ST JOHN’S, Antigua- Pigotts Crushers and Caribbean Union Bank (CUB) Bethesda will clash in the finals of the Cool & Smooth Twenty20 Cricket Tournament this evening at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds.
The teams earned their opportunity to play for the top prize of $20,000 following victories in the Super Six round of the competition on Thursday night.
A last ball six by Gershum Phillip off national and Leeward Islands all-rounder Anthony “I-Roots” Martin propelled Crushers to a five-wicket victory over Diamond’s International Police, while Bethesda enjoyed a comfortable 79-run victory over Cecil Charles Mahico.
Batting first, Police reached 128 for eight off their allotted 20 overs with Bertel Baltimore slamming 60 runs. There were contributions of 14 runs each coming from Lynton Africa and Tarik Prince respectively for the lawmen.
Pigotts struggled in their reply with the required run rate climbing as high as 12.42 at one stage.
Crushers picked up momentum with about five overs left to snatch the important victory in the final over.
Dean Williams top-scored with 43 points, while Brendon Jno-Baptiste added 26 and Ajarni Frederick made 17.
Bowling for Police, Africa bagged two for 20; Austin Richards Jr scalped one for 24, while Martin and Derrick Murrilon had one for 34 and one for 37, respectively.
Pigotts’ skipper Anthony “Butters” Lake said there was no panic during the nail-biting finish as he had all confidence in Phillip’s ability.
“If it was one man who could get the ball over the boundary it was Gershum and believe it or not, those are scenarios that we practiced. We do power-hitting and I knew once the ball got anyway close to his area we would have been safe because he has a hitting zone (and) the pace that Martin was bowling at was right there so that was good stuff,” Lake said.
“The wicket was not a very easy wicket and if you watched the way Police played you would see that Baltimore played a gem of an innings and he really pull them out of a hole because they were really struggling. As a team, there is really one thing we try to do is keep our cool right to the end, it is not over until the last ball is bowled,”
Bethesda’s ride to the final was a lot smoother, however, as they made light work of Mahico.
Batting first, the ABCA defending T20 champions posted an intimidating total of 201 for four in their 20 overs. Everton Meade smashed a century off 63 deliveries to include eight boundaries and five sixes. Tonito Willett chipped in with 47 runs while Gavin Tongue had 20 runs.
Bowling for Mahico, Kerry Skepple bagged two for 43, while Selvyn Hobson picked up two for 41.
Mahico could only reach 122 for nine in reply despite a knock of 47 from Greg Skepple. Kevin Archibald was the pick of the bowlers for
Bethesda as he snatched three for 14, while Mali Richards bagged two for 16 and Desir St Ange claimed three for 36.
President Kenny Lewis of Bethesda Sports Club said his team’s mission has always been to win the competition and that no team will stand in their way.
“From the first game we played we had said that we are not going to take any team lightly. So whosoever will may come because we are not taking any team for granted. We don’t have any minnows in this competition. Everybody is professional and it is just like we are playing against Chris Gayle and all the others so we have to be on our A-Game,” Lewis said.
“We have a balanced side in terms of batting and bowling so we think whether we bat or bowl, it won’t make a difference. I expect the fans to be out in their numbers. Come and have fun, but bearing in mind like its Bethesda A versus Bethesda B.”
Bethesda finished at the top of the standings with 11 points in Group B, while Pigotts finished second with 10 points. Saturday’s match is slated to start at 6 pm.