Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel produced back to back to back enthralling displays in Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket competition between Thursday night and yesterday, beating the Guyana Amazon Warriors, the hitherto unbeaten Jamaica Tallawahs and the floundering St Lucia Zouks to leave the Queen’s Park Oval sell-out crowd and home fans delirious with delight.
The triple success pitchforked the Dwayne Bravo-led Red Steel side to the top of the six-team table and in with a solid chance of being among the top four that will contest the title-winning call in what’s the second year of the new regional franchise competition.
While Darren Bravo’s last-ball six-hit with six runs needed saved the Red Steel the blushes near midnight Thursday as the Amazon Warriors were left wounded, at least two other Red Steel players in Trinidadian Evin Lewis and Irishman Kevin O’Brien became the home crowd’s new darlings.
On Saturday against the Tallawahs, Lewis`s fiery half-century and O`Brien`s four-wicket haul fired the Red Steel to their fourth win and third on the trot, as they beat the Tallawahs by 13 runs.
Sent in to bat for the noon-time start to the match at the bubbling Oval, Red Steel amassed 183 for five off their 20 overs with Lewis smashing an attractive 72 from 43 deliveries.
Man of the Match O’Brien who later took four wickets for 22 runs chipped in with 32, left-hander Darren Bravo got 30 while captain Dwayne Bravo scored 24.
In reply, Jamaica were held to 170 for six from their allotted overs despite captain Chris Gayle`s top score of 60 from 46 balls and Russell`s whirlwind unbeaten 40 from 17 balls.
Yesterday at dusk Lewis flayed a hapless St Lucia Zouks bowling unit as the Red Steel recorded a nine-wicket win.
Partnered by O’Brien who was 55 not out in the end, Man Of The Match Lewis who made 77 from 45 balls counting 12 fours and two sixes featured in a new CPL first-wicket partnership record of 129 runs.
24 hours earlier in Barbados, Martin Guptill and Lendl Simmons of the victorious Guyana Amazon Warriors had posted a record opening stand of 103 against the Barbados Tridents.
But Lewis and O’Brien gave the Red Steel the perfect platform to overhaul the Zouks 136 for 9, the target reached with 32 balls to spare and just one ball short of equaling the fastest chase of CPL 2014 made by the Jamaica Tallawahs who were set 97 to win against the Antigua Hawksbills on July 17.
Lewis and O’Brien came within eight runs of notching the first 10-wicket win in CPL history before Lewis fell for 77 in the 14th over to a catch in the deep off Shane Shillingford.
O’Brien sealed the match with a two off a free hit and finished unbeaten on 55 off 44 balls.