CLT20 2013: Ravi Rampaul key to underdogs Trinidad and Tobago’s chances

Ravi Rampaul’s extra pace and accuracy has often troubled the opposition © Getty Images

In the inaugural edition of the Champions League Twenty20 in 2009, surprise finalists Trinidad and Tobago had an effective medium-pacer in Dwayne Bravo who finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 12 scalps. Fast forward to 2013 and Ravi Rampaul, with a few extra yards of pace and a better economy rate, could be as vital. Prakash Govindasreenivasan has more.

With a successful debut season in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Ravindranath Rampaul joined a long list of West Indian cricketers who have reveled in Indian conditions across six seasons. Picking up 13 wickets at an economy rate of just under seven, Rampaul proved to be a handy bowler for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in his first season.

Rampaul has now returned to India as the bowling spearhead of Trinidad and Tobago for the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 and has already made an impact with figures of four for 14 in their first outing. Having missed the Caribbean Premier League’s (CPL) first season due to a knee injury, Rampaul came back into action in style. It was his impeccable line and length which set the tone for his side’s 25-run victory in their tournament opener against the Brisbane Heat. Giving nothing away in terms of width, Rampaul’s first two overs fetched just five runs for the opposition and the costly wicket of James Hopes. Brisbane’s Joe Burns was looking set to take the game away from the West Indian outfit towards the end of the innings, until Rampaul came back to bowl a delivery at 140 kmph and break Burns’s leg-stump to virtually end Brisbane’s pursuit of a late victory. In his final over, he wrapped up the game with two wickets.

If he keeps his form going, he could do what Dwayne Bravo did for Trinidad and Tobago in the first edition of the CLT20 in 2009. With 12 wickets in the tournament, Bravo was the highest wicket-taker for a side that surpassed expectations and finished as runners-up.  He too came into the tournament with decent performances in the first two editions of the IPL, with 11 wickets in each season.

Bravo however, conceded a few extra runs and often finished with an economy rate around eight runs per over. Rampaul, on the other hand, comes in with a few extra yards of pace and has the knack of drying up the runs. In his next assignment against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, he comes up against a fragile batting line-up. Trinidad and Tobago skipper Denesh Ramdin will rest the onus of performance on Rampaul’s shoulder to hand the IPL side a shaky debut in the tournament.

If Trinidad and Tobago are to go one step further from 2009 and clinch the title, they will need Rampaul to sustain his brilliant start to the tournament.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @PrakashG_89)