Any team that finds itself with five wickets down and not even 20 runs on the board cannot reasonably expect to win a 20/20 game, but that is exactly what By Rite did to defeat Esso.
It was the Division One Clico Cayman 20/20 final at the Smith Road Oval on Sunday and the hundreds who turned up were not disappointed with either final.
Earlier the Division Two title was won by West Bay against BrightStaff Greenies Too in a relatively tame game. The Division One match was an entirely different proposition and it was dominated by By Rite’s Kenute ‘Gary’ Tulloch. Not with the ball, as you would expect from Cayman’s No.1 fast bowler, but with the bat.
Veteran Tulloch, 42, came in at No.8 with By Rite in disarray. Only Philip Wight (14) and Omar Bryan (17) could boast double figures and despite four earlier batsmen representing Cayman at the Stanford 20/20 in January, they could not muster a decent stand between them. In came Tulloch and fearlessly smacked the Esso bowling about. In a heroic 45 he hit two sixes and three fours until bowled by Esso captain Frankie Hinds who took 3-5 in 1.3 overs. Kevon Bazil was Esso’s best other bowler with 3-15. By Rite were 106 all out in 19.3 overs.
That target looked a mere formality for Esso and although they lost Keiniel Coley, bowled second ball by Tulloch, the Suberan brothers, Sylvester (Benjy) and Sam settled well for a while. When Benjy went for 7, Ryan Bovell took over. Esso were scoring from mis-timed shots and thick edges but it didn’t matter, they were on their way to the title, so it seemed. But a succession of Esso batsmen came and went and they started the last over on 100-7 needing seven to win.
Tulloch – who else? – bowled the last over. The first ball brought one run. The second no run. Clevroy Sailsman hit the next for a four. Two runs from three balls were needed. The fourth brought no run, as did the fifth. So Esso needed one to tie or two to win from the last ball. Tulloch bowled and Michael Palmer got run out. Pandemonium from the By Rite faithful as they won by one run. Esso were 105-8. Thrilling stuff.
Tulloch had the widest smile in George Town. So too By Rite skipper Ainsley Hall who said: ‘At one point we were struggling bad, but I said to the guys as long as we bat through the overs and get over 100 runs we can defend that. We have good bowling and excellent fielders. Once we were bowling to a line and keeping the field tight and making lots of dot balls and taking the odd wicket, we knew we could put them under pressure and they would lose their head.
‘Tulloch is the man. At his age, he’s still a good cricketer. We gave him the last over to bowl because I knew he had the ability and he did his best.’
A bitterly disappointed Hinds said: ‘We were cruising along but the run rate caught up on us. Some of the guys were inexperienced and they didn’t keep their composure under pressure. Not getting two runs from the last three balls was regrettable.’
Technical director Theo Cuffy said: ‘It was the sort of fitting conclusion to our first venture in 2008. It means now that people are now getting more focused in the game and have a better understanding. I’m looking forward now to an exciting season. 20/20 has really caught on but we have to get back into the 50-over game for the development of our cricket.
‘I think Tulloch was outstanding. He proves that age is only a number. He’s 42 and people say he shouldn’t be playing but he’s still the No.1 bowler in the Cayman Islands and he is still one of the top five bowlers statistically at the Stanford 20/20 tournament, so he deserves to be selected on merit.
‘We’ve also got the young ones coming up. Darren Cato was brilliant this morning. He played like a seasoned batsman and that’s what I expect of him.’