A thrilling end to the West Indies Cricket Board Four-Day Professional Cricket League encounter between the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and Leeward Islands Hurricanes could well be on the cards today.
An even day yesterday, when T&T blew hot and cold and the Leewards Hurricanes threaten to blow the hosts away at her National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva, saw the visitors to 34 for two pursuing 241 for victory.
Still, T&T, who have been very inconsistent this season, might feel they have the edge with one day left in the contest. They struggled to dismiss the Hurricanes last pair after posting 291 first up, but took a 14-run lead as their opponents ended on 277.
T&T then slipped to an ominous 17 for three, before Kjorn Ottley rescued the innings with a vital 80 to get the home side to 226, providing the potential for an exciting finish. Late in the final session, pacers Shannon Gabriel and Marlon Richards had a little storm of their own, each with an early wicket, before Montcin Hodge (23) and captain Devon Thomas (9) came together to see out the day’s play.
The second session proved pivotal. After delivering a sting with its tail, the Hurricanes’ bowlers found a second wind with the ball. In the second session, they grabbed the prize wicket of Jason Mohammed for 28 and the batsman trudged off, unhappy with the decision.
But Ottley stood. He was content to see off good deliveries and put away the bad ones! None sweeter than a cover drive off pacer Gavin Tonge. He also lost Yannick Ottley (10), who was deceived by Rahkeem Cornwall, Steven Katwaroo (15), before he fell just after tea. From there, Akeal Hosein (31) and Rayad Emrit (25) edged T&T past 200 to a defendable total.
Long before the drinks break, the Red Force were in deep trouble. Their plan to mop up the tail of the Hurricanes backfired as the final-wicket partnership breezed a further 32 runs, whittling down the first innings deficit to just 14. Last man Anthony Martin’s resistance ended when he got to 18, trapped lbw by Khan. The bowler celebrated his 55 wicket of the season, leaving Quinton Boatswain stranded on 30. And that was the easy part, because the Hurricanes tail came back T&T’s way, rocking the top order as the home side slipped to 27 for three within ten overs. Mark Deyal (two) was first to go, slashing to point and the hands of a diving Anthony Martin. Six for one became seven for two, as Khan (four) edged Louis to slip, and the heavy set Rahkeem Cornwall stunningly sharp reflex catch ended his stay.
That brought the experience of Jason Mohammed to the crease, even though he batted at number five. It also added some stability to the innings; although a bit streaky, the first innings centurion’s play took the Red Force to an improved 44 for three, for an overall lead of 58.
His partner Kjorn Ottley, though, stuck around to lift the hosts back into the match. Today will tell us whether that score was enough.