Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai
Match Report: M 20 – Chennai Super Kings vs Trinidad & Tobago
Simmons powers T&T to top of Group B
Needing to chase down a modest 119, the team from the Caribbean were given a solid platform by their openers and cruised past the finish line in 15.1 overs.
T&T got off to a streaky start. Lendl Simmons picked up a boundary between the wicketkeeper and slip to get the run-chase off the blocks, while Evin Lewis’ square-cut had just enough height to elude the point fielder. Both openers settled down after that and ensured the scoreboard kept ticking.
Lewis was the more enterprising of the two T&T openers; he picked up three boundaries off Albie Morkel’s second over and picked up two more boundaries in Ravindra Jadeja’s first over. By the time the fielding restrictions were relaxed, T&T had a solid platform with 45 for no loss.
Things only got better for the Boys in Red when Jadeja was brought back into the attack. This time Simmons picked up two huge sixes and a boundary in what would be the most productive over of the innings. T&T were placed at 79 for no loss at the half-way mark needing a further 40 runs.
Lewis (38 from 35 balls) was dismissed at the start of the 11th over when he was trapped LBW by Suresh Raina. Simmons, who scored 16 from his first 18 balls, made sure he converted the start as he raced to his half-century in 33 balls. The T&T opener made 63 from 41 balls and took his team to the brink before he holed out to the man at midwicket.
Darren Bravo (11) and Yannick Ottley (1) completed the formalities in 16th over and ensured their team finished at the top of Group B standings.
Earlier, Chennai Super Kings, who were put in to bat, received a jolt early when Ravi Rampaul castled Michael Hussey in the second over of the innings. The rebuilding took place through a 55-run partnership between Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina. Both batsmen were cautious early on but played some pleasing drives through cover every now and then. Vijay departed in the ninth over when he dragged one from Lendl Simmons back onto his stumps.
Raina looked good during his brief stay in the middle. He hit three boundaries and a six in his 29-ball knock – during which he surpassed Kieron Pollard to become the highest run-getter in CLT20 – before hoicking a leg-stump delivery from Simmons straight to Ravi Rampaul at short fine-leg. Dwayne Bravo, batting at No.5, edged Rayad Emrit to the wicketkeeper, while Ravindra Jadeja was caught short of his ground attempting a risky run; both batsmen made just two runs.
MS Dhoni too found the going tough on the day; he hit two boundaries, before miscuing Emrit to be caught at mid-on. The CSK skipper made a run-a-ball 25.
Albie Morkel struggled and his misery ended when he didn’t pick Rampaul’s slower delivery and had his leg stump knocked back; he made four from 16 balls. From 106 for five just before Dhoni was dismissed, CSK were bowled out for their lowest total in CLT20. When Ravichandran Ashwin was last man out, CSK had 118 runs on the board, with two deliveries remaining in their allotted 20 overs.
Not surprisingly, the Trinidad & Tobago bowlers had a very good day. 32-year-old Emrit picked up three wickets and was his team’s most successful bowler, while Rampaul and Simmons chipped in with two wickets apiece. As expected Samuel Badree’s four overs only cost T&T 24 runs, while Sunil Narine was miserly as ever, conceding only 12 runs in his four-over spell.
Trivia: Sunil Narine bowled 15 dot balls in his four-over spell – seven of them to Albie Morkel and four of them to MS Dhoni.
There were 20 dot balls in the first 10 overs of the Chennai Super Kings innings. In comparison, there were 27 dot balls in the second half of the CSK innings.
Chennai Super Kings scored 50 runs off the first 37 balls of their innings. They managed only 68 runs from the remaining 81 balls.
Man of the Match: Lendl Simmons for his 63, two wickets, two catches and a run-out
Semi-Final 1 on October 4, 2013: Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings at Jaipur
Semi-Final 2 on October 5, 2013: Mumbai Indians vs Trinidad & Tobago at Delhi