TT Defence Force dismantled First Citizens Clarke Road in a major upset to open Group C action in the 2020 UWI-Unicom Twenty20 tournament yesterday afternoon, at the Sir Frank Worrell Cricket Ground, UWI-SPEC, St Augustine. Batting first, Defence Force accumulated 156 for six in their 20 thanks to a captain’s knock of 87 from 56 balls from Earnil Ryan, the competition’s best individual score so far. The soldiers then restricted Clarke Road to 141 for six to claim a 15-run victory and move a step closer to the quarter-finals.
Ryan proved to be quite a handful for the Clarke Road bowlers, who initially seemed set to run through the Defence Force batting. He was one of only two batsmen to really provide resistance and it turned out to be a decisive knock. Defence Force struggled early on as Brandon Ramdial ran out opener Anthony Alexander for 10 while, Kareem Mohammed exited for the same score as Vikash Mohan claimed a catch off Ahkeel Mollon’s bowling.
Mollon (two for 24 from four) would bowl Shakeel Johnson for duck. Jordan Samkaran then fell LBW to Clevon Kallawan for two and Justyn Gangoo castled Josiah Searles for eight. However, John Fiaz rotated the strike with Ryan to ensure their team got a respectable total. Ryan smashed 12 fours and two sixes in 72 minutes at the crease while Fiaz made 28 not out from 26 with two maximums himself. Gangoo (two for 21) would then nab Ryan only for Sion Cain to end the innings with a massive six.
In their turn at the crease, Clarke Road wasted a good start and never got the momentum back as they slowed to 70 after 10 overs. Opener Nicholas Sookdeosingh made 37 off 38 but lost Randy Mahase (six) with the score at 16, caught by Searles off Allan Laurent. Sookdeosingh was joined by Vikash Mohan (35 off 34, four fours) before the latter fell to a brilliant one-handed caught and bowled by Samkaran at 75. Gregory Mahabir entered the crease but the run-rate kept getting steeper due to a lack of boundaries.
Sookdeosingh would perish with the score on 99, skying Searles to Cain at deep square leg following three fours and a six. Searles would end with three for 27 from his three, bowling Mahabir for 26 off 24 (two fours) after scalping Brandon Ramdial for three with a mistimed shot into Johnson. With 40 needed from the last two overs, it was insurmountable as Johnson ran out Mollon for three. Kallawan tried his best with an uneaten 20 off 11 but his lone four and two sixes came too little, too late.