Rangers fight back to see off Cuts
Southampton Rangers survived a stubborn fightback from Willow Cuts at Southampton Oval yesterday to advance to the final of the Western Counties Cup.
Despite a promising start, Rangers posted only 210 after Cuts ripped through their middle order following a rain stoppage that reduced the match to 44 overs a side. In reply Cuts scored 153 all out after veterans Dexter Basden and Reggie Tucker threatened to turn the match around late in the innings.
Rangers, also forced to call on some experienced players in the absence of former captain Janeiro Tucker and opener Shannon Rayner, looked set for a huge total after openers Gerald Simons and Kwame Tucker put on 88 in 16 overs, before Simons departed for 24, caught at slip by Basden off Shomar Gomes.
A second-wicket stand of 60 involving Tucker, who went off with hydration, captain Dion Stovell and veteran Jason Wade took Rangers to 148 by the 27th over when Joseph Basden broke the partnership by trapping Wade lbw for 13.
A rain stoppage just before 2pm, with Rangers on 153 for two resulted in the reduction of the overs and a change in the game upon resumption as three wickets fell in quick succession. Stovell was out for 35 in the first over of the restart, caught behind by Romar Simmons off Basden.
The next over saw Ricardo Brangman out without scoring before Kwame Tucker, who returned to the crease at the fall of the fourth wicket, departed in the next over from Bean, bowled for a top score of 78, including six sixes and four fours. The Rangers batting, lacking some depth, struggled to recover against the spin of Basden and the gentle medium pace of Shaquille Bean who claimed seven wickets between them as Rangers lost their last eight wickets for just 62 runs.
Bean led the bowling with four for 36 from 8.5 overs while Basden chipped in with three for 36 from nine and Kwasi James two for 30. James shared the new ball with captain Kamal Bashir who had an expensive five overs, going for 49 runs before he was knocked out of the attack by the Rangers openers.
After losing their first two wickets on 27 and 46, Cuts recovered to post 80 by the 20th over as Bashir, opening the batting with Dwight Basden, led the fightback with a patient knock of 35. Basden was dropped at mid-off by youngster Tayo Smith in the second over, however three overs later Smith made amends when he held a catch at mid-on to remove Basden.
Simmons was run out soon after when Bashir pushed the ball to the covers where Vernon Eve collected and hit the stumps at the batsmanís end to break a promising partnership. Bashir and former captain Dexter Basden, forced to fill in just before the start, advanced the score to 80 before Eve had Bashir caught by Lamont Brangman.
Kwasi James was quickly back in the pavilion without scoring to make it 81 for four, before a fifth wicket stand of 30 between Basden and Bean brought up the 100. However, Rangers kept taking wickets at critical stages as the required run rate started to climb past seven runs an over.
Dwight Basden, dropped low down on the square leg boundary by Gerald Simons, was out in the 29th over when Wade held his chance in the covers. Cuts were now wobbling at 111 for five and then 115 for six with much now depending on Bean and assistant coach Reggie Tucker.
The pair added 21 before Bean was caught behind after going for a big hit and giving wicketkeeper Ricardo Brangman an easy catch in front of the wicket off Kevin Tuckerís bowling. The last hopes for Cuts went with Tuckerís dismissal for 25 at 149 for nine.
The run rate had creeped up to ten runs an over by then, with Tucker going for a big hit off Kevin Tucker and giving an easy catch to Hasan Durham at long-on. Durham had put down a low catch off Tucker in the previous over.
Durham and Tucker claimed three wickets each, with Durham finishing with an impressive spell of left-arm spin, going for just 14 runs in his nine overs. Tucker finished with three for 34 off his nine overs.
Rangers will meet PHC in the final on August 25.
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