Windies lose low scoring, last ball thriller: Digicel T20 Cricket Update
It was low scoring but it was a nail biter. The match came down to the very last delivery. With Narsingh Deonarine run out off the penultimate delivery, Jerome Taylor, the new batsman, needed to score three runs off the final delivery of the Second Digicel Twenty20 to win the match for the West Indies. Alternatively two runs would have tied the game and it would have moved into a one over eliminator, cricket’s version of penalty kicks.
The fast bowler managed one run, shoving a delivery from Ryan McLaren into the off side. The run took the Windies to 119 for 7, one run short of the South Africans 120 for 7 from 20 overs.
The modest crowd willed the Windies for every delivery of their run chase and got progressively louder as the game entered the final stages. They left disappointed as they had done the day before.
Not much of what transpired at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground on Thursday was dissimilar to what had transpired the previous day.
West Indies Captain, Chris Gayle, won the toss and invited South Africa to bat. Jerome Taylor had Loots Bosman caught down the leg side and South Africa were 6 for 1. It was as if it were a replay of the First Digicel Twenty20.
South Africa continued to lose wickets until a sixth wicket stand of 57 between big hitting debutant, Dave Miller, and all rounder, Johan Botha, carried them from 59 for 5 to 116 for 6. Miller cracked 33 from 26 balls with two towering sixes as he top scored for the Proteas. Botha also registered a pair of sixes in his 23 from 22 deliveries as the pair scrambled to move South Africa to a challenging total.
They could only get to 120, 16 runs below what they made the day before.
Taylor’s bowling is steadily improving and he enjoyed the bouncy pitch enough to take 3 for 14 from 4 overs while Darren Sammy contributed with 2 for 16 from 4 overs.
The home side did not get off to a start which they would have been eager for. Captain Gayle – the lynch pin of their Twenty20 batting line up – was caught lbw for a duck by Dale Steyn in his first over to leave them on 4 for 1. That quickly became 9 for 2 when the other opener – woefully out of form Andre Fletcher – spiraled a catch to wicketkeeper, AB de Villiers.
Top scorer, Dwayne Bravo (40 from 42 deliveries) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (29 from 37 deliveries) who was returning to the side after being rested for the previous game, then spent 71 deliveries rebuilding the innings after the early damage. The pair added 68 runs during that time before Chanderpaul was out in the 15th over and Bravo in the 17th.
The equation, following Bravo’s dismissal, was 34 runs from 23 deliveries. Kieron Pollard and Ramnaresh Sarwan were called to duty but both fell to catches on the boundary and the Windies were left needing 15 runs from the final over.
Sammy struck the first delivery for two, then sliced the second past the wicketkeeper for four. Aided by overthrows, he and Narsingh Deoanrine scrambled four runs on the third delivery to bring the required runs down to five from the last three deliveries.
Sammy took a single and then Deonarine was run out going for a second run. The job of three runs from one delivery was too much for Taylor and the Windies lost their second Digicel Twenty20 in two days.
In addition to his 23, Botha’s 2 for 22 from 4 overs was enough to secure the Man of the Match title which also brought him a Blackberry Bold 9700. Morne Morkel, in the playing eleven for Charl Langeveldt took 2 for 15 from four overs.
Dale Steyn was not far behind with 1 for 18 from his full quota of overs.
The Windies will now move on to the Digicel One Day International Series which commences on Saturday, also at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
The lengthier format should allow the uncertain Windies batsmen to settle down and pace their innings better but they will be going up against one of the world’s undisputed top ODI teams.