Dominic Drakes could have been named the Prime Minister of St Kitts-Nevis by Sunday morning.
This after the 21-year-old left-arm medium pacer bowled the St Kitts-Nevis Patriots into the Hero Caribbean Premier League playoffs after a nailbiting one-run win over the Barbados Tridents at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday night.
With the Tridents needing two runs off the last ball to get to the 150 needed for victory, Drakes ran in and bowled a peach of a delivery, which clipped the top of tail ender Harry Gurney’s off stump to silence the entire venue, except for the Patriots’ fans, of course, and his teammates who were now drunk with glee.
Only moments before that, Raymon Reifer had had the Tridents fans jumping for joy in anticipation of a victory and their own possible playoff qualification.
But with Tridents needing 12 off the last over, Patriots skipper Carlos Braithwaite took a gamble by giving the Barbadian Drakes, the son of former West Indies pacer Vasbert Drakes, the ball.
And Brathwaite won the lotto with his pick.
Drakes started shakily, bowling a wide then seeing Reifer blast his first legal ball for a brilliant six over extra cover. He bowled a fuller ball next, forcing Reifer to drive towards long-off. However, seeking the strike, Reifer went for a suicidal second run and was run out after Laurie Evans relayed a perfect throw from deep long-off to wicket keeper Devon Thomas at the striker’s end. The last Tridents pair of Gurney and Chemar Holder (0) could only muster three singles off Drakes’ next three deliveries before he cleaned up Gurney for one.
The victory pushed the Patriots to 10 points and over the Trinbago Knight Riders (9 pts) into second spot, assuring them of action in the playoff phase alongside the already qualified unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors (14 pts).
But the Tridents (6 pts) did not have time to lick their wounds, as they have a quick turnaround before they host the fourth-placed St Lucia Zouks (7 pts) yesterday in what was now a do or die match for both teams with a final playoff spot the ultimate prize.
If they won yesterday, Tridents will have to find a way to bat more sensibly than they did Saturday night.
After new recruit Shakib Al Hasan, in his first match in the tournament, shared in two mini partnerships with Alex Hales (19) and JP Duminy which took them to 85-3, everything began to crumble when the Bangladesh all-rounder departed.
Al Hasan was caught at longon by Shamarh Brooks for 38 after he ran down the wicket in the 12th over to Brathwaite and tried a lofted drive. Brathwaite then struck another big blow with the last ball of the over when he got Jonathan Carter (2) to chop the ball onto his stumps, as the home side suddenly found themselves at 87-4.
After Tridents added just eight more runs, Rayad Emrit (2/24) got the prized scalp of Tridents skipper Jason Holder. Restricted from free scoring for almost six balls, Holder lost his patience and went for a big cover drive which he only skied into the air to be comfortably caught by Brathwaite at mid-off, the home side now imploding at 95-5.
Ashley Nurse (2) and Duminy (18) quickly followed Holder back to the dugout and the Tridents needed 45 runs off the last four overs with only Reifer and the tailenders left to fight the cause.
Reifer got them close with a quick-fire 18-ball 38 but could not bring it home thanks to Drakes’ last over heroics.
Sheldon Cottrell (3/27) and Brathwaite (3/30) were the pick of the Patriots bowlers but on this night Drakes’ (1/25) last over was all that mattered.
Earlier, Shamarh Brooks had saved the Patriots from falling to a small total with a 33-ball 53, which included six fours and two sixes. More importantly, he held the innings together as the other major batsmen fell around him with the Tridents bowling tightly throughout.
In fact, only Devon Thomas and Fabien Allen, both with 20, offered any other resistance to the Tridents attack, which was led by Hayden Walsh (2/37) and Gurney (2/23), who both got two wickets each. (Trinidad and Tobago Guardian)