PORT OF SPAIN — An impressive all-round performance from captain Dwayne Bravo steered the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel to a thrilling one-run victory over the Antigua Hawksbills in their rain-affected CPL T20 match last night at Queens Park Oval.
Chasing a revised target of 134 , off 15 overs, the Hawksbills were restricted to 132 for eight, giving the Red Steel their second win of the tournament. The Red Steel, who had won the toss and opted to bat, scored 169 off 20 overs before rain caused the loss of 90 minutes of play and forced a Duckworth/Lewis revision of the target.
The Hawksbills came close to pulling off a surprise win, when they entered the last over needing 19 runs and with Sheldon Cotterell in a dismissive mood. He smashed two sixes in the over, including clearing the fence off the last ball, but his mid-night heroics that included 19 off seven balls were unable to produce a win for the Antiguan team.
Kevin O’Brien, who starred with the bat two days ago failed to come off once again. Though O’Brien hit the pacy Cotterrell for a boundary in the second over, the Jamaican who clocked 150 kph during his spell returned to take his wicket for nine. But O’Brien’s fellow opener Adrian Barath and number three batsman Ross Taylor formed a good partnership thereafter.
From 10 for 1, the batsmen put on 54 runs for the second wicket and ended the Powerplay on 48 for 1, one of the best of the tournament so far. Both batsmen looked in fine form but as the middle overs ticked by, Taylor lost patience after knocking the ball around for singles and tried to clear Ben Rohrer at long-on. He failed, and went for 25.
Two overs later, Barath was run out trying to get a quick single but his wicket brought the Bravo brothers, Dwayne and Darren, together. Lacking in form, both batsmen would give the Red Steel the ending they needed. They took the score from 91 from 3 to 164 for 4, scoring 73 runs in just over seven overs.
They both batted through to the 20th over. The elder Bravo smashed 46 runs from 25 balls, hitting two fours and two sixes in his innings. The Oval crowd roared their appreciation of their local boy. Darren Bravo on the other hand played the anchor role, hitting 38 from 30 balls including four rasping boundaries. The younger Bravo has struggled for form in the tournament but came to fore just when his team needed a big performance to save their campaign.
The Red Steel ended their innings on 169 which though somewhat short of what it appeared to be heading still looked a good total on paper. Within five balls of the chase, out of nowhere, the rains came and lasted long enough to cut off five overs off the match. The revised target was put at 134 runs in 15 overs.
The belligerent Johnson Charles gave the Hawksbills the best of starts smashing 46 runs from just 28 balls. His knock contained four fours and four sixes. Though wickets fell around him it was clear that he was the danger man in the innings. He kept the Red Steel sweating and offered much hope for the Antigua Hawksbills but when he was out in the eighth over, the innings slowed considerably for the Hawksbills.
Rohrer, who had a good day in the outfield, seemed in fine touch from the start of his innings hitting the ball off the middle. He provided the stability the innings needed but he couldn’t do it alone. From 84 for 4, the Hawksbills slipped to 87 for 6. Key batsman and skipper Marlon Samuels again failed, caught by the senior Bravo off Sulieman Benn for 10. Aussie legend Ricky Ponting again fell cheaply, caught and bowled by Kevon Cooper for one. It would take some clean hitting from Cotterrell and Rohrer at the end to get the Hawksbills within touching distance.
With 19 runs required from the last over, left-arm pacer Delorn Johnson was the man entrusted with the responsibility for the Red Steel. Cotterrell hit his first ball straight back down the ground for six. A ball later, great drama unfolded as the batsmen scraped three byes after the wicket-keeper Nicholas Pooran overthrew, then the man at long-off and then Pooran failed to gather.
Rohrer was dismissed the next delivery holding out to Benn in the deep but the action didn’t stop there. The very next ball Cotterrell was put down by Barath at deep mid-wicket and the batsmen ran two. With one ball to be delivered the Hawksbills required eight runs for the win and Cotterrell smashed Johnson for six but the lanky Vincentian had merely gone through the motions ensuring that he didn’t bowl an illegal delivery to give the Hawksbills a chance to snatch victory off an additional ball.
Bravo took the Man-of-the-Match award for his blistering 48 as well as his excellent figures of 2 for 14 in three overs.