Ranchi: A fearsome attack led by Ravi Rampaul set Trinidad & Tobago’s Champions League campaign off on a triumphant note, as they comfortably defended 135 for 9, against Brisbane Heat in Ranchi. An intense Rampaul was both economical and penetrative throughout his spells in the innings, and although Heat may have been pleased to chase so few, they were rarely granted more than a brief glimpse of victory during the chase. Rampaul finished with four wickets for 14 from 3.4 overs, with Sunil Narine, Rayad Emrit and Samuel Badree also contributing fine spells.
Denesh Ramdin played something of a lone hand to give his attack a reasonable target to defend, as he hit 48 from 38 after Heat had sent T&T in to bat. No other batsman breached 20 for T&T, as Heat’s quick bowlers enjoyed the bounce in the Ranchi strip, as well as the slight movement early on.
Rampaul found swing early on, but it was his impeccable line that set the tone for T&T’s bowling effort. Often pitching short of length, Rampaul cramped the Heat’s openers for space, and soon dismissed captain James Hopes, who played on coming forward in the third over.
Rampaul’s first spell lasted only two overs, but the rest of the bowlers matched his discipline. Heat had only lost one wicket at the end of the Powerplay, but could not manage a run rate better than 3.66. Subsequent attempts to reel in the required run rate were often short-lived, and retarded by dismissals. Only Joe Burns had the measure of the attack, but even he could not achieve a laudable strike rate. When Rampaul returned in the 16th over to break Burns’ leg stump, the batsman had hit 45 from 43.
Ben Cutting’s 17 from 10 only hinted at a revival for Heat and his run out, at the end of the 18th over, secured the match for T&T. Rampaul’s last over yielded the two final wickets, as Heat were dismissed for 110 with eight balls still remaining.
Seventeen balls into T&T’s innings, openers Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis had promised a profitable first stand, but their confident blows to the square fence soon gave way to tame batting errors, and No. 5 batsman Ramdin was at the crease sooner than he would have liked – after 4.4 overs. A four off an inside edge got Ramdin under way, but he found the middle of the bat almost immediately, as he guided a wide delivery from Kemar Roach over the slips for four.
Ramdin’s progress steadied after those boundaries, as he rebuilt the innings from 38 for 3. He ventured an advancing six off Nathan Hauritz in the ninth over but, as wickets continued to tumble at the other end, Ramdin was content to deal in singles and twos. Jason Mohammed and Sherwin Ganga departed off consecutive deliveries, and 17-year-old Nicolas Pooran managed only 8 off 16 balls in his Champions League debut.
At 83 for 6 after 14 overs, Ramdin’s hopes of setting a total close to 150 had grown slim, but he slogged a four and a six off Cutting in the next over to help inject some urgency into a stagnating innings. Ramdin was out not long after, but Samuel Badree, coming in at No. 10, engaged a previous avatar as a batsman and took T&T beyond 130 by striking two straight sixes in the 16-run final over.