Stephens stars with bat for Cleveland
Dean Stephens continued his early season form to guide Cleveland County to an upset over previously unbeaten Southampton Rangers in the Premier Division Twenty20 at Lord’s yesterday.
The all-rounder hammered a half-century and dominated a century opening stand with Curtis Jackson, the player-coach, to lay the foundation for Cleveland’s 55-run win.
Stephens hit 87 from just 40 balls that included ten sixes and four fours and along with Jackson (22) added 120 runs for the first wicket after the home side opted to bat.
“Dean and myself took the game to them,” Jackson said. “We were 100 plus after nine overs and Dean was banging while I played the supporting role.
“We were picking up about 13-14 runs an over and I was just taking the twos and singles and letting Dean do all the rest.”
Machai Young and Steven Bremar Jr, the captain, also produced some fireworks after former Rangers pair Stephens and Jackson departed, adding 44-runs in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand to place Cleveland in a strong position at 190 for three at the end of their innings.
Bremar led the charge as he thumped 30 from just ten balls, including five fours and a six while Young struck 23 from 16 balls with two sixes and a four.
Janeiro Tucker, the player-coach, and fellow all-rounders Deunte Darrell and Charles Trott came in for some heavy punishment. Darrell went wicketless for 50 runs in his allotted overs while Tucker took one for 40 and Trott one for 39.
With an asking run rate of 9.5, the Rangers batsmen certainly had their work cut out for them in reply.
Stovell (12) and Trott (31) produced a 38-run opening stand before Rangers suffered a collapse, which led to five wickets tumbling for 29 runs to place Cleveland in the driver’s seat.
Middle-order bat Tucker struck a typically brisk 28 from 15 balls and dominated a 32-run six-wicket stand with Najiyah Raynor to give the visiting side a glimmer of hope.
But once Tucker departed to a fine running catch in the deep by Dennis Musson Jr off the bowling of Q’shai Darrell, Cleveland had all but secured victory.
Jelani Albouy struck an aggressive 13 from 15 balls but got little support from the tail as Cleveland picked off the remaining wickets.
Off spinner Del Hollis, who took three for 29, and seam bowler Musson, three for 32, claimed six wickets between them. Rangers were skittled in 18.1 overs. Cleveland thrashed St George’s by nine wickets at Wellington Oval on Saturday.