Delray Rawlins slams unbeaten half century to power Florida Scorpions to victory at US Open Cricket T20
Delray Rawlins hammered an unbeaten half-century and featured in an unbroken century partnership, which helped power the Florida Scorpions to a convincing 50 run win over the previously unbeaten Punjab Blues at the US Open Cricket T20 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida yesterday.
The Bermudian all-rounder thumped 75 from 44 balls and along with Scottish international Calum MacLeod (64), added 127 for the third wicket, as the Scorpions piled up 208 for two, the highest total at the tournament to date, after being sent in to bat at the Central Broward Regional Park ground.
The Punjab Blues did well to recover from an early top order collapse in reply but could only manage 158 for six to fall well shy of their target.
Hamza Tahir, the Scottish international, was the Scorpions’ bowling hero as he claimed astonishing figures of five for 14 in his allotted four overs with his left-arm spin.
The Scorpions’ second win of the tournament catapulted them to the top of Group B on net run rate over Samp Army and Punjab Blues.
They will now meet Samp Army in their final group match tomorrow with the eventual top two teams from the group progressing to the semi-final.
The Scorpions went into the match keen to bounce back having suffered their first loss of the tournament against Titans Cricket Club 24 hours earlier.
And they responded to the task admirably with a brilliant all-round display that kept the Punjab Blues on the back foot throughout.
Rawlins’ compatriot Kamau Leverock (seven) added 22 for the first wicket with England international and wicketkeeper-batsman John Simpson (47).
The teams’s vice-captain appeared well set but was bowled playing a reckless reverse paddle shot.
Despite the setback, the Scorpions maintained control having ended the power play in a strong position at 62 for one.
Simpson survived a chance when he was dropped on the onside on 27, hitting across the line.
But his luck finally ran out when he was pinned in front playing a reverse sweep to a delivery from West Indies all-rounder Ashley Nurse, to fall three runs shy of a deserved half-century.
However, that was as good as it would get for the Punjab Blues in the field, as Rawlins and MacLeod dropped anchor at the crease and virtually batted them out of the match.
The start of Sussex player Rawlins’s innings was in stark contrast to the fireworks to come as he struggled to pick the gaps.
He finally got going after dispatching Nurse to the cover point boundary for four and never took his foot off the gas as he and MacLeod put the Punjab Blues attack to the sword.
MacLoed reached his fifty off 36 balls and brought up the 50-run partnership in the 15th over.
Rawlins took over from here as he belted 27 off United States left-arm spinner Noshtush Kenjige in the next over, which included three sixes and two boundaries.
He then helped himself to another maximum in the 18th over off United States seamer Jessy Singh to bring up the 100 run partnership in style.
Rawlins nudged a single off Singh to reach a deserved fifty off 33 balls off the second ball of the penultimate over, before hoisting the same bowler over the long on ropes for six three balls later.
The southpaw then dispatched United Arab Emirates all-rounder Zia Khan to the third man boundary for four to also bring up the Scorpions’ 200 in style.
In all, Rawlins stroked five sixes and as many fours, while MacLeod’s 44-ball innings contained three fours and two sixes.
Singh (one for 41) and Nurse (one for 33) claimed the only Scorpions’ wickets to fall.
The Punjab Blues got their chase off to the worst possible start after losing a bundle of early wickets and were way behind the asking rate at the end of the power play at 33 for four.
United States wicketkeeper-batsman Jaskaran Malhotra (86 not out), Sri Lanka all-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya (39) and Nurse (16) offered more resistance in the middle order.
But the damage had already been done as the Scorpions managed to keep their opponents in check the rest of the way and secure the win to bolster their chances of progressing to the business end of the competition.
Scottish seamer Safyaan Sharif (one for 33) claimed the remaining Punjab Blues wicket to fall while Rawlins went none for 28 with his left-arm spin in his allotted overs.