HYDERABAD, India, CMC – Ravi Rampaul followed up half-centuries from Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath with an impressive spell of four wickets for 14 runs from four overs to catapult Trinidad & Tobago into the main draw of the Champions League Twenty20 with a convincing, 51-run victory over Leicestershire on Tuesday.
West Indies fast bowler Rampaul finished with his second-best figures in a T20 for his homeland, as the English champions were restricted to 117 for nine, in reply to the Caribbean champions’ 168 for two in their Qualifying Pool-A match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Openers Simmons and Barath shared 139 for the first wicket, the highest stand of any wicket for T&T in T20s, to set things up.
Simmons struck seven fours in the top score of 67 from 58 balls, and fellow West Indies opener Barath hit half-dozen fours and a pair of sixes in 62 from 47 balls that earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.
It was the second straight win for T&T, following their five-wicket victory over Ruhuna of Sri Lanka the previous day at the same venue.
The result meant that T&T confirmed their place in the main draw, starting on September 23, as one of the top three teams out of the six taking part in the qualifiers.
They finished with a perfect four points, leaving the Foxes and Ruhuna to battle on Wednesday at the same ground to qualify as the best performing second-placed side.
Leg-spinner Samuel Badree gave T&T a bright start to their defence, when he bowled discarded Australia all-rounder Andrew McDonald for a duck in the first over.
But Rampaul triggered a Leicestershire top-order meltdown, when he had Joshua Cobb caught at deep cover for nine in the second over, and bowled Wayne White for a duck in the fourth over.
Badree also bowled Will Jefferson for six in the fifth over, and off-spinner Sunil Narine added to the Leicestershire’s agony, when he trapped veteran, left-handed wicketkeeper/batsman Paul Nixon for a duck in the following over, leaving the Foxes 20 for five.
T&T met defiance for the first time, when discarded Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq came to the crease, and revived the innings with a stand of 47 for the sixth wicket with James Taylor, whose unbeaten 56 containing four fours and two sixes from 47 balls led the way for the English side.
When Kevon Cooper had Razzaq caught at backward point for 21 in the 14th over, and Narine bowled Jacques du Toit for three in the next over, Leicestershire were 70 for seven, and T&T had the “promised land” in sight.
In the closing stages, Sherwin Ganga and Lendl Simmons leaked 46 from the four overs between them, helping Taylor to accelerate to his 50 from 44 balls which came with an edge past the ’keeper for his third four – off Rampaul – and to put on 47 again for the eighth wicket with Claude Henderson.
Rampaul however, brought the match to a tidy close, when he bowled Henderson and Foxes captain Matthew Hoggard, the former England fast bowler, for 10 and a duck respectively, from successive deliveries in the final over.
Badree finished with the flattering figures of two for seven from four overs, and Narine, bowling his remodeled action, ended with two for 18 from four overs.
Earlier, Simmons got into stride when he tucked a delivery from Hoggard to the backward square leg boundary for four in the first over before Barath blossomed following two streaky boundaries off the same bowler in the fifth over.
Both openers grew in confidence, and Simmons reached his 50 from 41 balls with a single to mid-wicket off McDonald, and Barath drove Craig White to long-off for a single to bring up his 50 from 38 balls.
The T&T openers fell off successive deliveries in the 18th over – bowled by Harry Gurney – when Barath was caught inside the deep mid-wicket boundary, and Simmons was caught at point, leaving West Indies teammates Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin to wrap things up.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (maximum 20 overs)
L. Simmons c Henderson b Gurney 67
A. Barath c du Toit b Gurney 62
D.M. Bravo not out 18
+D. Ramdin not out 11
Extras (b2, lb1, w6, nb1) 10
TOTAL (2 wkts, 20 overs) 168
Did not bat: J. Mohammed, *D. Ganga, S. Ganga, K. Cooper, S. Badree, S. Narine, R. Rampaul
Fall of wickets: 1-139, 2-139
Bowling: Hoggard 3-0-20-0 (nb1, w1); Gurney 4-0-33-2; Abdul Razzaq 4-0-33-0; Henderson 4-0-33-0; McDonald 3-0-25-0; White 2-0-21-0 (w1)
LEICESTERSHIRE (target: 169 off 20 overs)
J. Cobb c Simmons b Rampaul 9
A. McDonald b Badree 0
W. Jefferson b Badree 6
W. White b Rampaul 0
J. Taylor not out 56
+P. Nixon lbw b Narine 0
Abdul Razzaq c Badree b Cooper 21
J. du Toit b Narine 3
C. Henderson b Rampaul 10
*M. Hoggard b Rampaul 0
H. Gurney not out 0
Extras (lb8, w3, nb1) 12
TOTAL (9 wkts, 20 overs) 117
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-9, 3-16, 4-17, 5-20, 6-67, 7-70, 8-117, 9-117
Bowling: Badree 4-1-7-2; Rampaul 4-0-14-4 (w1); Narine 4-0-18-2; S. Ganga 3-0-30-0 (w1); Cooper 4-0-24-1 (w1); Simmons 1-0-16-0 (nb1)
Result: Trinidad & Tobago won by 51 runs
Points: Trinidad & Tobago 2, Leicestershire 0
Series: Trinidad & Tobago qualify for the main draw
Toss: Trinidad & Tobago
Man-of-the-Match: A. Barath (Trinidad & Tobago)
Umpires: S. Asnani, B. Oxenford
TV umpire: B. Doctrove
Man-of-the-Match: A. Pycroft
Reserve umpire: S. Shamsuddin