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Cold steel

Chris Gayle led his team to their second win of the competition.

Chris Gayle led his team to their second
win of the competition.

PORT OF SPAIN — After proving highly expensive in the late overs against Pakistan during the recent five-match One- Day International series lost by the West Indies under his leadership, Dwayne Bravo just doesn’t seem to have got the loud message.

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel captain leaked 26 runs in the penultimate over against the Jamaica Tallawahs as the visitors rallied from a stuttering period to finish on 146 for 6. That score proved a mountain too steep to climb for the Red Steel as they ended on 141 for 5 to suffer their third defeat in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 Tournament at Queen’s Park Oval last night.

Bravo’s expensive over, with the parsimonious Samuel Badree and Sulieman Benn available to him as alternative options, was the highlight of the match. Danza Hyatt struck him for a six and South African Vernon Philander spanked him for three more.

Before that over the Tallawahs were meandering along at 107 for 6.

The Tallawahs never looked like getting past 120 in the middle overs after Bravo had sent them in. Chris Gayle and Ahmed Shehzad took advantage of the Powerplay with some big shots in an opening stand

of 44 just inside six overs before Shehzad was well caught by Benn at mid-off left-arm quick Delorn Johnson. But immediately after the Powerplay, things slowed tremendously for the Tallawahs.

Nkrumah Bonner joined his captain but couldn’t get away the Red Steel bowlers. Bravo kept mixing his bowlers well. As the halfway stage of the innings neared, the Tallawahs had added only 13 runs after Shehzad’s wicket. Bonner, not even attacking, was bowled by a delivery from medium pacer Kevon Cooper that cut back sharply at him.

Gayle followed the very next over, as the Bravo brothers combined to have the lanky Jamaican caught at deep mid-wicket. Gayle had made 28 from 29 balls and the Tallawahs were in trouble at 65 for 3.

The bowlers maintained their stranglehold over the Red Steel as the innings progressed with wickets falling at relatively frequent intervals. Then Bravo, ironically, did what the Tallawahs’ batsmen

had found difficult to do. He upped their scoring rate. When he wasn’t short, he was full. When he wasn’t full, he was wide. Whatever he bowled seemed to disappear over the boundary. From a position of ascendancy the Red Steel had surrendered the advantage in six balls. There were also two wides in the over.

Hyatt finished on 42 not out while Philander was unbeaten on 23 runs from just eight balls.

The Red Steel’s new opening pair of Adrian Barath and Kevin O’Brien got off to a slow start. The first two overs went for five runs. Off the last ball of the second over, O’Brien trying to make something happen, walked across his wicket only to be bowled. Barath looked in fine touch, but the task at that stage looked a huge one.

He found a good partner in Ross Taylor, who seems to be finding better form with every match. Both batted well putting on 62 for the second wicket and gave the home fans reason to have high expectations.

But after Taylor pulled a long-hop from Gayle straight to Shehzad at short mid- wicket, the Red Steel would buckle under the pressure and slip to 82 for 4.

With six overs remaining in the innings and Barath gone for 32 and Taylor 31, it was left up to the Red Steel’s big hitters to fire. The only thing was they hadn’t fired for the tournament so far. Darren Bravo struggled to 8 before Muttiah Muralitharan ended his and the Red Steel’s misery. Bravo had not been taking the score anywhere.

Captain Bravo, who needed to repay his team the 26 runs he conceded in the penultimate over, set about doing just that. He offered some hope. With four overs to go, he struck left-arm orthodox spinner Nikita Miller for two huge sixes, but the required run rate was still challenging.

With two overs left to get 30 runs, Andre Russell delivered the perfect over. His second ball got Bravo’s top edge that was well held by Baugh, who had to run to square-leg to end Bravo’s 29-run cameo. A brief check from Umpire Peter Nero for a no-ball only tortured the fans with false hope. Teenager Nicholas Pooran also struck a boundary in the over to leave 21 runs needing from six balls.

But Philander stepped up to the task. His second ball, a short one, was pulled just over fine-leg for 6. But he returned well, only allowing the singles. By the time of the last ball, the game was over for the Red Steel. They needed 13 runs to win. Cooper struck Philander’s full last ball over cover for six and the Tallawahs emerged victorious in a game they spent the best part of the first half playing catch-up. (windiescricket/WG)

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