GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – The Bravo brothers underlined Trinidad and Tobago’s championship credentials when they pummelled high quality unbeaten half-centuries to inspire a comfortable eight-wicket win over Windward Islands here Tuesday night.
Dwayne slammed 62 from 42 balls and while his younger sibling Darren carved out a typically classy 52 from 31 balls, as T&T easily chased down the Windwards’ 125 with 22 balls to spare at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium.
T&T appeared in trouble after a slow, rocky start left them on 14 for two in the fifth over but the Bravo brothers plundered 112 off 68 balls for the third wicket to silence the home crowd.
Darren’s half-century was third in succession after 65 not out against Leeward Islands and 82 not out against Guyana.
Earlier, Keddy Lesporis top scored with 31 from 33 balls and captain Darren Sammy chipped in with an unbeaten 25 down the order to help the Windwards to 125 for six off their 20 overs.
Leg-spinner Samuel Badree led the Trinidadian attack with two for 15 from four overs.
Winning the toss and batting, the Windwards lost attacking West Indies opener Johnson Charles for six in the first over when he struck a full toss to third man off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel but Devon Smith (19) and Andre Fletcher (11) repaired the innings by adding 30 for the second wicket.
They each struck two boundaries and were taking the advantage away from T&T when Badree removed both in the sixth over.
Fletcher holed out at long on to Kieron Pollard off the first ball while Smith missed a defensive prod at one that spun across him and was smartly stumped.
Lesporis then put on 29 off 27 balls for the fourth wicket with Liam Sebastien who smashed two sixes in scoring 20 from 15 balls.
A terrible mix up over a single cost Sebastien his wicket at 66 for four in the 11th over and when Garey Mathurin (3) charged off-spinner Sunil Narine, missed a heave and was stumped, the Windwards had lost their way at 76 for five in the 14th over.
Lesporis and Sammy, however, gave the Windwards a target at which to bowl, posting 47 runs off 39 balls for the sixth wicket.
While Lesporis counted two fours, Sammy blasted two boundaries and a six – a flat hit over long-on off medium pacer Dwayne Bravo off the second ball of the final over.
Not for the first time in the tournament, T&T’s openers failed to give them a proper start. Lendl Simmons (6) casually flicked medium pacer Sammy to Fletcher at square leg at eight for one in the fourth over before William Perkins (1) became frustrated at soaking up 12 deliveries and clubbed an easy catch to Lesporis at short mid-wicket off off-spinner Shane Shillingford.
However, any hopes of Windwards dealing T&T their first loss were savagely ended by the Bravo siblings.
Dwayne, for the first time, took the lead role hammering four fours and three sixes while Darren cracked five fours and four sixes, in a brutal assault on the Windwards bowlers.
The right-handed Dwayne clouted a pair of sixes in one over from left-arm seamer Kenroy Peters and eventually raised his half-century in similar fashion, with another brace off the first two balls of the 15th over bowled by Shillingford which cost 20 runs.
Not to be left out, Darren tore into off-spinner Liam Sebastien with a magnificent lofted stroke over long-off before twice clearing the ropes at wide mid-wicket.
With the victory, Trinidad remain unbeaten and lead the Caribbean Twenty20 standings on 17 points with Jamaica four behind in second.
The Windwards, Barbados and Guyana are all on eight points and jostling for one of the two playoff spots.