Watched by a capacity crowd which transformed the Queens Park Oval into a Sea of red, the Trinidad and Tobago’s Red Force captured their 11th title with an emphatic 135-run win against the Guyana Jaguars last night in the final of the 2015 NAGICO Super50 cricket competition as Sunil Narine produced a mesmerizing spell of off-spin bowling as he captured 6-9 from eight overs.
In the 26th match between the two sides, this was 14th win for the home team, who beat Guyana at Providence to win their title before last night in the 2009 final.
The Jaguars led by 3-22 from Veerasammy Permaul, 2-27 from Royston Crandon and 2-44 from Paul Wintz, restricted the Red Force to 200-8 off 50 overs despite a fighting maiden 117 from 132 balls with 11 four fours and six sixes from Jason Mohamed who shared in an unfinished eighth wicket stand of 52 as 52 runs were scored off the last five overs.
The Jaguars were then decimated for their only two-digit score, crumbling for 65 from 23.5 overs as Narine befuddled the batsmen with only opener Trevon Griffith passing 30. Mohamed and Narine shared the Man-of-the-Match while the Jaguars had to settle for the runner-up spot.
The pulsating contest began in glorious sunshine on a track which favoured the slower bowlers and the Jaguars won the toss and asked the Red Force to bat.
Wintz struck with his first ball when he trapped the out of form Evin Lewis LBW for a duck after coming back into the side to replace Ronsford Beaton.
Darren Bravo joined the talented 19-year-old Jermaine Solozano and the pair and took the score 14 before Vishaul Singh on the field for Raymond Reifer, took a stupendous catch diving to his left at backward square to send Bravo (5) packing and put the Red Force on the back foot at 14-2.
Mohamed joined the left-handed Solozano with the large flag waving crowd, already on its feet and dancing to the sounds of the Tassa drums.
Mohamed started nervously with two edges past Barnwell at slip to third man for boundaries off Steven Jacobs, who opened the bowling with the impressive Wintz. Mohamed, who tickled Jacobs to fine-leg for four, commandingly pulled Chris Barnwell for another boundary while Solozano played the supporting role with stylish batting and soon dumped Jacobs disdainfully back over his head for six.
Solozano was dropped at slip off Barnwell on 15; the ball going for four while he and Mohamed staged a little recovery by taking the score to 52 before Permaul struck with his first ball by having Solozano caught and bowled for 21 with two fours and a six. Stephen Kawaroo was then caught behind for a duck off Crandon as the Red Force slumped to 53-4.
Mohamed continued to play well and lofted Crandon for six even as Jacobs extracted tremendous bounce from a dry surface, while Bravo struggled to get the ball away and was sent packing by Crandon for 10 at 96-5.
Kieron Pollard joined the well entrenched Mohamed who reached his 50 from 81 balls with a magnificent cut behind point off Devendra Bishoo for his eighth boundary and celebrated with his second six off Bishoo. He then rocked back and smashed the Test leg-spinner for four through cover.
Mohamed was dropped on 69 by Crandon who suggested the sun was in his eyes off the unfortunate Permaul who bowled with immaculate control, but Permaul had double success when he bowled Pollard (9) and Kevin Copper (2) in successive overs as the Red Force slumped to 135-7 as they lost two wickets in the space of five runs.
Mohamed jumped into Bishoo and clobbered him over mid-wicket for six as the Red Force right-hander moved closer to the first century in the tournament at this venue and the third overall.
Skipper Ryad Emrit, batting with an injury, smashed Wintz for back-to-back boundaries before Mohamed bullied Bishoo for another six to go to 96. The 28-year-old Mohamed reached his century with a four behind square and celebrated with a four and two consecutive sixes as 21 runs were taken from Wintz’s final over.
The last five overs produced 52 runs as Emrit (12*) and Mohamed put together 52 in their unfinished ninth wicket stand.
When the Jaguars began the run chase, Griffith started with all guns blazing hooking Bravo for four and cutting Ravi Rampaul majestically behind point for four while Rajendra Chandrika played to supporting role, but disaster struck once Narine was introduced as the off-spinner had Griffith caught at slip for 31 from 28 balls with six fours as the left-hander made a consorted effort to counter-attack the pacers.
From 36 without loss the Jaguars slumped to 45-4 as Narine trapped Raymond Reifer (1) and Chandrika (7) LBW before Bravo seemed very lucky to gain and LBW verdict against Chris Barnwell before the Jaguars Captain had scored with one that hit him high as four wickets tumbled for nine runs.
Worse was yet to come as Narine produced one that did not turn and trapped the 40-year-old Chanderpaul, who scored an unbeaten 98 against Jamaica in the semi-final, was struck plumb infront for seven at 49-5 to silence the Guyanese contingent in the stands who were waving Guyana flags and decked out in green.
The Jaguars were on their backs when Anthony Bramble (1) was spectacularly caught and bowled by Bravo at 52-6 and when the 26-year-old Narine, with six Tests and 56 ODIs to his name, continued to torment the Jaguars and had Permaul LBW for a duck as the Jaguars were almost dead and buried on 56-8. Mohamed took the last two wickets to end with 2-3 and spark wild celebrations as if it was Carnival itself.