2014 LIMACOL CARIBBEAN PREMIER LEAGUE – MATCH REPORT 25: Antigua Hawksbills (114-5) beat Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel (113 all out) by 5 wickets with 9 balls remaining

A brilliant bowling performance from the Antigua Hawksbills gave them their first victory in this year’s Limacol Caribbean Premier League. They pulled off a huge upset by beating the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel, one of this season’s front runners. Ben Laughlin was the man most responsible for the victory, although all the other bowlers came to the party in the best all round display the Hawksbills have managed this year by some distance.

The Antiguans got off to the best possible start, dismissing Kevin O’Brien with the first legitimate delivery of the game. The Irishman played a wafty shot outside off stump and was caught behind by the keeper off the bowling of Sheldon Cottrell. That brought Ross Taylor to the crease who never really got going in his innings of 16 off 18 balls. He was dismissed LBW by Laughlin in a wicket maiden that slowed the progress of the Red Steel.

{IMAGE VIA - ispcricket.com} Trinidad & Tobago coach, Simon Helmot, said; "We are still in a good position as we have qualified for the final week of the tournament. However, our batting display today, and in our last match, is of real concern. It is not panic stations yet but we have to get back to starting strongly with the bat and that means keeping wickets in hand for the later overs."

{IMAGE VIAispcricket.com} Trinidad & Tobago coach, Simon Helmot, said; “We are still in a good position as we have qualified for the final week of the tournament. However, our batting display today, and in our last match, is of real concern. It is not panic stations yet but we have to get back to starting strongly with the bat and that means keeping wickets in hand for the later overs.

Throughout this tournament, the Red Steel have looked to the Bravo brothers to rescue them when the top order has failed. Here, both men fell cheaply to poor shots. Darren Bravo went for 13 caught in the deep. Elder brother, Dwayne, departed shortly after getting a top edge that looped up for an easy catch.

That left the responsibility with the two youngest members of this Red Steel side to get things going again as Evin Lewis and Nicolas Pooran were given it all to do. Their inexperience showed as both men departed to consecutive balls to the bowling of Justin Athanaze. Lewis had played superbly before he edged the ball through to the keeper but he could not add to his three half centuries in the tournament, departing here for 38. The 22 year old remains the Red Steel’s leading run scorer by some distance.

The wickets of Lewis and Pooran began a startling collapse as the Red Steel lost six wickets for 24 runs to see them all out in the 18th over for 113. Laughlin was the chief destroyer, with three wickets for just seven runs, but Cottrell was in fine form yet again for the Hawksbills. The difference today was that he was well supported by the other bowlers.

This Red Steel total was clearly well under par, and the Hawksbills got off to a steady start. Samuels, nursing injury, promoted himself to open. It was the fifth opening pair that the Hawksbills had used, and they looked like they had finally found a winning combination at the top of the order. However, Dunk’s poor tournament continued as he fell in the seventh over.

Fresh from his hundred in the last match, Samuels began his innings with a crunching extra cover drive for four and he looked like he was going to win this game on his own. Such was his stability at the crease, it came as a surprise when he feathered an edge through to the keeper off a ball from Shannon Gabriel.

Orlando Peters had been the man to play the support act to Samuels as he scored his ton in the previous match; here he needed to take up the role of leading man. At the half way stage, the equation for victory could not have been any more straightforward; they needed a run a ball with eight wickets in hand. For a team full of confidence that would be a simple task, for one that has lost eight games in a row there was still work to be done.

Peters could not see the job through, mistiming a slower ball from Kevon Cooper that ballooned up for Samuel Badree to take the catch. The experience of David Hussey became the key, he was the man that needed to steer this team home to a face-saving win. With him there, it was the Hawksbills game to lose.

Hussey went LBW to Cooper to put the result in question once again. The Hawksbills promoted Sheldon Cottrell up the order in a move that didn’t work. He went, bowled by O’Brien, but that only brought Carlos Brathwaite to the crease. He hit his first three balls for six to swing this topsy turvy chase back towards his team.

That took this game to the point where, even a team who have had the struggles that the Hawksbills have experienced, could not lose. There will be prettier wins, but for the Antiguans, it was very much a case of any win being good enough.

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