Bell destroys hapless Stars
St John's Field (Cleveland won toss); Cleveland beat Western Stars by 143 runs
Damali Bell, the left arm seamer, produced career-best figures and the season's first five-wicket haul as Cleveland County made light work of Western Stars at St John's Field yesterday to cruise into the semi-finals of the Belco Cup.
Set a target of 229 for victory, Stars failed miserably to the task at hand and folded in 21.3 overs — their last five wickets tumbling for a measly 26 runs.
Bell was the catalyst behind Stars' capitulation, returning outstanding figures of six for 19 off eight overs that included a maiden.
The Bermuda and St George's Cup Match bowler tormented the Stars batsmen, hitting the right lines from the outset and exploiting the uneven bounce and scant lateral movement on offer with devastating effect.
“The target was to bowl at the stumps and get the batsmen to play at the ball and miss,” Bell said. “And early on I got the ball to swing back into the right hander and away from the left handier.”
Bell, 22, made the initial breakthrough in the third over when Dano Outerbridge, the Stars opener, played on off the inside edge attempting to clear the boundary ropes.
The Cleveland opening bowler struck again in the seventh over when Temiko Wilson, the Stars wicketkeeper, dragged the ball onto his stumps and two overs later he was celebrating again after having Ryan Tyrell, the opening batsman, caught in slips.
The relentless Bell claimed two wickets in the eleventh over, shattering the stumps of Nyon Steede, the Stars captain, and Seion Darrell with yorkers to leave the hosts reeling at 59 for five.
And there would be no way back for Stars as Treadwell Gibbons, the medium pacer, Lavar Talbot, the off spinner, and Bell — back for a second spell- mopped up the tail in quick succession. Gibbons finished with two for 13 and Talbot two for 9.
Brian Hall, the number four batsmen, coped best against the onslaught, gathering 24 runs before he was the seventh wicket to fall.
Next high man was the 22 runs Cleveland leaked in extras, a stat Allan Douglas, the coach, would not have been pleased about.
Earlier, Cleveland overcame an early collapse that saw them reduced to 96 for five after electing to bat.
Opening bat Gibbons got the innings off to a flyer, thumping 33 off 29 balls, that included five boundaries, before the momentum shifted and wickets began tumbling at regular intervals.
Once Gibbons departed Jason Anderson, pushed down the order to number five, kept his cool as wickets fell around him to anchor his team to what proved to be a match winning total.
The veteran wicketkeeper dominated several useful partnerships, gathering 56 from 78 balls — his second half century in as many days — before he failed to get bat onto ball sweeping across the line and was wrapped on the pads and judged leg before.
Anderson stroked two sixes and eight fours.
Others making useful contributions were lower order bats Shaki Darrell, who stroked 28, Talbot, who added 19, and Courtney Trott who blasted 22 batting at ten.
Jason Lowe, the seamer, was the pick of the Stars bowlers with three for 35 while Steede, the medium pacer, took two for 36 and Hall two for 26 with his off breaks.
Cleveland will face Southampton Rangers, the defending Belco Cup champions, in Saturday's second semi final at Somerset Cricket Club.