Aggressive half-centuries from Evin Lewis (70 off 35 balls) and Darren Bravo (63 off 44 balls) powered Trinidad and Tobago to 188 for six against Titans in a Group B encounter at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad on Monday.
The highlight of the Trinidad innings was 109-run second-wicket partnership off 64 balls between opener Lewis and Bravo that propelled the innings that began in a sedate fashion. Morne Morkel kept the things tight bowling a maiden over (the first off the innings) to Lendl Simmons. In the next over, Simmons tried to break free against Marchant de Lange trying to hoist him over mid-wicket but the ball ricocheted off the Trinidad opener’s pads onto the stumps.
If Morkel’s first over was a compelling case study as how to bowl in T20 cricket with the new ball, his second over was complete antithesis of it. Morkel erred in line and length which played into left-handed opener Levis’s hands. A slower delivery was pitched full which was carted over covers for a four. The final two balls of the third over were short and wide; Lewis threw kitchen sink at both of those deliveries and they went over square on the off-side for sixes.
Lewis’s aggression rubbed onto Bravo whose drives through the off-side were reminiscent of Brian Charles Lara. After the lofted shot off de Lange for a boundary, the third ball was caressed through covers as he befriended sublime timing. The full-toss followed thereafter, Bravo gave the ball direction between backward point and covers for the third boundary of the over.
Lewis then attacked Rowan Richards in his first over smashing him for a six and a couple of boundaries. The attacking opening batsman brought his half-century off only 21 deliveries as he carted Titans skipper Henry Davids for a straight six off the back foot and a dab towards fine-leg.
Bravo was playing the role of the sheet-anchor while Lewis was took the mantle of hitting boundaries. He didn’t let Davids settle as a flighted delivery from the skipper was lifted over long-off for a huge six. Davids, running out of ideas, brought in part-timer Farhaan Behardien who was taken to the cleaners by Lewis — who was hell bent on taking the attack to the bowlers. Lewis casually opened the face of the bat running the wide delivery from Behardien behind the wicketkeeper for a boundary. The next delivery was played in the same manner, and the result was the same.
Bravo played out a quiet one run over from Roelef van der Merwe which slowed down the things albeit only momentarily. In the next over, Bravo flat-batted Richards over covers for a six and the next ball was hit on the up threading the gap between mid-off and covers.
Lewis fell to a leg-break bowled by van der Merwe which didn’t come well out of the hand and resulted in a full toss. The Trinidad opener got the elevation but didn’t time the ball well. Richards ran back from square-leg and clung on to the catch.
The fall of wicket didn’t seem to have any impact on Bravo and Trinidad. Seventeen-year-old Nicolas Pooran got into his groove by hitting David Wiese over the sightscreen. In the next over, Bravo smashed three sixes off van der Merwe, who seemed to have lost the plot after being smashed for two sixes. The final ball of the over was a help-yourself delivery — a full-toss in the hitting arc with fine-leg up in the circle. Bravo guided it over the head of the fielder for a six over fine-leg.
Pooran perished trying to up the ante, getting holed out at deep mid-wicket off Davids. That brought the only player from Tobago in the team Nevin Stewart who opened his account with a six over long-on. Bravo fell on 63 missing a full length delivery off de Lange. The wicket slowed down the run-rate just a tad as Trinidad scored only nione off nine deliveries after his dismissal. The final over went for 15 courtesy of two sixes by Stewart and Narine each.
Earlier Titans skipper Davids decided to bowl after winning the toss at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad. Titans fielded in the unchanged side so did Trinidad. A win for the Titans would ensure their entry in the semi-final while their loss would open the avenues for three teams bringing permutations and combinations into the equation. Trinidad, Titans and Sunrisers Hyderabad could still vie for the sole semi-final spot, the other taken by the Chennai Super Kings.
Trinidad will fancy their chances with two spinners in the ranks to defend 188. For Titans the equation is simple — chase the total and enter the semi-final stage of the competition.
Trinidad and Tobago 188 for 6 in 20 overs (Ewin Lewis 70, Darren Bravo 63; Marchant de Lange 3 for 38) vs Titans.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)