Fiery Pollard steers T&T to victory
Trinidad &Tobago 162 for 5 (Pollard 53*, Bravo 33*) beat Leeward Islands 161 for 7 (Mentore 48*, Javier Liburd 39) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Until the final leg of the chase, Leeward Islands appeared to be ahead the contest but Kieron Pollard won the match in his own inimitable style, steering Trinidad & Tobago to their second successive victory of the tournament.
When Pollard entered the scene, T&T needed 80 from 41 deliveries. Until then, they had struggled; the top order had collapsed and Dwayne Bravo was cautious as he tried to rebuild. Runs were at a premium but it was exactly the sort of situation that made Pollard the Twenty20 star that he is. And in a blink of an eye the chase was over. Most of his seven sixes either flew deep into the stands or clattered on the roof but Pollard still gave the impression that he was playing within himself.
Pollard began his attack in the 15th over bowled by spinner Justin Athanaze. There is a theory that Pollard isn't great against quality spin and Athanaze had conceded only 12 runs in three overs and had also picked the wicket of Darren Ganga. Pollard, however, pulled him to fine leg for four before dragging a six over midwicket and collecting another six with a dismissive waft over long off. He was just beginning to warm up. Bravo scored three boundaries off Wilden Cornwall in the next over before Pollard swung back into action in the 17th. It was a massacre: Tonito Willet was pummelled for four sixes - the ball ricocheted of the midwicket roof, the crowd at long on watched the ball fly over them twice and he finished off with a dragged six over square leg. Game over.
Just before Pollard turned it on, Denesh Ramdin had revived the chase with a breezy innings. The plan was straightforward: Bravo would bat through, Ramdin would hit out and Pollard would take care of the rest. In the 13th over, Ramdin went after Gavin Tonge, who had picked two top-order wickets, by hitting a six over midwicket and two on-side boundaries. Ramdin fell in the next over but Pollard took over in style.
Until the Pollard blitz, Leewards had had a fairly good day. Javier Liburd, the opener, had taken on T&T's spinners and laid a fair foundation. He lifted Dave Mohammed to the long-off and midwicket boundary and cut Samuel Badree to point for more fours. Although he fell, playing all around a full delivery from Sherwin Ganga, Kerry Mentore took over and guided Leewards to a healthy total. Mentore crashed Sherwin Ganga to the roof on the straight boundary, mowed Pollard over midwicket and found support from the lower-middle order as Leewards raced to 161. For nearly 15 overs into the chase, it seemed a stiff target before Pollard stamped his presence on the game.