Reinaldo Sammy and Iqwe Craig both scored 33 runs which helped Merry Boys to its fourth consecutive victory in the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) T20 Festival at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Balmain, Couva on Wednesday.
The Diego Martin-based team defeated HKL Aranguez by three wickets to book their place in tomorrow’s Premier Division II final against Prisons who whipped Caldrac by nine runs in the first semi-final encounter at the same venue.
Chasing 113 for victory and to keep their unbeaten streak of 11 matches going for the season, Merry Boys stumbled early when their captain Mario Belcon was caught and bowled by Ashmeed Mohammed after he faced just two balls. But the run chase was back on track when Sammy and Craig combined for 49 runs before Sammy lost his wicket to become the first of Aamir Ali’s three victims. His innings comprised five fours and one six.
Triston Singh then had Craig caught by Andy Mahase attempting his sixth six down at the mid-wicket boundary.
With one run needed for victory, Frankly Rouse was caught and bowled by Ashmeer Mohammed for 32 which included six fours and wicketkeeper Samuel Felix finished unbeaten on 13 to close the inning on 116/7 off 17.2 overs.
Bowling for Aranguex, left-arm Orthodox slow bowler Ali took 3-13 off his four over-spell, and Mohammed took 2-6 from his three overs.
Earlier, Aranguez took the first knock to set a challenging total for an opposition that had a deep batting lineup. The team had a decent start with 34 runs on the board before their opening batsman Randy Mahase was removed for 29 off 20 balls after he clobbered three fours and two sixes by Rouse and 15 runs later, Rouse also accounted for Leonardo Francis’ wicket for seven runs.
Aranguex lost wickets at regular intervals with Kaleem Felix (17), Malcolm Ramlogan, the captain (11), and Andy Mahase (10) being the only other players to reach double figures as they compiled 112 runs off their allotted 20 Overs.
Bowling for Merry Boys, Rouse finished with 3-15 from his four overs and Anthony Serrette took 2-16 off two overs.
In the first match, Caldrac captain Negus Carthy won the toss and invited Prisons to bat and they made the best of the opportunity with opener Zackery Ragoonath scoring 53 runs off 39 balls with eight fours and one six, skipper Bryan Boodram scored 41 off 22 balls with five fours and two sixes batting at number five, and Alex Ali scored 13 off nine balls that included one six that helped their team to post 149/8 off 20 overs.
Former T&T Under-15 player Nathaniel McDavid and right-arm off-break bowler Avinash Mahabirsingh took two wickets each for 23 and 12 runs, respectively.
In response, Caldrac came up nine runs short after four players, Quin Badel top-scored with 39 off 40 balls with just two four and two sixes, opener Gabriel Blackwell was stumped for 29 after three fours and one six, Varinda Maharaj scored a run a ball 24 and sent three of his strokes to the boundary and Avinash Mahabirsingh scored 13 in the total of 140/8 in their 20 overs.
Bowlers, Vikash Rampersad and Bryan Boosram and Jerve Cummings took two wickets each.
The title decider between Merry Boys and Prisons will be played tomorrow at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva from 11 am. The winner will pocket $40,000 and the second-placed team gets $20,000, The losing semi-finalists will each collect $10,000.
Overall winners of the Premier Division I champion team will collect $80,000 with $40,000 going to the runners-up. Losing semi-finalists will get $15,000 each.
PRISONS SPORTS CLUB 149/8 (20 overs) (Z Ragoonath 53, B Boodram 41, A Ali 13; N Mc David 2-23, A Mahabirsingh 2-12) vs CALDRAC SPORTS 140/8 (20 overs) (Q Badel 39, G Blackwell 29, V Maharaj 24, A Mahabirsingh 13; B Boodram 2-16, V Rampersad 2-27). Prisons won by nine runs.
HKL ARANGUEZ SC 112 allout (20 overs) (R Mahase 29, K Felix 17, M Ramlogan 11, A Mahase 10; F Rouse 3-15, A Serrette 2-16) vs MERRY BOYS 116/7 (17.2 overs) (R Sammy 33, I Craig 33, F Rouse 32, S Felix 13 no; Aamir Ali 3-13, A Mohammed 2-6). MerryBoys won by three wickets.