Super Cooper as T&T win again
NORTH SOUND, Antigua, – A tidy performance in the field from Kevon Cooper helped reigning champions Trinidad & Tobago turn a match that promised much into a one-sided affair, claiming a historic, seven-wicket victory over Guyana in the Caribbean Twenty20 tournament on Friday.
Cooper captured three wickets for 26 runs from four overs and completed two runs outs to earn the Star-of-the-Match award, as Guyana were restricted to a modest 101 for nine from their allocation of 20 overs, after they were sent in to bat in the Group-A match at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.
West Indies opener Lendl Simmons then gave T&T a brisk start, stroking five fours and one six in the top score of 30 from 17 balls, as the Red Fury coasted to their first ever victory over the Guyanese in a regional T20 contest, finishing on 104 for three with 11 balls remaining.
T&T earned four points, moving to eight in the five-team ladder, and second in the group on net run rate behind Windward Islands, who have a match in hand.
Concerned about the weather, T&T broke with the trend in the tournament and put the Guyanese in to bat under overcast skies.
The decision appeared questionable, particularly when openers Sewnarine Chattergoon and Trevon Griffith put on 35 relatively comfortably.
Leg-spinner Samuel Badree, a thorn in most sides with the new ball, failed to put any pressure on the two Guyanese openers with Chattergoon swinging the second delivery of the match to deep backward square leg and both batsmen following up with drive through the extra cover region in the his second over.
Sherwin Ganga, bowling his off-spin, also attracted punishment, when Griffith lofted the first delivery in his only over for a straight six and Chattergoon put him into the Grand Stand two balls later.
T&T kept their composure however, and Cooper swung the tide their way, removing Chattergoon for 20 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul for a third-ball duck, both to badly mistimed leg-side strokes that gave catches to the fielders at mid-wicket and long-on.
Dwayne Bravo tightened the noose with a double-strike of his own in his first over, when Griffith was caught behind for the top score of 31 driving loosely at a delivery outside off-stump and Steve Jacobs was caught at mid-off mistiming his lofted drive.
Lendl Simmons, bowling his pedestrian medium-pace, scalped Guyana captain Christopher Barnwell caught behind playing defensively forward with his first delivery, sinking the Amazon Conquerors to 55 for five in the 11th over.
T&T never allowed the Guyanese to write a comeback story, although left-hander Narsingh Deonarine defied them to remain unbeaten on 26.
Sharp T&T fielding also produced three run outs, a direct hit at the bowler’s end from mid-off by Badree to dismiss Leon Johnson for one in the 14th over and Cooper putting the finishing touches on two others.
Simmons played forward defensively to the first delivery from the off-spin of Jacobs, but he unleashed boundaries from the next three balls, a drive, a late cut and a flat-batted stroke, to give T&T early momentum.
He also lofted Jacobs for a straight six before he swept then slapped Veerasammy Permaul for two more boundaries in the left-arm spinner’s second over – the fourth of the innings.
Fellow opener Adrian Barath had been caught at mid-wicket off Jacobs in the third over before Simmons was caught at deep mid-wicket off Permaul.
The Bravos, elder brother Dwayne and younger brother Darren, coasted T&T to within sight of the target with a stand of 30 for the third wicket.
Dwayne was caught at long-on off Royston Crandon for 18, leaving T&T 70 for three in the 13th over, and his little brother and Kieron Pollard to complete the formalities.
Pollard sealed the landmark victory with a lofted six over long-on off the first ball of the uncomplicated off-spin of Chattergoon.
T&T face Canada in their final group match next Thursday at Kensington Oval in Barbados, where Guyana would have played the same opponents two days earlier in their next match.