An impressive all-round effort from Steve Smith saw Barbados Tridents steal a two-run win over Jamaica Tallawahs in Match 14 of the Caribbean Premier League at Lauderhill in Florida.
The former Australian captain first scored a 44-ball 63 to take his side to a competitive 156 for 6 in their 20 overs before rolling his arm over to return 2 for 19 off his three overs as the Tallawahs were restricted to 154 for 3.
He was awarded Player of the Match for his efforts. Having started his career as a leg-spinner before becoming one of the best batsmen in world cricket, Smith said that he was trying to make a few changes to his bowling action.
“I've sort of changed a few things up [in my bowling],” he said. “I'm trying to model my action on Shahid Afridi, pushing it through and try to bowl fast into the wicket. Fortunately, it worked tonight.
“He [Afridi] has been a terrific leg-spinner. I can't get the momentum into the ball [with my usual action] as I'm growing older. Hopefully, I don't have to bowl too much!”
Put into bat Tridents after a quickfire start lost Dwayne Smith (18), Hashim Amla (15) and Martin Guptill (0) all in the space of 10 balls to slip to 39 for 3 in the seventh over. Smith then walked in and alongside Shai Hope started the rebuilding process.
The duo added 103 runs for the fourth wicket in a shade over 11 overs to get the innings back on track. Smith's innings was studded with five fours and three sixes while Hope smashed two fours and three sixes in his 35-ball 43 before both fell to Andre Russell.
Chasing 157, Glenn Phillips and Johnson Charles got Tallawahs to a quick start adding 80 runs in 9.1 overs. With captain Jason Holder running out of options he summoned Smith to try his luck and the Australian with his leg-spinners did not disappoint.
He was struck for a six in his first over but came back to remove both the set batsmen in his next. While Charles was caught by Guptill at the deep midwicket fence for 42, Phillips was adjudged caught behind for a 24-ball 36. Smith could have had a third wicket if not for a fluffed catch at the long on fence by Raymon Reifer.
Tallawahs, despite losing the two quick wickets were pretty much on track to chase down the target. Reifer, however, made amends for the drop chance earlier to defend nine of the final over against David Miller (25) and Ross Taylor (26). This was Tridents' second win in three games.