Red Force crush woeful Harpy Eagles to reach final
BRAVO...I thought we played an exceptional game of cricket (Photo: Observer file)

TAROUBA, Trinidad (CMC) — Dominant Trinidad and Tobago Red Force stormed into their 20th Super50 Cup final when they thrashed a shambolic Guyana Harpy Eagles by six wickets in the opening semi-final here Wednesday.

Powered by fast bowler Terrance Hinds' Man-of-the-Match four-wicket haul, Red Force crushed Harpy Eagles for a woeful 105 in the 35th over at the Brian Lara Stadium.

Sherfane Rutherford top-scored with 30 from 52 deliveries, while Test opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul got 22, but they were the only two to reach double figures as Harpy Eagles plummeted to the lowest total of the campaign and their fourth-lowest ever in the competition.

In pursuit of their paltry target, Captain Darren Bravo extended his superb run of form with an unbeaten 53 off 73 deliveries with eight fours, as Red Force got over the line in the 28th over.

Opener Kjorn Ottley chipped in with 35 from 59 balls, he and Bravo putting on 58 for the second wicket to lay the foundation for Red Force's 16th win in their last 18 games against Harpy Eagles.

Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, who finished with three for 20, took some of the shine off Red Force's victory with a couple of wickets in the 21st over before Bravo steered the hosts safely over the line.

"I'm extremely happy, to be quite honest. I thought we played an exceptional game of cricket today," Bravo said.

Sent in, Harpy Eagles collapsed in a heap at 25 for four in the ninth over, Hinds wiping out the top order in a devastating burst of four for 15 from four overs.

Kevin Sinclair (4) wafted at Hinds' first delivery — a wide loosener — and edged to wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran in the fifth over before Captain Tevin Imlach (4) flirted with another one outside off-stump and also nicked behind in the sixth over.

Hinds then rocked the innings in successive deliveries, first pulling off an astonishing one-handed return catch to remove Shimron Hetmyer for three before having Kemol Savory caught at the wicket without scoring.

When Kevlon Anderson played back to left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein and was bowled for seven in the 15th over, his dismissal brought together the last pair of recognised batsmen in Rutherford and Chanderpaul.

However, the mix-up between the two which resulted in Chanderpaul's demise in the 15th over, succinctly summed up the innings.

Rutherford punched Hosein to extra cover but then hesitated, along with Chanderpaul, over the sharp single. Both left-handers found themselves desperately scampering mid-pitch, with Shannon Gabriel's throw coming to the non-striker's end, where Rutherford eventually managed to make safe harbour.

There was no such luck for Chanderpaul at the striker's end, with Hosein relaying the throw to Pooran who broke the stumps with the batsman well short of his ground.

Rutherford, who struck three fours and a six, then anchored the best stand of the innings — 25 for the ninth wicket with Veerasammy Permaul (eight not out) — but he was eventually ninth out, one of two wickets for leg-spinner Yannic Cariah (2-14).

Red Force enjoyed a sound start to their chase, Ottley counting five fours while posting 25 for the first wicket with Tion Webster before joining Bravo to take Red Force to 83 for one in the 19th over.

Motie's introduction rattled the hosts, the 28-year-old triggering a blip which saw three wickets tumble for six runs in the space of 15 balls.

Ottley was trapped plumb lbw in the 19th before Pooran holed out in the deep for three and Jason Mohammed was hit in front first ball in Motie's next over, leaving Red Force on 89 for four.

However, Bravo and Cariah (five not out) settled any nerves to put their side in Saturday's final.

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