It was almost 12 years ago, as Kyle Phillip remembers. He was nine years old – “maybe 10” – and saw cricket in a club in Trinidad. Leaving his inhibitions behind him, he went to a fast-paced bowler who looked up – an exciting all-rounder who had moved from Guyana to Trinidad to play club cricket – and said to him, “Hey Dillon, teach me, how to bowl fast, man. “
The Dillon he turned to is Dillon Heyliger, then a 17-year-old fast bowling allrounder who made a name for himself in Guyana in age group tournaments. Dillon also remembers the meeting. “He came to me and said, ‘Dillon, I want to roll fast.’ And here he is today, he’s grown up and he’s shown up and he’s a good boy and he has a lot of potential. ‘
More than a decade after this meeting at a cricket club in Trinidad, Kyle Phillip, now living in Florida, is part of the US cricket team. Toronto-based Dillon Heyliger plays for the Canadian national team. And here, on a warm afternoon in Brampton, their teams played against each other in the Global T20. Phillip of Edmonton Royals recorded four gates. Heyliger of Montreal Tigers got three wickets, scored 10 vital runs and overtook the man of the match.
Over two meters tall, Phillip was responsible for Ruvindu Gunasekara (with a near-perfect Yorker), Kyle Coetzer (who made his escape), Dinesh Chandimal (who made a catch for the third man) and George Bailey ( Slogging to Long-On).
He provided the early breakthrough; dismissed a batsman and then became the better of two international stars. He threw the ball mostly backwards – on a surface that went up and down – and rolled over the field at the end. His last two overs cost only 13. And they produced three major doors to compete with Edmonton Royals.
What Phillip did in the evening, Heyliger did in the afternoon. The 29-year-old Heyliger is not as tall as Phillip, but he took a similar approach. Both rated the conditions at a t. They realized that this drop-in pitch was different from anything they had seen in the previous games. It was crucial that they hit the ball a short distance and allowed the pitch to make its contribution.
“He’s a bowler who hits hard on the wicket,” Montreal Tigers coach Tom Moody told Heyliger. “If he hits that length on a slightly inconsistent wicket, he may be a handful.”
Heyliger prevailed in the eighth game – not too long after his club mate and Canadian team-mate Nikhil Dutta fired the fiery Faf du Plessis. This was the phase in the game where Edmonton Royals, who was on the sidelines after seven overs for a 2-0 win, had continued his momentum.
Heyliger’s first over cost three runs. His next was a girl with two wicket doors. His third went for eight. And his final for five runs over – and contained another wicket. His magic was 4-1-14-3. The three scalp types included those of the dangerous thugs Ben Cutting and Shadab Khan.
A few hours later Heyliger entered with 19 of 7 balls. He stood at the end of the non-striker as Phillip came in to throw the last ball of the spell. More than a decade after their first meeting, they were only a few meters apart with a T20 game on the line. Heyliger did not look at Phillip. He would continue in the final with a four- and six-tie against Jimmy Neesham and bring his team home. And the two men would share a moment and pass on their congratulations.
“It’s good to meet again and have a little reunion,” Phillip said about this brief encounter.
Heyliger thought about each of their travels – and how they played for the US and Canada as well as T20 teams – and summed up everything in two words: