T&T stay in contention with D/L victory


Trinidad & Tobago remained in the hunt for the second semi-finals berth in Group B, after rain halted a Titans surge as the match approached its crescendo. Titans needed 36 to win from three overs, with an imperious AB de Villiers at the crease and Sunil Narine already bowled out, but Titans had lost six wickets en route to 153, and that meant they were six runs adrift of the Duckworth-Lewis par score after 17 overs.

T&T’s victory was founded on a scintillating 109-run stand for the second wicket between Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo, which came in 64 balls. They hit 188 for 6 despite an indifferent finish to the innings, and thanks largely to Narine and Lendl Simmons, who took 4 wickets for 41 in seven wickets between them, that total proved sufficient. Their victory means that three teams, including Titans, remain capable of progressing to the semi-finals alongside Chennai Super Kings.

Lewis struck 70 off 35 deliveries, prospering most conspicuously on the off side, where he hit each of his five sixes and five of his seven fours. Bravo was his more conservative foil and contributed only 38 from the other end, but he ditched the innings-anchor role as the death overs approached and finished with 63 off 44, having hit four sixes and five fours.

Morne Morkel’s first-up maiden proved to be a red herring, as Lewis’ ferocious progress during the Powerplay belied both captains’ reluctance to bat first. Lewis got his big offside strokes humming in Morkel’s second over, lofting the third ball over cover, before depositing two consecutive deliveries well into the stands.

Bravo found the middle of his own bat in the next over, flaying an errant Marchant de Lange for three fours through the offside, and in three overs the pair had lifted T&T’s run rate from two per over to almost 10. The team would maintain that breathless pace until both men were out.

As T&T’s strokemaking grew bolder, the Titans’ attack became equally meek. Left-armer Rowan Richards sprayed it around the crease to travel at 13 runs per over, and Henry Davids’ erratic offbreaks fared little better, as he went at more than 10. Roelof van der Merwe brought Titans’ some respite from the onslaught, conceding only four runs from his first two overs – in which he ironically dismissed Lewis with his only poor ball – but Bravo adopted Lewis’ hyper-aggression after his partner’s demise and sent van der Merwe thrice into the stands in his next over.

T&T should perhaps have made more of the foundation Bravo and Lewis had provided them. Two-hundred seemed likely to be eclipsed at 145 for 2, but Bravo’s dismissal brought two more in quick time, and the Titans quicks found the consistency that had eluded them for much of the innings.

Henry Davids set Titans off apace in response, as he hit two sixes and six fours in a 24-ball 42, but a stutter in the middle overs, in which Titans lost four wickets for 23, surrendered much of that momentum. De Villiers hit 23 from 13 to resurrect the chase alongside Farhaan Behardien, but the Ahmedabad crowd were denied a thrilling finish by a shower that quickly worsened to a torrent.