by Isaac Lockett 23 April 2023
Day 10 at the Cool and Smooth T20 saw two mouthwatering encounters with the runaway team, the Liberta Blackhawks, facing off against the All Saints Pythons in the first game. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Pythons deployed a new opening combination in Scotland duo Christopher McBride and Liam Naylor. The two batters had been in good form across the tournament, and it seemed to make sense to give two in-form batters a chance to face as many balls as possible.
Naylor was dismissed early in the match for six off four balls. But his opening partner continued with James Clarke (30 off 27). But the always impressive Blackhawks spin-bowling attack picked up regular wickets. One of the many undercurrents in the match was two potential tournament MVPs facing off against each other in the form of Kofi James and Matthew Forde. During the first inning, James shone the brightest, finishing with figures of 4-17 from his three overs, while Oliver Davidson (2-13) and Hayden Walsh Jr (1-14) also impressed. McBride made the most of his opportunity at the top of the order scoring 78 from 64 balls as he top-scored in the Pythons’ total of 149-9.
During the run chase, the Blackhawks reverted to the top-order partnership of Kofi James and monster six-hitter Leroy Lugg. The pair represents one of the most experienced and explosive opening partnerships in the tournament, and they quickly made inroads in chasing the total. The pair reached 56 from 7.3 overs before James was dismissed by Demetri Lucas (1-43) for 21 off 23. Lugg was at his destructive best, with the bat hitting three fours and four sixes on his way to 48 off 38 balls and ensuring the Blackhawks had the wind behind them. Karima Gore, who came to the crease after James’ dismissal, also found impressive timing playing another crucial knock for the team. Gore has often been the batter to finish not out for the Blackhawks as they get over the line, and he did it again, finishing on 37 off 26 during a five-wicket win. With six wins out of seven, the Blackhawks have now confirmed their place in the semi-final.
In the day’s second game, the Empire Nation batters may feel disappointed that nobody could kick on to post a big score after four batters reached the 20-run mark against the Bolans Blasters. Justin Athanaze top-scored for the Nation scoring 32 off 32, while the impressive Darron Nedd scored 27 off 15. This game proved to be a special one for the experienced Kerry Mentore, starting with him finishing his four-over spell with 3-30. At the same time, Micheal Harilall continued to be one of the most economical bowlers in the tournament, only conceding 13 from his four overs and picking up two wickets. The Nation finished on 146-7 from their 20 overs, a score which looked competitive.
In the second inning, Scotland captain Richie Berrington and Mentore took leading roles. The pair opened the batting forming a partnership of 138 from 13 overs as they made light work of the chase. Despite neither being there to score the winning runs, Berrington finished on an almost flawless 87 from 46 balls during an inning that consisted of 14 fours, while Mentore hit nine fours on his way to 50 off 38. Nation’s bowler Micah McKenzie (1-20) bowled well amongst the carnage, but the team couldn’t shift the momentum of the Blasters, who completed their chase with more than five overs remaining.