GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Mighty Trinidad and Tobago reduced the Caribbean Twenty20 final to a no-contest as they crushed out-of-sorts Guyana in a authoritative performance to march to their third consecutive title here last night.
The defending champions hardly put a foot wrong, limiting Guyana to an inadequate 116 for six off their 20 overs and then cruising to their target with over seven overs left at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium. T&T’s triumph was set up by fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel (2-16) and Rayad Emrit (2-18) who claimed two wickets apiece in superb four-over spells to keep a lid on the scoring.
Happy to chase a target that required less than a run a ball, T&T got off to a flier courtesy of a rollicking 52-run stand off 32 balls between dashing West Indies right-hander Lendl Simmons and rookie Evin Lewis.
Simmons slammed an unbeaten 52 off 37 balls with four fours and three sixes while the left-handed Lewis stroked a cavalier 32 from 18 balls with four fours and two sixes. When they were parted in the sixth over, Kieron Pollard welcomed a promotion to number three by blasting three sixes and a four in a cameo unbeaten 25 from 21 balls, as he starred in an unbroken 68-run, second wicket partnership off 43 balls with Simmons.
In fact, it was Pollard’s massive blow over long-on off off-spinner Narsingh Deonarine that sealed victory and sparked a fireworks display and partying among the Trinidadian players and fans.
Perhaps finally buckling under the toll of four matches in as many days, Guyana looked out of their depth from the outset and never came to terms with T&T’s varied bowling attack.
In-form right-hander Chris Barnwell top scored with 32 while opener Trevon Griffith chipped in with 29, but they were only two of three batsmen to reach double figures.
Leg-spinner Samuel Badree removed the dangerous Derwin Christian for five in the second over at five for one and Gabriel gave T&T a huge advantage, prising out Ramnaresh Sarwan (5) and Narsingh Deonarine for a first-ball “duck”, in a hostile fifth over.
Sarwan, frustrated at having his scoring shackled, mis-timed an ugly pull and skied a catch to Simmons at mid-wicket, to extend his wretched run in the tournament that yielded 61 runs from eight innings.
Two balls later, Deonarine fended off a short, rising delivery aimed at his rib cage for wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin to run around the leg side and claimed a simple catch. Reeling at 15 for three in the fifth over, Guyana recovered through a 61-run fourth wicket stand between Barnwell and Griffith, who lived a charmed life.
Barnwell faced 39 deliveries and struck a four and a six while Griffith survived two simple chances to Emrit to also hit a four and a six in a 32-ball knock.
Griffith was first let off in the fourth over before he had scored when he lofted a sitter to long-on off Badree, and was then given a second life on 19 in the 14th over when Emrit failed to hold on to a skied return catch.
At the half-way point, Guyana were stuttering at 49 for three and thereafter both batsmen began to chance their arms with time running out.
Griffith cleared mid-wicket in the 14th over with Narine and Barnwell followed up with a straight hit for four in one of the most expensive overs of the innings that cost 13 runs.
Off the first ball of the next over, Griffith perished to a direct hit by Pollard from cover as he attempted a sharp single, and Barnwell lofted Narine over mid-wicket for his only six before he fell to the first ball of the 17th over, well taken at point by Darren Bravo. Two balls later, Leon Johnson was taken on the second attempt by Simmons at third man off Emrit, and Guyana needed an unbroken 27-run, seventh wicket partnership between Royston Crandon (16) and Steven Jacobs (9) to inch to their total.
Lewis signalled his intentions from early with two back-to-back fours off seamer Barnwell in the second over of the innings, as T&T started brightly.
Simmons joined him in the following over, carting off-spinner Jacobs over mid-wicket for the maximum and following up with a cut for four through point.
The floodgates opened wide in Jacobs’s next over, as both batsmen indulged heartily to take 20 runs from the fifth over of the innings. Simmons tickled the second delivery fine for four and Lewis disdainfully smashed the right-armer straight over long-off for six before reeling off two thunderous strokes through cover for boundaries, as T&T cantered pasted 50.
The impressive Beaton removed Lewis in the next over to a brilliant catch by Johnson, flying high to his left to hold a superb two-handed catch at slip at 52 for one.
However, any hopes of Guyana staging their now trademark Houdini-like escape were quickly squashed as Simmons and Pollard wrecked the bowling with a series of savage strokes.
Simmons placed the perfect exclamation mark on the tournament for the Trinidadians when he lashed Devendra Bishoo for a pair of sixes and a four in the leg-spinner’s second over that cost 19 runs.