T&T canter into semis with ease
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal, Hyderabad
Scorecard:Eagles v Trinidad and Tobago
Player:RR Rossouw, ND Stewart, AB Barath
Event:Champions League 2009/10

DateLine: 18th October 2009


Trinidad and Tobago dumped Eagles out off Champions League 2009/10 with a comprehensive win. Chasing a mammoth 214 to win Eagles' chase fizzled out after Roussow's dismissal. They needed to scale down the target in 14.2 overs to qualify but in the end could manage 189 in their 20 overs.


Ganga had no hesitation in electing to bat first and his batsmen did the rest. Perkins set the ball rolling with a boundary and six in the very first over and that was just an indication of what was to come. Adrian Barath who came in because Darren Bravo was unfit was dropped by de Villiers off his own bowling and that was just the right break for the right hander as he cut loose. That drop then went on to pain the South African side for the rest of the innings as the opening pair stormed a woeful bowling. Perkins and Barath joined hands to shred any plans the bowlers had before the match as they caused turmoil in the camp off Diamond Eagles. The pair combined to score 17 runs off a Mpitsang over and that was just the beginning off what Eagles was about to witness for the next 17 overs. The pair did not take their foot off the accelerator as they punished the wayward bowlers without any trace off mercy.


For six overs Eagles' skipper Dippenaar did not know what had hit his bowlers as the two diminutive openers went about playing some aggressive shots to all parts off the ground. With the powerplay out of the way Dippenaar pressed into services of off-spinner Tshabalala and he duly struck in the fourth ball he bowled as he cleaned up Perkins with a slower one that spun in sharply. The new man Simmons got a gentle full toss first up and he did not waste time as he launched it over long on and off the next ball square drove for four to signal his intentions. With the field spread out Barath opted for getting the singles and doubles and he reached his half-century off only 34 balls.


Dippenaar brought back de Villiers in the 14th over and the carnage which had stopped for brief period resumed immediately. Barath sliced one over point to start the party and then Simmons made it a nightmare for the bowler as he tickled one to fine leg and then crashed one through covers to inflict more pain on the bowler. Finally Barath ended the over with a ferocious drill past the bowler. Simmons finally was cleaned up by a superb inswinger from McLaren for 40 off 25 balls. In walked Pollard and many expected him to go ballast from the first ball. He took two balls to assess the nature off the pitch and once he sized it up played an imperious straight-drive to kick start his innings. He did not disappoint his admirers as he cleared the boundary ropes twice but got dismissed trying to repeat the feat. Navin Stewart playing his first match off the tournament ransacked 27 runs of 19th over bowled by du Preez to help T&T get past 200 run mark.


Needing to chase 214 off 86 balls to qualify for the semi-finals Rossouw and van Wyk got the innings off to a rollicking start as they walloped the opening bowlers off T&T into submission with some intelligent hitting. Anticipating a carnage that might unfold skipper Ganga introduced Sherwin Ganga as early as the fourth over and van Wyk responded by collecting three boundaries and it seemed that the move had backfired spectacularly. Suddenly the off spinner slipped in a low full toss which the burly right hander missed completely to be trapped leg before.


Rossouw continued to make merry as he hammered the T&T bowlers to all parts off the ground to keep abreast with the creeping run rate. Just when the match began to swing into Eagles' favour Sherwin Ganga slipped in another full toss to claim the wicket off McLaren. du Preez was promoted up the order to tonk the ball around and he duly did what his captain had asked him to do. Rossouw who was in a ruthless mood tried to keep hitting the ball into the stands and finally gave away as he top-edged one from Simmons to Pollard at deep midwicket to end his innings.


Dippenaar and du Preez added 58 in 8.2 overs to bring some respectability to the score off Eagles. They ran the singles hard got the boundaries but the asking rate was always beyond them. Skipper Dippenaar finally fell when he edged one off Pollard through to the keeper and du Preez holed out into the deep off the same bowler as Eagles' challenge fell apart.