T&T top table after thumping victory

CricketFilePhotoA(Sports Page) Trinidad & Tobago are the only team from outside the three countries that own a stake in the Champions League to be given direct entry to the tournament, a special status they justified by topping the league table after hammering one of the CLT20 favourites, Chennai Super Kings.

The already-qualified Super Kings’ famed batting had a rare off day, and the team was bowled out for only the seventh time in 117 matches. Having been rolled over for 118, Super Kings couldn’t prevent T&T from completing the chase within 17.4 overs, which meant they surrendered the top spot in the group. It left them facing the challenge of breaking Rajasthan Royals’ 12-game winning streak at home in the semi-finals.

It was a day when almost everything went right for T&T, epitomized by the game Man-of-the-Match Lendl Simmons had. Simmons came into this match on the back of two ducks but contributed with bat, ball and in the field in T&T’s dominant performance Simmons had fortune with bat as well, cluelessly edging the first ball of the chase from R Ashwin between the keeper and slip, and surviving a stumping shout after being beaten off the second. His innings only switched to top gear in the 10th over when Ravindra Jadeja conceded 19 to extend a horrendous run in the tournament. Simmons was also dropped just before reaching his half-century but a series of brutal hits had already eased T&T towards victory.

There was plenty of support for Simmons: opener Evin Newis had another good game with the bat to ensure Super Kings didn’t pull off a heist, Ravi Rampaul began the Super Kings collapse with a screamer to dismiss the uber-consistent Michael Hussey, Sunil Narine was at his miserly best and three Super Kings batsmen were run out as the team collapsed from 78 for 2 to 118 all out.

In the four times they have played the CLT20, T&T have had only one bad campaign – last year when they were knocked out after one loss and a washout in the qualifiers – and this table-topping performance underlined why they are among the best T20 sides in the world.

Summarized scores: Trinidad &Tobago 119 for 2 (Simmons 63, Lewis 38) beat Chennai Super Kings 118 (Raina 38, Emrit 3-21) by eight wickets

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