Dion Stovell stars as Rangers hand Bailey’s Bay their first Twenty20 loss
Southampton Oval (Bailey’s Bay won toss): Southampton beat Bailey’s Bay by eight wickets
Southampton Rangers are now the only unbeaten in the Twenty20 League Premier Division - and with a game in hand - after restricting Twenty20 leaders Bailey’s Bay to 127 for six and then reaching their target with more than an over to spare.
Bay won the toss in the match of the two unbeaten sides, but the 127 was never going to be enough to trouble a Rangers side who blasted 247 against Willow Cuts last weekend.
Bay were in early trouble at 14 for two after six overs with openers Rodney Trott and Coolidge Durham going cheaply, before Zeko Burgess, in at No 4, dominated a third wicket stand of 47 with Sharye Tavares before Tavares departed for four in the 11th over at 61 for three.
Burgess, who smashed sixes overlong-on at both ends, scored 40 of the first 62 runs before bringing up his 50 with a four and a six off successive deliveries from Charles Trott in the twelfth over.
Burgess departed four overs later for 54, stumped by wicketkeeper Kwame Tucker off Stovell to make it 98 for four. He hit five sixes and four fours. Fray had a flurry in the dying overs, scoring 32 not out off five fours as Rangers did well to keep them under 150, their lowest total so far batting first.
Stovell was the key man in the bowling, taking two for 23 from four overs.
“I think we did well to restrict them, Zeko batted very well and they looked like they were on course for 170, 180,” admitted Malachi Jones, the Rangers captain whose 24 not out helped carry them to their fourth victory.
“Once we dismissed him we did well to keep them to a decent total of 127. The wicket wasn’t playing too sharp, up and down and a little slow. With their decent bowling attack of Rodney [Trott), Kyle [Hodsoll] and Zeko they made it quite difficult for us.
“The main thing is we kept wickets in hand and took it down as far as we could. It was pretty comfortable in the end.”
After Janeiro Tucker departed 28 - caught on the cover boundary by Terryn Fray off Jordan Burgess, who made amends after dropping Tucker almost in the same position on the square leg boundary in the previous over - Stovell and Jones shared in an unbroken stand of almost 60 for the third wicket.
Stovell led the partnership with 64 not out, hitting the winning boundary through the covers in the penultimate over.
“Batting with Dion is always easy, he’s a good calculator of the scoreboard so with me around he feels a lot comfortable as I can hit the odd boundary to ease him up,” Jones said.
“He was quite tired, batted pretty much the whole innings and I told him I would accelerate when I can just to get us in a more comfortable position where we wanted the runs to be less than balls.”
Stovell hit consecutive sixes off Zeko Burgess in the 14th over to bring up his 50, and with four overs remaining they needed just 17 for victory.
Irving Romaine, the Bay coach, admits they were beaten by a better team on the day, that 127 was always going to be difficult to defend.
“When you are going up against a team like Rangers, there are two parts to the game,” he said. “In the fielding and bowling we did extremely well, but the batting we came up short on the runs.
“There were two many dot balls at the beginning of the game. We needed to find a way to expose the power play a little more. We were 25 runs too short and it would have been a different game with that.
“If you add in the dot balls and rotate the strike simply and safely it gets us up to that total easily. We don’t have the youngsters who can clear the ropes as easily as Janeiro and those guys.
“It was a good test for the youngsters against a good bowling side, to get away the good balls and get the singles. It’s always good having Zeko coming in, but if he goes too high up then we don’t have somebody at the end.”
Burgess was out in the 16th over on 98 for four, stumped after coming down the crease to Stovell.
“I spoke to him, he got his 50 and if he had stayed there to the end of the innings, that’s another 20 or 30 runs just from him alone,” Romaine believes. “He said he was a little fatigued from the trial match yesterday.
“This shows that our young players are maturing, they did not look out of place against Rangers, the Janeiros and Dions, national squad and Cup Match players. They held their own against those guys. It’s a positive.”