Two Associate players were in action on Day 7, and they’re both as embedded in their respective playing elevens as possible: USA quick Ali Khan of Trinbago Knight Riders, and Nepal’s golden child Sandeep Lamichhane of Jamaica Tallawahs.
Ali opened once again for TKR, as the Zouks batted first, and he got away with a couple in the first over, giving up 6. Staying in the attack for the third over, Ali’s first ball to Andre Fletcher got pad, bat and an appeal, but the batsman was not given out, as the ball appeared to hit Fletcher outside the off-stump.
Next ball, Fletcher opened up on a slower delivery and smashed Ali back over his head for six. Third ball of the over, Ali targeted Fletcher’s pads, with the ball swinging down leg for a wide. Staying with his plan, Ali then attacked the stumps, where this time Fletcher’s leading edge sent the ball up in the air. Floating outside of the circle, behind short third man, Kharry Pierre took a good catch diving towards the site screen, running from point. The wicket was Ali’s fourth in the power play this season in four games.
With the very next ball, Ali again targeted the stumps, and this time Rahkeem Cornwall got the best of him, smashing the over-pitched delivery straight down the ground for six runs. After a single, a wide and a dot, the weather closed Ali’s account for the innings, as he finished with figures of 1-21 off two overs. TKR ended up winning after their shortened innings via DLS by 6 wickets.
Like the 1961 New York Yankees, the Jamaica Tallawahs have their own M&M boys; except instead of Mantle and Maris, it’s “Mystery and Mystery.” Like the legendary sluggers during that famous summer, Mujeeb and Lamichhane seem to find their closest competition for greatness within their own team. Unlike that collection of Yankee greats, the 2020 Tallawahs lose in spite of it.
Mujeeb has polished his deadly carom ball to such an extent that two of his wickets in Day 7 were carbon copies of his wickets on Day 6. Sandeep continued to hit his spots, turn the ball big, and choke the middle overs. After two Mujeeb power play wickets brushed Barbados back to 20-2, with the defending champs climbing back against Tallawahs’ pace attack. Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder combined to knock Jamaica’s seamers around for 56 runs, until Sandeep came back into the attack in the 10th over. Just like on Day 6, Sandy starts out turning the ball away from each batsman, with googlies to lefties and leg-breaks to righties. Just like yesterday’s outing against Guyana, Sandeep was miserly. Three runs are scored in the over, which has become Sandy’s statistical mode.
Brathwaite takes out Holder in the 11th and the run rate stalls, with the Tridents now at 83-2. Lamichhane stayed in the attack and opened the 12th over with three googlies to Mayers, who swept the third for a single, bringing Rashid Khan on strike. Before we could even daydream about the potential for the matchup, Rashid edged a wide, fuller leg-break delivery softly up in the air into the waiting hands of Mujeeb at short third man. Two more dots to Anderson ended the over of which just two came from it.
After another Mujeeb wicket in the 13th over, Lamichhane tricked Nurse with a googly on the third ball. The steady dose of leg-breaks to right-handers helped set up Nurse to be clean bowled, as the batsman went for a sweep on what he expected would turn away from him. Nurse swung over the top of it, as Sandeep leaked just four runs in the over.
Into his last over, Lamichhane was yet to concede a boundary. Though unlike “M&M Boy” Roger Maris, who broke the league Home Run record on the final day of the 1961 regular season, Sandeep fell just short of giving us something cool to keep talking about. With the fifth ball of the 16th over, Mitch Santner drove the full delivery straight over his head, for Sandy’s first boundary conceded in 75 deliveries. Sandeep ended with figures of 2-16 off four overs, while scoring 4 runs off of 6 balls in the losing chase. Santner, meanwhile, would go to lead Barbados bowling attack and, as they leapfrogged Jamaica to move to 3rd in the standings by benefit of NRR.
As a footnote, Kyle Mayers 85 off of 59 in a game where nobody seemed to be able to survive more than a dozen balls will go down as one of the best innings of the season. Taking advantage of a spell of fast bowling in the first half of the innings, Mayers then survived the spin slaughter long enough to switch on the boosters in the 18th, scoring 28 (plus one wide) against Carlos Brathwaite, giving the Tridents the jolt they needed. Hayden Walsh Jr, last season’s wicket leader, found his form and ended 4 for 17 and 1 wicket, getting his full share of overs for the first time this season.
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