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Clinical T&T Red Steel keeps marching on
Clinical! The only word that could have described the T&T Red Steel performance yesterday, as they romped to their sixth win of the 2014 Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament, against the St Lucia Zouks. Thousands left the picturesque Beausejour Cricket Stadium unhappy, as T&T Red Steel easily chased down 118 runs for victory, winning by eight wickets. There was an early stutter with the loss of the in-form Kevin O’Brien for nine but after that it was basically a walk in the park. Evin Lewis smacked 59 and Ross Taylor 35 not out to take the Red Steel to 12 points and keep them atop the standings.
The left-hander Lewis, playing his first season in the CPL, was as audacious as ever. He signalled his intentions early with a disdainful pull of Tino Best for six and then slapped Ray Jordan over point for another. He and Taylor batted under little or no pressure, as Zouks captain Darren Sammy could not attack too much with such a small target to defend. Lewis, in the meantime, took advantage to crack his third half century off 34 balls, with four sixes and two fours. Soon after he reached the landmark, he celebrated by landing the largest six (105m) of the tournament and in the process brought up the 100-run mark in 12 overs. He finally fell just before the victory was sealed for 59 runs off 39 balls with five sixes and three fours. Taylor played a very professional knock and got his runs from 39 balls with a six and two fours.
Bravo called correctly at the toss and decided to take first use of an excellent cricket pitch. With the pacy Shannon Gabriel in the mix for his first game, Bravo threw the white missile to him and left him to do his thing. He delivered on his fifth ball, having the dangerous Johnson Charles caught brilliantly by Ross Taylor at first slip. The Kiwi went airborne to pluck a one-handed catch without a run on the board. Gabriel would then follow up with another wicket in his following over, sending back South African Henry Davids for one, courtesy a catch by wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran. With the Zouks on the back foot, Bravo kept on his main man Samuel Badree and he completed four overs unnoticed for just ten runs. His efforts were reflected in the fact that when the Busta cart came on with the drinks at the ten-over halfway stage, only 42 runs were on the board for the loss of two wickets.
Andre Fletcher, the man of the series for the West Indies in their recent T20 series against Bangladesh, was in and a lot depended on him. However, he just could not find his timing and struggled to 24 before Kevon Cooper ended his worries. He faced 36 balls and struck just three fours. Local hero Darren Sammy was next in and the crowd as they usually do here, started to shout their obscene chant, hoping to spur on their man. It did not work and soon Dwayne Bravo was doing the best El Dorado celebration you can get, as Sammy was snapped up by Taylor. International Roelof van der Merwe then played around one from Cooper and saw his timbers rearranged and at 65 for five the crowd was taken out of the game. They did, however, come to life for a short while after, when the Pakistani Sohail Tanvir was middling some but when Taylor pouched his fourth catch, to equal the world record for catches by an outfielder in T20 cricket, they went silent again. Tanvir smashed 18 off 14 balls and with him went the final hopes for the home team. Gabriel ended with 3/20, Dwayne Bravo 3/33 and Cooper 3/26.
T&T Red Steel vs St. Lucia Zouks
J Charles c Taylor b Gabriel 0
H Davids c Pooran b Gabriel 2
A Fletcher c Taylor b Cooper 24
K Lesporis c&b Gabriel 22
D Sammy c Taylor b Bravo 5
R van der Merwe b Cooper 1
S Tanvir c Taylor b Bravo 18
M Mathew c O’Brien b Benn 7
L Sebastien no out 3
T Best c DM Bravo b DJ Bravo 11
R Jordan b Cooper 9
Extras b4, lb4, w7 15
Total all out (19.5ovs) 117
Fall of wkts: 0, 5, 49, 63, 65, 67, 88, 95, 108,
Bowling: S Gabriel 4-0-20-3 (2w), S Badree 4-0-10-0, S Benn 4-0-20-1, DJ Bravo 4-0-33-3 (4w), K Cooper 3.5-0-26-3 (1w).
Red Steel inns
K O’Brien c Sammy b Jordan 9
E Lewis c Charles b Jordan 59
R Taylor not out 35
N Pooran not out 7
Extras w8, nb1 1
Total 2 wkts (14.5ovs) 119
Fall of wkts: 19, 108.
Bowling: S Tanvir 2-0-11-0, T Best 2-0-20-0 (2w), R Jordan 3-0-25-2 (1nb, 2w), M Mathew 3.5-0-21-0 (2w), L Sebastien 3-0-30-0 (2w), R van der Merwe 1-0-12-0.
Result: T&T Red Steel won by 8 wkts.
Man of the match: Shannon Gabriel