Narine stars in 100th game as Red Force clobber Hurricanes

Narine stars in 100th game as Red Force clobber Hurricanes

Saturday, February 20, 2021

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ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Off-spinner Sunil Narine took his first wicket of the Regional Super50 Cup campaign in his 100th List A match, headlining Trinidad and Tobago Red Force's authoritative nine-wicket victory over Leeward Islands Hurricanes here Wednesday.

Having gone wicket-less in 20 previous overs in the tournament, the 32-year-old recaptured his magic to claim three for 36 as the hosts, choosing to bat first at Coolidge Cricket Ground, were bundled out for a hugely disappointing 129 in the 47th over.

Veteran seamer Ravi Rampaul bowled superbly to finish with three for 17 and earned Man-of-the-Match honours.

Out-of-favour West Indies left-hander Kieran Powell top-scored with 29, Hayden Walsh Jr chipped in with 26 and Nitish Kumar got 24, but Hurricanes never recovered following a disastrous start.

In reply, Kjorn Ottley stroked an unbeaten 47 off 68 deliveries and Jason Mohammed supported with an unbeaten 40 from 55 balls as Red Force took their time before overhauling their target in the 25th over.

For the star-studded side, the victory was their fourth in as many outings, putting them top of the standings, with their semi-final spot already assured.

Considering Red Force's recent imperious form, the victory was not surprising, so the spotlight fell on Narine's landmark achievement.

“It was definitely not like my first [List A game], the body's a bit older, but I'm still feeling good,” Narine said of his 100th game in the format.

“I'm putting in the hard work on the off days and it's now paying off, and I'm just hoping to continue the good work and continue the hard work as well.”

He added: “It's been hard work [in the tournament]. The wickets have been batting-friendly and I've been going at a small economy work. Batsmen haven't been attacking too much.”

Rampaul knocked over Ross Powell (4) and Keacy Carty (1) in successive overs to leave Hurricanes tottering on 16 for two in the eighth over, paving the way for Narine's fireworks.

And his first wicket came in the 18th over when he got Kieran Powell to play down the wrong line to a straight one, to be adjudged lbw, after hitting three fours.

Kumar, who put on 39 for the third wicket with Kieran Powell, followed in the 21st over to a catch at the wicket off left-armed spinner Khary Pierre before Narine got the next two wickets in successive overs.

First, he bowled a bemused Terrance Warde (1) through the gate in the 24th over and then returned to pin Captain Devon Thomas lbw on the back foot for 14 in the 26th.

By then, Hurricanes were in a deep hole at 80 for six, and failed to climb their way out despite Walsh and Quinton Boatswain (12 not out) staging a desperate 31-run, ninth-wicket stand.

“We never coped with the pressure. Trinidad bowled very well and we weren't up to the challenge today. It was just a bad day at the office,” Thomas lamented afterwards.

Any hopes of a miracle comeback were squashed when in-form Evin Lewis belted three fours and two sixes in a 27-ball 28 to dominate a 37-run opening stand with Ottley.

Lewis's demise in the eighth over did nothing to quell Red Force's victory bid as Ottley, who punched half-dozen fours and a six, added a further 93 in an unbroken second-wicket stand with Mohammed, to formalise the result.

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