CPL 2018: All-round Smith stars in Tridents’ narrow win over Tallawahs
Steve Smith picked up 2/19 and scored 63 in a match-winning performance (Getty Images)

Steve Smith starred with the bat and ball as Barbados Tridents narrowly beat Jamaica Tallawahs by two runs on Thursday. Smith, former captain of the Australian team, struck a crucial 63 and went on to register figures of 2/19 to help inflict a third straight loss on the Tallawahs, who begun their campaign by winning their first three matches.

Raymon Reifer, who had leaked runs earlier and accounted for two drop catches, was handed the responsibility of defending nine off the last over, and the left-arm pacer obliged. With two T20 specialists at the crease in Ross Taylor and David Miller and with four needed off the last ball, all Miller could do was send the delivery down the ground for a single.

The loss promises to hurt Tallawahs, who began their chase of 157 in fine fashion. Openers Glenn Phillips and Johnson Charles were instrumental in getting Tallawahs off to a flier, posting 80 in the first nine overs. Charles took Jason Holder for five consecutive fours in the third over to open the floodgates. It was then Smith, who was introduced as the sixth bowler of the innings, provided the breakthrough. In a span of four deliveries, he removed both Charles and Phillips for his first two T20 wickets since 2014.

Even as wickets fell, things seemed to be under control for the Tallawahs, with Taylor and Miller out there. But suddenly, the equation came down to 37 needed off four. With seven wickets left, that could have been the point of acceleration that the Tallawahs were hoping for. Unfortunately for them, it never came. The scenario further narrowed down to 20 off two. Eventually, Taylor and Miller remained not out on 26 off 28 and 25 off 20.

Smith could have had a third wicket had Reifer held on to a chance at long on of Kennar Lewis. But that didn’t hurt Tridents much as the batsman departed for a streaky 17. Smith wouldn’t mind though, as the two important wickets he took was cherry on top for the Australian batsmen, who had contributed to his side’s total of 156 with his first half-century of the season. Smith came to bat when the Tridents has slipped from 36/0 to 39/3. Dwayne Smith was casually run-out and Hashim Amla was foxed by Samuel Badree. Martin Guptill’s duck only didn’t help Tridents’ case either.

Smith then, in the company of Shai Hope attempted to rebuild. Back-to-back of fellow Australian legspinner Adam Zampa provided the impetus the innings needed. Hope grew in confidence and smoked three sixes of his own, before Smith brought up the 100-run stand with a six over deep point of Tallawahs captain Andre Russell.

Smith’s dismissal was a bizarre one. He miscued Russell to offer a catch at long-on, also hitting the stumps during his bat swing. But by the time he had departed in the final over, Smith had taken Tridents to a respectable total, one that proved just about enough for them to secure a thrilling win.

Brief Scores: Brief scores: Barbados Tridents 156/6 in 20 overs (Steven Smith 63; Andre Russell 2-32) beat Jamaica Tallawahs 154/3 in 20 overs (Johnson Charles 42; Smith 2-19) by two runs.