CHENNAI, India, CMC-IANS – Trinidad & Tobago once again sacrificed victory on the altar of defeat in another heart-breaking finish, after thoughtless bowling from Ravi Rampaul and questionable tactics from Daren Ganga condemned them to lose in a one-over eliminator following a tie against New South Wales of Australia in the Champions League Twenty20 yesterday.
Rampaul, strangely bowling around the wicket with questionable field placements from Ganga, coughed up 16 from the final over in regulation time, as the New South Wales ninth-wicket pair of Moises Henriques and Patrick Cummins levelled the scores, replying to T&T’s 139 for six in the Group-A match at the Chidambaram Stadium.
West Indies fast bowler Rampaul continued to get his line and length wrong bowling around the wicket, and Ganga again employed similarly questionable field placements – choosing to soften the coverage on the leg-side boundaries – in the eliminator.
The Blues, batting first in the tie-breaker, made 18 without loss with Moises Henriques smashing Rampaul for four boundaries – including three on the leg-side – and a hard run two to make him a shoo-in for the Man-of-the-Match award.
In reply, the Red Force made a brave bid, but eventually fell short, as they managed only 16 off left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe with West Indies opener Lendl Simmons bringing further agony to the Caribbean champions, already grieving from Monday’s last-ball, one-wicket loss to the Mumbai Indians, when he was caught inside the long-off boundary trying to hit a six to win the match.
The defeat was the second straight for T&T, leaving them rock-bottom in the group, and elevating the Blues.
T&T face Cape Cobras of South Africa next Tuesday at the same venue in the third of their four group matches.
In regulation time, T&T seemed to have the match under their control, when they had NSW on the ropes on 123 for eight after the penultimate over, but Henriques and teenager Cummins collected all but one of the 17 required in the final over from Rampaul to force the match into overtime.
The Red Force were on their heels, when an early flurry of boundaries from Australia vice-captain Shane Watson and fellow national opener David Warner seemed to set up the Blues’ innings.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine made the breakthrough, when he had Watson caught at long-on for 15 in the seventh over, leaving the Blues 48 for one.
With the ball keeping low, Sherwin Ganga, also bowling off-spin, changed the complexion of the match, when he bowled Warner for the NSW top score of 38 and wicketkeeper/batsman Daniel Smith for 11, as the Blues slid to 72 for three.
Ganga struck again, when Australia leg-spin all-rounder Steven Smith committed hari-kiri, skying to catch to long-on, perishing for 11.
Kevin Cooper tightened T&T’s grip, when Ben Rohrer chipped a delivery and was caught at mid-wicket for three in the 17th over, as the Blues slid deeper into trouble.
Rampaul had Blues captain Simon Katich, the discarded Australia opener, caught at mid-on for 23, as NSW were left to get 37 in the last three overs.
Narine had O’Keefe caught inside the deep mid-wicket boundary for three in the penultimate over, and Mitchell Starc was run out off the last ball of same over, leaving Rampaul to usher T&T over the finish line.With the square leg in an orthodox position and fine leg on the edge of the circle, Rampaul and T&T watched helplessly, as Henriques flicked the first two deliveries to the long-leg boundary.
Rampaul conceded a single to deep cover from the next delivery before Cummins slapped the fourth ball to long-off for two and swung the penultimate delivery over the head of the mid-on fielder into the vacant long-on boundary for four.
Rampaul managed to restrict Cummins to a single to the mid-wicket fielder off the final ball of the match to force the match into the “Super Over”.
Sherwin Ganga was the pick of the T&T bowlers with three wickets for 26 runs from his allotted four overs, and Narine snared two for 26 from his four overs.
Earlier, the T&T innings never quite had the momentum for a bigger total, and it was only towards the end that they managed to pick up some useful runs with 14 coming in the 19th over, bowled by Starc.
Simmons hit the top score of 41 and put on 41 for the first wicket with Barath in 6.3 overs before O’Keefe brought the Blues back into the match, conceding just 14 runs in his four overs, while breaking the opening partnership, when he bowled Adrian Barath for 15.
The remainder of the T&T batsmen were unable to collar the NSW bowling that at best was restrictive, but forced errors from the increasingly impatient willow-wielders leading to the regular fall of wickets.
Lusty hitting in the closing stages from Rampaul and Cooper lent some respectability to the innings, but it put onus on the T&T fielding and bowling that was more or less spot on – until the end.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (maximum 20 overs)
L. Simmons lbw b Henriques 41
A. Barath b O’Keefe 15
D.M. Bravo c Rohrer b Henriques 6
*D. Ganga c Warner b Cummins 21
+D. Ramdin c O’Keefe b Starc 19
K. Cooper run out (+D. Smith) 12
R. Rampaul not out 15
J. Mohammed not out 2
Extras (lb3, w4, nb1) 8
TOTAL (6 wkts, 20 overs) 139
S. Ganga, S. Narine, S. Badree did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-41 (Barath, 6.3 overs); 2-54 (Bravo, 9.1); 3-69 (Simmons, 11.5); 4-106 (+Ramdin, 16.4); 5-112 (*D. Ganga, 17.3); 6-137 (Cooper, 19.3)
Bowling: S. Smith 2-0-20-0; Cummins 4-0-29-1 (nb1, w1); Starc 4-0-30-1; Clark 2-0-16-0; O’Keefe 4-0-14-1 (w2); Henriques 4-0-27-2 (w1)
NEW SOUTH WALES (target: 140 off 20 overs)
D. Warner b S. Ganga 38
S. Watson c Simmons b Narine 14
+D. Smith b S. Ganga 11
*S. Katich c Badree b Rampaul 23
S. Smith c Simmons b S. Ganga 11
B. Rohrer c Bravo b Cooper 3
M. Henriques not out 18
S. O’Keefe c S. Ganga b Narine 3
M. Starc run out (Rampaul/+Ramdin) 1
P. Cummins not out 7
Extras (lb1, w6, nb3) 10
TOTAL (8 wkts, 20 overs) 139
S. Clark did not bat
Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Watson, 6.6 overs); 2-65 (Warner, 9.4); 3-72 (+Smith, 11.5); 4-90 (S. Smith, 15.2); 5-102 (Rohrer, 16.5); 6-110 (*Katich, 17.3); 7-115 (O’Keefe, 18.1); 8-123 (Starc, 18.6)
Bowling: Badree 4-1-26-0; Rampaul 4-0-42-1 (nb1); Narine 4-0-26-2 (nb2, w1); S. Ganga 4-0-26-3 (w1); Cooper 4-0-18-1
Result: Match tied (NSW win one-over eliminator)
Points: NSW 2, T&T 0
Man-of-the-Match: M. Henriques (NSW)
Umpires: J. Cloete, S. Tarapore
TV umpire: B.Bowden
Matchreferee: R. Madugalle
Reserve umpire: A. Chowdhury