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Spartan rule Twenty20

Philip Hackett

Spartan rule Twenty20

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SUPER?CENTRE?Spartan captured the Sagicor General Twenty20 title for the first time by defeating Counterpoint Wanderers in a low-scoring final played at Kensington Oval on Sunday night.
The one-sided contest produced an emphatic eight-wicket victory, set up by a penetrative spin bowling attack after Wanderers surprisingly opted to bat having won the toss.
Set 93 for victory after bowling Wanderers out for 92, Spartan coasted to 93 for two with Maradon Bend fittingly underlying Spartan’s dominance with a powerful straight hit for six to achieve the winning runs.
Bend’s undefeated 28 also included two fours and came off 29 balls. Shamarh Brooks was not out on ten when the winning target was reached.
Spartan were put on course through an opening stand of 48 between captain Akeem Springer (27 off 27 balls) and Rashidi Boucher (23 off 27 balls).
The fall of the two openers within six runs of each other sparked brief optimism in the Wanderers camp but the unbroken 39-run stand between Brooks and Bend ensured there would be no hiccups or a repeat of the amazing drama that helped Wanderers record an unlikely victory over YMPC in the semi -final.
Earlier, Spartan’s bowlers stifled the batting of Wanderers from the start, making a mockery of their decision to bat first despite all but one of the play-off matches being won by the side batting second.
Man of the Match Omar Marshall was the most economical of the four Spartan spinners used, giving up just 11 runs in his four overs for the wickets of opener Jonathan Drakes and West Indies batsman Kirk Edwards.
Left-arm spinner Andre Marshall also bowled brilliantly to take two for 13 from his four overs. None of the Spartan bowlers disappointed as they maintained enormous pressure on the batsmen throughout the innings.
Edwards seemed in ominous form when he took consecutive boundaries off Andre Gill, the first a powerful cover drive followed by an elegant straight drive.
The dismissal of  the former Barbados captain, caught by Andre Marshall at short midwicket, left Wanderers dangling at 23 for three in the sixth over. They never recovered despite a fighting 20 from Kraigg Brathwaite and an enterprising 19 from Diego Stuart.
“The guys played a good tournament and we deserve the trophy,” Spartan captain Akeem Springer told the media after the match. Springer admitted being surprised at the easy nature of the win despite the presence of three West Indies players on the Wanderers team.
“I believed in my bowlers and I had confidence in them,” Springer said.
Springer acknowledged the value of a player like Sulieman Benn, who did not play in the final but said the others players responded well to the challenge.
“Most of the tournament Benn was not with us and the other guys stepped up and performed. We missed Benn, but the other guys performed. It was a whole team effort,” Springer stressed.