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Ganga, Rampaul script entertaining Trinidad & Tobago win

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Five run outs were the feature of the Ruhunu Elevens innings when they took on Trinidad & Tobago in the opening match of the 2011 edition of the Champions League T20. A useful half-century from Dinesh Chandimal helped the Sri Lankan side post a competitive 138 all out in their 20 overs. Chandimal was well supported by Janaka Gunaratne and Tillakaratne Sampath, both of who were dismissed in their 20s. Ravi Rampaul led the Trinidad attack brilliantly, finishing with 2-17 including a final over which conceded just one run and saw four wickets fall. Trinidad & Tobago were in trouble in their chase, losing both openers early to slide to 6/2, but a patient 44 from Darren Bravo and a cavalier 39 from Sherwin Ganga took them over the finish line with 7 balls to spare.

Putting runs on the board was the decision taken by Ruhunu skipper Mahela Udawatte, when he won the toss and elected to bat first. Both teams had drafted in plenty of spinners into their playing eleven to make the most of the conditions on offer in Hyderabad.

Legspinner Samuel Badree shared the new ball with Windies pacer Ravi Rampaul, and it was the former who got his side the first breakthrough, picking up the big wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya in his second over, immediately after the veteran Lankan great had smashed him for a couple of boundaries. Ruhunu then committed hara-kiri running two of their batsmen out in quick succession to land in a spot of bother at 26/3 inside the 4th over. With skipper Udawatte and Siriwardana back in the pavilion, the onus fell on Dinesh Chandimal and Janaka Gunaratne to rescue the innings.

The pair didn't disappoint, sharing a useful partnership of 67 with Chandimal being the aggressor while Gunaratne dropped anchor. An attempt by the latter to accelerate cost him his wicket with a rare medium pacer in Kevon Cooper knocking back his off-stump. Gunaratne falling for 20.

Chandimal was joined by Tillakaratne Sampath, younger brother of Sri Lankan skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan. Sampath showed glimpses of the family talent, picking up a couple of boundaries off the 16th over. Ravi Rampaul came back to get rid of Chandimal for 50 in the 18th over of the innings, the young wicketkeeper batsman unable to keep his hook shot down. 

Kushal Perera came out and chipped in with a useful 15 from 6 balls with Lendl Simmons getting the brunt of the punishment as the 19th over helped the Sri Lankan side edge closer to 150. But Rampaul came back brilliantly in the final over, giving away just a solitary run to restrict Ruhunu to 138.

Ruhunu opted to take a leaf out of Trinidad's book and opened with spin from both ends. The move paid rich dividends as the side from the Caribbean struggled to come to terms with the turning ball and managed just 29 runs for the loss of 3 wickets from their powerplay overs. Had it not been for a 16 run over from Sampath, their predicament could have been even worse.

Gunaratne struck in each of his two overs, removing Adrian Barath for naught and Lendl Simmons for 3 to leave Trinidad in deep trouble at 6/2. Skipper Darren Ganga tried to hit his side out of trouble, depositing a six and two fours off Sampath before Sanath Jayasuriya trapped him leg before for 17 to end his short cameo.

Despite the poor start, the West Indian outfit marched on with the ultra-talented Darren Bravo anchoring the innings while the rest of the batsmen played around him, going for their shots. Dinesh Ramdin chipped in with a handy 18, while Jason Mohammad made 17 to take Trinidad and Tobago through to 81/5 in 14 overs. Ramdin was out caught behind off Perera, while Mohammad fell to Janoda.

Trinidad needed 58 runs from the final 6 overs to get a win, and the responsibility lay with Bravo to take his side past the finish line. The next three overs conceded 11 runs each to bring the ask down to 25 from 3 overs, and at 8 an over, the batting side were very much the favourites once again. Sherwin Ganga was showing good ability with the bat down the order and had raced along to 16 from 7 balls to take the pressure off Bravo, who was struggling to time the ball.

Sampath brought his team back into the fray by conceding just a run a ball from the 18th over to leave Trinidad needing 19 from 12 balls. The ball followed Sampath in the field and Sherwin Ganga just cleared him by the tip of his fingers at long-off as the match swung decisively Trinidad's way. Two no-balls in Janoda's 19th over was criminal, and brought about an early end to the match with 7 balls to spare. Ganga ended with 39 from 15 and proved to be the ideal finisher as he tonked 4 boundaries and 2 sixes to take his team over the finish line.

Trinidad & Tobago will look to cement qualification when they take on the English champions Leicestershire Foxes tomorrow.

Teams:

Trinidad and Tobago: Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Darren Ganga, Denesh Ramdin, Sherwin Ganga, Kern Cooper, Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul

Ruhunu Eleven: S. Jayasuriya, M. Udawatte, D. Chandimal, T. Sampath, G. Perera, A. Athulathmudali, T. Siriwardana, J. Gunaratne, K. Karunanayake, K. Perera, J. Janoda.

Mini Scorecard:

Ruhunu Eleven 138/6 (20 overs, 6.9rpo)
D Chandimal 50 (48) R Rampaul 2-17
T Sampath 23 (13) K Cooper 1-18

Trinidad & Tobago 144/5 (18.5 overs, 7.64rpo)
D Bravo 44 (49) J Gunaratne 2-20
S Ganga 39 (15) S Jayasuriya 1-20