Rangers clinch T20 title
Dion Stovell produced a captain’s innings to guide Southampton Rangers to the Premier Division Twenty20 title at Wellington Oval yesterday.
The opener struck an unbeaten half-century to lead his team to a comfortable eight-wicket win over home side St George’s. St George’s posted 125 for seven after electing to bat.
Rangers replied with 126 for two, with Stovell leading the run chase with 64 from 40 balls including three sixes and six fours.
The Rangers captain dissected the field with some exquisite stroke play, pulling Oyinde Bascome for four to bring up his half-century in the fourteenth over.
He also featured in two fruitful partnerships that kept his team firmly on course, adding 63 for the first wicket with Shannon Rayner (32) and a further 50 with Deunte Darrell (9) that steered Rangers across the line with 29 balls to spare.
“I thought Dion batted really well and he is really coming into the game,” Janeiro Tucker, the Rangers player-coach, said.
“He is batting well and also leading from the front with his captaincy.
“We wanted to have about 60 in the first six overs of the power play and we had 80 so we were well ahead with our plan which worked out how we wanted it to.
“You pick up the ones and twos and with the odd boundary you keep yourself at six or seven an over and then you have no reason why you shouldn’t win the game.”
Rangers dedicated their success to team-mate Tre Manders, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle in a motorcycle accident last week.
“We did it for Tre and we really feel bad for him,” Tucker added. “He has had a very hard few days so we are trying to cheer him up.
“He is down right now because he really wants to play cricket. He really wants to play Cup Match and with the national squad [the regional World T20 qualifiers] so we are trying to keep him going and motivated in order to make a speedy recovery.”
Rangers were worthy winners of the competition, having led throughout the entire campaign and suffered a sole defeat against Cleveland County.
“I am real pleased with the way the T20 went for the season,” Tucker said.
“We have led for the whole season and lost one game which was a hard one.
“However, at the end of the day we had a plan in place and this was our plan — to get over the line and win this T20.”
Tucker held his end of the bargain during the title-clinching win as he claimed three for 18 from his allotted four overs and received solid support from Charles Trott, who took two for 25.
“You just have to bowl the right lines and lengths,” Tucker said. “In T20, you have to keep the ball as full as possible and you want the batsman to hit mid on and mid off.
“You don’t want to bowl length balls where they are taking you mid-wicket and stuff like that. You want them to hit straight; that’s how it’s got to be for T20.”
Temiko Wilson, the wicketkeeper, was St George’s top scorer with a run a ball 33, while Ryan Steede and Oyinde Bascome claimed the only Rangers wickets to fall.
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