Reigning champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force stormed into the final of the Regional Super50 when they produced a clinical bowling performance to whip Guyana Jaguars by 54 runs in the semi-final here Wednesday night.
In a repeat of last year’s final, Red Force raised a competitive 259 for nine off their 50 overs and then used their spin attack on a turning Queen’s Park Oval track, to bundle out Jaguars for a disappointing 205 off 48.3 overs.
Left-hander Darren Bravo missed out on a sixth regional one-day hundred when he fell for 95 while West Indies teammate Denesh Ramdin weighed in with an attacking 43 off 44 balls and Kjorn Ottley, a well-played 33 off 62 deliveries.
Left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul was the leading bowler with three for 56 while off-spinner Steven Jacobs (2-12) and seamer Paul Wintz (2-67) picked up two wickets apiece.
In reply, Jaguars suffered from a sluggish start before losing wickets steadily as the Red Force spinners crippled the innings.
Wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble resisted with a cameo 51 while Paul Wintz struck 26. Chris Barnwell got 22 and captain Leon Johnson and opener Vishaul Singh both scored 20.
The damage was done by Jon-Russ Jaggesar who claimed three for 36 while fellow off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine (2-35) and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein (2-42) picked up two wickets apiece.
Red Force will now await the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final between Barbados Pride and Windward Islands Volcanoes, to know their opponents in Saturday’s final.
In pursuit of a competitive total under lights, Jaguars never got going and Red Force grabbed the initiative in the run chase.
Openers Vishaul Singh and Assad Fudadin (9) found themselves bogged down and Jaguars stumbled to 22 without loss after ten overs, allowing the pressure to eventually tell on the innings.
Deonarine got the breakthrough in the 13th over when he trapped Fudadin lbw at 26 for one and veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul lasted 13 balls before playing onto the same bowler for six, at 38 for two in the 17th over.
When Vishaul missed one from off-spinner Jason Mohammed and was stumped, Jaguars were in deep trouble at 42 for three in the 20th over.
Bramble then came to his side’s rescue, belting two fours and four sixes in a 44-ball knock as he added 65 for the fourth wicket with captain Leon Johnson who faced 30 balls and struck two fours.
Just when the partnership looked to be hauling Jaguars back into contention, Johnson missed one that came on from Jagessar and was lbw in the 28th over at 107 for four.
Jaguars then collapsed, losing five wickets for 58 runs, to slump to 165 for eight in the 42nd over.
Wintz, who struck two fours and a six off 29 deliveries, added a breezy 40 off 44 balls for the ninth wicket with Gudakesh Motie (17 not out) to prolong the inevitable.
Jagessar, however, appropriately ended the innings by removing Wintz. Steven Jacobs, injured while bowling earlier, was unable to bat.
Earlier, Bravo produced a typically attractive innings off 108 balls, with four fours and five sixes, to jump start the Red Force innings.
Openers Evin Lewis (20) and Kyle Hope (15) looked to be giving Red Force a solid start when they added 39 but they fell in the space of nine deliveries to Jacobs, to leave the hosts on 44 for two in the tenth over.
Bravo then anchored fine partnerships with Ottley and then Ramdin, to return momentum to the innings.
First, he added 85 for the third wicket with the left-handed Ottley who struck three fours before pulling left-arm spinner Motie to Johnson at mid-wicket to depart in the 31st over at 129 for three.
When he fell, Bravo joined with Ramdin in a fourth wicket stand of 90 which pushed Red force beyond the 200-run mark.
Ramdin was aggressive, striking five fours before perishing in the 45th over when he punched a full toss from left-arm seamer Raymon Reifer straight to Wintz at long-off.
Bravo, carrying an injury which hindered him running between the wickets, plundered three sixes in Motie’s fifth over – the 44th of the innings – which cost 19 runs as he raced into the 80s.
However, with three figures in sight, he smashed a long hop from Permaul into Reifer’s lap at long on off the first ball of the 46th over, as Red Force lost six wickets for 34 runs down the stretch.
RED FORCE 259/9 off 50 overs (Darren Bravo 95, Denesh Ramdin 43, Kjorn Ottley 33; Veerasammy Permaul 3-56, Steven Jacobs 2-12, Paul Wintz 2-67)
JAGUARS 205/9 off 48.3 overs (Anthony Bramble 51, Paul Wintz 26, Chris Barnwell 22; Jon-Russ Jaggesar 3-36, Narsingh Deonarine 2-35, Akeal Hosein 2-42)
(Taken from CMC)