Trinidad and Tobago beat Titans by six runs courtesy of Duckworth-Lewis method in Group B encounter at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad on Monday.
Titans needed 36 off the final three overs, having scored 12 off Ravi Rampaul’s 16th over. Just when one thought that the momentum was with the Titans, with AB de Villiers still at the wicket (23 not out from 12 balls), rain intervened and played spoilsport. With this win Trinidad are still in contention for the semi-final with a game against group-toppers, Chennai Super Kings in hand.
Titans started their run-chase in a rollicking fashion. Samuel Badree was carted for five boundaries in his first over. The leg-spinner, who has one of the best economy rates in T20 cricket, started off with full deliveries to Jacques Rudolph and he was hit for two boundaries off the first two balls. Against skipper Henry Davids, Badree started off with a short and wide delivery which was hit over backward point. A similar delivery followed which was given the same treatment. The final ball was pitched outside the off-stump to which Davids opened the face and guided it past the keeper eluding the short third-man.
Ravi Rampaul, who conceded just four off his first over, was taken to the cleaners in his second over. Titans skipper Davids hit Rampaul over the rooftop at wide long-on to dither the spirits of the Trinidadian outfit. At the end of three overs the score was 41 for no loss. Sunil Narine bowled the fourth over and conceded only one run of the over.
Titans looked to attack Trinidad bowlers in the powerplay overs. Davids was in sublime touch. The inside-out shot over covers for six off Nevin Stewart had a touch of class.
Just when Davids looked ominous for Trinidad all set to take Titans close to a win, he was nipped in the bud by Rayad Emrit. Davids tried to drive the yorker length delivery from Emrit but missed the ball. After Davids’s wicket Trinidad skipper Denesh Ramdin brought back Badree who conceded only two runs in his comeback over. He got Heino Kuhn in his third over when the Titans No. 4 batsman tried to go for an impetuous sweep shot and failed to clear Evin Lewis at deep square-leg. Lendl Simmons then got two wickets of two balls — wickets of Rudolph and Roelef van der Merwe — to peg back Titans considerably.
South African One-Day International (ODI) captain de Villiers and Farhaan Behardien then played themselves in before launching an assault over Emrit. The 15th over of the innings bowled by Emrit went for 22. Behardien started the proceeding with a couple of sixes — one over long-off and other straight over the bowler’s head. Wily de Villiers pressed on the accelerator swept Emrit, using his pace, between square-leg and fine-leg. The final ball was hit straight down the ground to get the required rate to under 11 runs per over. Titans needed 54 off the final five overs.
Ramdin, realising the importance of picking wickets, gambled with Narine. The need of the hour was batting out Narine’s six balls. Behardien had other ideas; he went for a slog-sweep and was caught at deep mid-wicket. Behardien made a cardinal sin by not crossing and allowing de Villiers to be on the strike for subsequent deliveries. Instead David Wiese faced Narine and he was bamboozled rightaway. Narine found the edge of Wiese’s bat and he was caught at the first slip.
De Villiers and wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehlo (11 not out off five deliveries) showed the stomach for a fight but rain prevented them from taking their side home.
Earlier, 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.
(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)