Trinidad and Tobago Red Force dealt Barbados Pride’s title aspirations a potentially fatal blow, when they inflicted their perennial arch-rivals with a stunning 130-run defeat inside three days at Kensington Oval Sunday night.
Pride entered the day/night ninth round contest second in the standings, about 10 points behind leaders Guyana Jaguars and hoping on a win to catapult themselves to the top, especially with the two-time defending champions sitting out the round.
But Pride were undermined, ironically by one of their own – exciting Barbadian all-rounder Roshon Primus – who smashed an entertaining half-century and returned to grab five wickets and hand an under-strength Red Force side an unlikely win.
Resuming the penultimate day on 133 for five, Red Force rallied to 211 all out in their second innings thanks to Primus’s 51 off 62 deliveries and Imran Khan’s supporting 26.
When opener Amir Jangoo perished in the day’s first over without adding to his overnight 71, the pair then pulled Red Force around in a 63-run, seventh wicket stand.
Primus, who top-scored in the first innings with a similarly entertaining 60, struck nine fours and a six while Imran Khan counted two boundaries in a 49-ball knock.
Once Imran Khan edged a cut at left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican and was caught behind, the innings quickly declined as the last four wickets tumbled for 14 runs.
Primus, who started the day on nine, was ninth out bowled by Warrican who finished with three for 19 while fast bowler Justin Greaves picked up five for 63 – his second five-wicket haul in nine first class games.
The 21-year-old Primus, who captured four wickets in the first innings, returned to haunt his compatriots with another superb performance as he captured five for 21 to blow away Pride for a meagre 109.
Set 240 to win, the hosts never came to terms with the right-armer, with only Greaves managing to make it to 20 as one of four players in double figures.
Primus finished with career-best match figures of nine for 42 to clinch Man-of-the-Match honours.
It was seamer and captain Marlon Richards, however, who made the early breakthroughs, removing Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite for 17 and Kyle Corbin for four, as Pride limped to 25 for two.
However, even then, there was no indication of the collapse to follow, as the hosts battled to 62 for three after opener Anthony Alleyne also fell, to one of two catches at second slip by Primus.
But once Test wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich – now with only 51 runs in his last five innings – had his middle stump removed by Primus for eight after an hour at the crease, Pride declined swiftly to lose six wickets for 16 runs in the space of 48 deliveries.
Greaves belted two fours and a six in a 36-ball knock at the death, in adding 31 for the last wicket with debutant Rashid O’Neale (9 not out) before missing a heave at leg-spinner Imran Khan and going bowled.