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Pollard lifts Barbados Tridents to victory in CPL opener


Pollard lifts Barbados Tridents to victory in CPL opener

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REJECTED by some local fans as the right man to be captain of  the Barbados Tridents, West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard put on a brilliant all-round display to lead the local based franchise to a 17-run victory over St Lucia Zouks in the opening match of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League at Kensington Oval on Tuesday night.
Shoaib Malik was Player-of-the-Match for his topscore of 78 off 51 balls with a six and eight fours but Pollard won the hearts of the Bajan fans with a classy unbeaten 61 during which he featured in a half-century stand with Malik.
In front of a capacity crowd, Pollard then took a brilliant catch and had figures of three for 15 as the Zouks wasted an excellent start to collapse to 152 all out off 19.4 overs in reply to the Tridents score of 169 for five.
The big Trinidadian’s first real impact in the field came when he reached high to hold a stunning catch at mid-on that ended a belligerent innings of 57 off 41 balls by Andre Fletcher.
The opener had slammed four fours and four sixes, two off the first two deliveries sent down by left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan. With Shannon Gabriel and Hasan proving expensive, Pollard came on in support of the the excellent bowling of off spinner Ashley Nurse (2- 18) and Rayad Emrit 2-20).
Pollard removed the dangerous Misbah-ul-Haq, caught at long on by Emrit, dismissed Shane Shillingord caught and ball for a first ball duck and then had the honour of taking the final wicket when he accepted a return catch from a ball lifted high in the air by Garey Mathurin.
The Tridents’ competitive total was built around an 88-run fifth wicket partnership between the Pakistani Malik and Pollard, the two franchise players for Barbados Tridents.
The stand lifted the home side from a worrying 48 for four in the eighth over when wicket-keeper/batsman Umar Akmal fell victim to a clever bit of cricket by St Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy.
Standing at slip to the bowling of off-spinner Shane Shillingford, Sammy anticipated well and ran around to leg slip to hold on to a catch offered as the batsman tried to paddle the ball to fine leg.
The problems for Barbados Tridents started from the very first ball of the contest when Dwayne Smith was caught at the wicket by Fletcher from the bowling of pacer Albie Morkel.
Jonathan Carter picked out Devon Smith on the forward square boundary to give Sammy his first wicket and the Zouks captain struck again when Fletcher, standing up to the medium-pacer, held on to a nibble by Shakib Al Hasan.
Malik, forthright in approach and Pollard, unusually calm in the face of back of a length bowling from the Zouks, repaired the early damage as the Tridents hobbled to 62 for four after ten overs.
Pollard spent 22 balls over his first 13 runs but Malik, playing with greater freedom pulled, Sammy to mid-wicket for four to raise his 50 off 36 deliveries with six boundaries.
Pollard was lucky not to be run out at the non-striker’s end from a Sammy throw from short fine leg which missed the stumps with Pollard struggling to make his ground.
In the context of the evening’s action it was not surprising that it was Malik who launched the first six of the innings off the second ball of the 15th over which was bowled by pacer Nelon Pascal.
It landed in the top tier of the Hall and Griffith stand, bringing up the 100 and the 50 partnership between Pollard and Malik.
Malik then smashed Pascal through extra cover for four and swung  him over mid-wicket for another boundary. The fast bowler knocked out Malik’s middle stump as the batsman walked across his wicket, but the outstretched hand of umpire Brathwaite indicated the bowler had over stepped.
Pollard warmed up with a late cut to the third man boundary off Shillingford and then edged Sammy to third man for another boundary. By the time Malik was caught at long-on by Herschelle Gibbs off pacer Tino Best, Pollard had settled into his role as an effective closer.
His first six came off his 36th delivery. He followed up with a flat six to long-off and a straight four that brought up his half-century off 39 balls with two sixes and four fours as Morkel conceded 19 runs in the penultimate over.
Pollard lifted the last ball of the innings from Best over long on for six to finish unbeaten on 61 off 47 balls, an innings that included three sixes and four fours.
That performance was already worthy of a day’s work but the powerful all-rounder proved that he was far from finished.

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