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Trinidad and Tobago rout Leicestershire to book place in Champions League Main event

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2009 Runners-up Trinidad and Tobago powered their way into the Group Stages of the Champions League proper with a crushing 51 run win against the Leicestershire Foxes on Tuesday. The Caribbean Kings made a daunting 168/2 from their 20 overs on the back on a couple of half-centuries from openers Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath. Leicestershire collapsed to 20/5 in response inside the powerplay overs and despite a battling half-century from James Taylor, ended significantly short of the Trinidad and Tobago score.

The third match of the Champions League T20 Qualifiers kicked off in front of a sparse crowd at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Trinidad & Tobago won the toss and to no one's surprise opted to bat first. The West Indian side named an unchanged squad after their win yesterday, but would have definitely been looking for a better contribution from their top order. The Leicestershire Foxes, the English T20 Champions, were playing their first game of the competition and picked a largely predictable side with former England fast bowler Matthew Hoggard leading them. Their star players were allrounders Abdul Razzaq and Andrew McDonald.

Trinidad and Tobago got off to a steady start with their openers comfortable batting out the powerplay and helping themselves to 46 runs at just under 8 an over. 39-year old former South African international spinner Claude Henderson was then taken for 20 runs in his first couple of overs as Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath helped themselves to some friendly fare.

The duo brought up their first ever century partnership in this format of the game in the 13th over and Trinidad looked good for a score in excess of 180. Simmons was the first to bring up his half-century, getting to the milestone from 41 balls before Barath joined him, three balls quicker. The opening partnership contributed 139 before both men fell on consecutive deliveries to left-arm seamer Harry Gurney. Both men were looking for the big shot when they were dismissed in their 60s.

Having two new batsmen could have slowed the scoring rate, but Darren Bravo showed that he was well capable of clearing the boundary, hitting two 6s in his 9 ball cameo worth 18. Wicketkeeper batsman Denesh Ramdin was a surprise selection at no.4, with Sherwin Ganga having done so exceedingly well yesterday with the long handle, but he chipped in with a useful 11 from 7 balls as Trinidad & Tobago finished with a competitive 168/2 from their 20 overs. Leicestershire would undoubtedly be relieved that they were not chasing a score closer to 200, especially given the platform the openers had provided.

Like their opening batsmen, the opening bowlers were also hunting in pairs with Samuel Badree and Ravi Rampaul picking up a wicket each in their opening over. Badree bowled Andrew McDonald for a three ball duck, while Rampaul accounted for Joshua Cobb for 9, caught at deep point. The odd opening pair continued to strike timber with the leg stump at either end taking a hit with Rampaul removing Wayne White for another naught, while Badree sent Will Jefferson packing for 6. The West Indian side weren't done yet, with first change bowler Sunil Narine dismissing veteran keeper Paul Nixon for the third duck of the innings to leave Leicestershire reeling at 20/5 in 6 overs.

The English side got a temporary reprieve thanks to a useful 47 run stand between James Taylor and Abdul Razzaq. With a win looking extremely unlikely, it was imperative for Leicestershire to bat through the overs and get the maximum possible runs so as to stay competitive in the hope of being the best 2nd placed team. However, Kevon Cooper struck with a slower ball in the 14th over to send Razzaq back for 21. Sunil Narine made it a double strike in the next over to dismiss Jacques de Toit for 3, and at 70/7 the game was as good as over.

James Taylor continued to wage war on the Trinidad bowlers making a handy half-century with Claude Henderson giving him temporary company. The pair took Leicestershire through to the final over where Rampaul struck on consecutive deliveries to end the innings with exceptional figures of 4-14. Taylor remained unbeaten on 56 as Leicestershire ended on 117/9.

Trinidad & Tobago are through to the knock-out rounds and based on this performance they can go deep in the tournament should they be able to sort out their 5th bowler option. For the Foxes, the sooner they put this result out of their minds the better, and they will need to not just win, but win big against Ruhunu Eleven tomorrow if they are to extend their stay in India.


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

Leicestershire Foxes: Joshua Cobb, Will Jefferson, James Taylor, Jacques Du Toit, Wayne White, Matthew Hoggard, Claude Henderson, Harry Gurney, Paul Nixon, Andrew Mcdonald and Abdul Razzaq.

Mini Scorecard:

Trinidad & Tobago 168/2 (20 overs, 8.4rpo)

L Simmons 67 (58) H Gurney 2-33
A Barath 62 (47)

Leicestershire Foxes 117/9 (20 overs, 5.85rpo)

J Taylor 56* (47) S Badree 2-7
A Razzaq 21 (20) R Rampaul 4-14

Trinidad & Tobago win by 51 runs.