The Antigua Hawksbills’ losing streak extended to four matches as they lost to the Red Steel in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. Regular wickets throughout the home side’s innings prevented them from building any telling momentum setting 152 runs to win. Red Steel overseas stars Kevin O’Brien and Ross Taylor made light work of the target, both registering undefeated half centuries in a partnership off 145, the highest of the tournament so far.
The Hawksbills innings began as it did in the last match, with Danza Hyatt struggling to find scoring options against spin bowling. His tormentor-in-chief in this game was Red Steel’s leg spinner Samuel Badree who went for just 21 runs off his four overs. Hyatt lost his wicket to the bowling of Fidel Edwards, scooping a short ball into the waiting gloves of wicket keeper, Nicolas Pooran, as the Hawksbills innings again failed to fire in the Powerplay.
Hyatt’s departure brought skipper Marlon Samuels to the crease, and he started where he had left off in the last game. He hit his fourth ball for six but he could not replicate the stellar performance from yesterday, falling to a slower ball bouncer from Kevon Cooper that was dollied up to Dwayne Bravo. While the loss of Samuels was a massive blow for the home side, with Ben Dunk still at the crease, there was hope. The Australian was the player of the tournament in the Big Bash this winter and he was looking well set to go big here. It was not to be as he was involved in his second run out in four innings as he came back for a second run that was never there.
With the two big guns at the top of the order gone, there was a rebuilding job to be done for the Antigua Hawksbills. The man who had that responsibility thrust upon him was David Hussey. As the player second on the list of most T20 appearances, he certainly had the experience. He took his side from 48 for three to 114 for four before he was caught at long off by Kevin O’Brien in an excellent partnership with Devon Thomas.
Cottrell went for a quick fire 16 runs that included two sixes, one of which was almost spectacularly taken by Kennar Lewis who dived full length but was over the rope when he took off for the catch. The rest of the Hawksbills lower order swished hard to try and get their team up to a decent total, the biggest cheer of the innings reserved for crowd favourite Rahkeem Cornwall when he cleared the boundary with a steepling six.
With only one significant partnership in their innings, it became clear very soon that Hawksbills did not have enough runs. Kevin O’Brien was brutal on anything wide inside the Powerplay, and while he swung and missed regularly, he also kept the scoreboard ticking over. Ross Taylor showed all of his class cutting and driving the bad balls to the boundary.
As O’Brien attacked, Taylor worked the ball around to give strike back to the Irishman. By the halfway stage, they had reached 75 for one, almost halfway to the target with nine wickets in hand. Samuels brought back Cottrell, his most economical bowler, in the 11th over in a last ditch attempt to find a wicket to bring them back into the game, but it was not forthcoming.
O’Brien’s fifty came up off just 29 balls as the decision by the Red Steel to move him up the order to open paid off spectacularly. He finished on 90 not out, with Taylor undefeated on 51. The winning runs came from a bye as the ball evaded the Hawksbills wicket keeper, Thomas.
With this most recent defeat, the Hawksbills find themselves well adrift from the qualification spots. They will need a serious turnaround of fortunes to secure a semi-final berth.