Cottrell seals dramatic last-ball victory for leaders PatriotsSaturday, September 04, 2021
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CMC) — Sheldon Cottrell smashed off-spinner Ashley Nurse for a massive six off the last ball of the game to cover himself in glory, as unbeaten St Kitts and Nevis Patriots edged luckless Barbados Royals by two wickets in a sensational finish here late Thursday.
Chasing 161 at Warner Park, the odds were against Patriots when they started the final over requiring 10 runs for victory, with Man-of-the-Match Cottrell and fellow tail-ender Dominic Drakes at the crease.
Cottrell missed a swing at the first ball before scampering a single off the second, and the left-handed Drakes turned the game in his side's favour when he hoisted to long on where Captain Jason Holder bungled the fielding opportunity — the ball ricocheting off the player and into the ropes.
However, the game tilted again when Drakes was bowled off the fourth ball for 28 and new batsman Naseem Shah could only manage a single to deep mid-wicket off the penultimate delivery, leaving Patriots with four runs to win off the last.
Amidst heavy tension, the 32-year-old Cottrell remained composed and cleared the ropes at long off by some distance, to spark dramatic scenes, as Patriots players and officials invaded the pitch to celebrate.
“As bowlers, we don't bat much so whenever we go out in the middle, we just enjoy our batting like nothing else matters,” said an overjoyed Cottrell, who finished unbeaten on 20 from seven balls and put on an invaluable 29 off 13 balls for the eighth wicket with Drakes.
“For a batsman, there's pressure. There's no pressure for a bowler so I just [went] out there and batted some balls.
“I've had experience in those types of situations before and we came out victorious so I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.”
It was the penultimate over sent down by Holder which opened the door slightly for Patriots.
With his side still behind the eight-ball on 133 for seven, Cottrell smashed an extraordinary six over extra cover off the second delivery and followed up by pulling the next ball to the backward square boundary.
Off the final ball, Drakes top-edged a high full toss over the keeper for four, as the over leaked 18 runs and weakened Royals' hold on the game.
“[The partnership] was an honest conversation between two bowlers. We just understand each other very well,” Cottrell said. “It was just unfortunate he (Drakes) couldn't bring us over the line but I did it for him.”
Holder, who had an over remaining in his spell and another one available from speedster Oshane Thomas, was left to rue the decision to employ Nurse for the critical final over.
“We felt the wicket was gripping and holding. We had a left-hander at the very end [and] I felt it would have been difficult for him to hit [Nurse],” said a dejected Holder.
“Credit to Cottrell for hitting the six off the last ball. I came in for the catch off Dominic [off the third ball], it went past me so all these things cost us.”
For Royals, it was their fourth defeat in five outings while for Patriots, the victory marked their fifth in as many games, moving them to 10 points and helping to stretch their lead at the top of the standings to six points.
“I'm happy with five from five and games like this make us stronger and make us believe even more,” said Patriots skipper Dwayne Bravo.
“It's good to see we batted all the way down to the end even with Sheldon Cottrell coming in there but it was another great team effort.”
The late drama nearly rendered the other details of the game irrelevant.
Smit Patel's 54 off 48 balls in his first appearance underpinned Royals' total of 160 for eight off their 20 overs, the Indian adding 36 for the second wicket with Johnson Charles (30) and 41 for the fifth with Holder (19).
Patel, who punched three fours and two sixes, was one of Bravo's four wickets for 26 runs, holing out to deep cover in the 17th over. Fast bowler Paul van Meekeren provided support with two for 36.
In reply, veteran Chris Gayle top-scored with 42 off 39 deliveries with three fours and two sixes, posting 49 for the second wicket with Devon Thomas (26) who had earlier put on 35 for the first with Evin Lewis (19).
Cruising on 95 for two, Patriots collapsed to lose five wickets for 14 runs in the space of eight balls as 20-year-old seamer Nyeem Young, in his first game, tore through the middle order with three for 26.
Drakes arrived at number eight to belt three fours and a six off 15 balls and add 29 for the seventh with Bravo (9), before combining with Cottrell at the death.