours and two sixes) set the pace in the onset with an opening stand of 62. Thomas started with venom, taking two sixes and a four off Castro in the second over, which went for 22. Thomas was the first to go, though, skying Jovan Ali to Castro at long-on who waited with open arms to exact revenge. Ali then nabbed Stephan Wharwood LBW for one but Chris Pattia made a brisk 14 with a couple of fours to progress things to 106 in the 12th. Pattia was then bowled by Deyal but Jahron Alfred came in with 14 from eight (one four, one six) to add value to the chase.
With the score at 121, man-of-the-match Joseph lost composure and lobbed a caught and bowled attempt to Castro, which was graciously accepted. At 143, Ali had Alfred out, skying to Castro again in the 15th. Castro went for 11 in that over and this allowed Forde to take centre stage despite wickets falling at regular intervals in the second half of the innings. Cafu Chin-Sue entered the bowling attack but found the going tough against Forde. His over would prove decisive but for all the wrong reasons. He lost the plot with two no balls and Forde hit him for three sixes to compound the medium-pacer's misery. By the time Chin Sue tried to close out the innings, he ended up bowling a wide to gift Crusoe the win as his lone over went for 23.
UWI 212/5 (Anthony Alexander 134 not out, Sion Cain 30, Ancil Nedd 2/24) vs. Club Crusoe 213/7 (Iraq Thomas 73, Joshua James 61 not out, Franklyn Rouse 2/29, Kareem Muradali 2/41). Club Crusoe won by three wickets.