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Trinidad & Tobago stun struggling Chennai Super Kings

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Accuracy with the ball, agility in the field and positivity with the bat helped Trinidad and Tobago to tame the Chennai Super Kings in their own den in front of a boisterous home crowd.  Trinidad and Tobago's batting peaked in the end overs to post a testing total of 123 courtesy a power-packed unbeaten 28 from 10 balls from Kevon Cooper. Sunil Narine's 3-8 stood out as the T&T bowlers choked the Chennai batsmen to fashion their first triumph in the main draw of the Champions League.

The reigning champions, the Chennai Super Kings were pitted against the Caribbean Kings - Trinidad and Tobago, who were yet to open their account in the main-draw of the Champions league. CSK stuck to their winning eleven while T&T made one change, with hard-hitting opener William Perkins coming in for Jason Mohammed. The visiting captain, won the toss and decided to bat first on a slow, tricky pitch at the M.A.Chidambaram stadium in this vital Group A encounter. With the stakes high and semi-final places at a premium it was indeed a make or break game for both teams.

After a couple of silent overs from Bollinger and Morkel, Perkins revealed signs of agression. His fierce cover drive off Morkel in the 3rd over had brute power written all over it. Soon afterwards, the in-form Lendl Simmons got into the act and he executed a superbly connected pull-stroke. But the opening pair failed to notch up runs at a brisk pace as the CSK bowlers consistently took pace off the ball. T&T's ultra-conservative start took them to 28 for none at the end of the powerplay.

Jakati, unfortunately dropped a hard chance off his own bowling to gift Simmons a life in his 1st over. The Chennai slower bowlers relentlessly applied pressure on the batsmen as boundaries and sixes proved to be elusive. Perkins after breaking the shackles with two maximums perished to Jakati for better than a run-a-ball 34 as Badrinath completed a smart catch.

Chennai initiated crucial breakthroughs as Saha's terrific piece of fielding got rid of Simmons and Jakati nailed Darren Bravo for just a run. The mean and miserly Jakati (2-18) tormented the T&T batsmen. His partner in crime, R Ashwin then joined the party by taking out the opposition captain, Darre Ganga in the 14th over. Trinidad were reeling at 74-4 in 15.

The T&T batsmen started falling like nine pins. Ramdin departed early while Barath, who enhanced the tempo a wee bit was bowled by CSK's pace ace Bollinger for 23. Chennai were firmly in the driving seat. Kevon Cooper, who flirted with danger, plundered 3 biggies to press on the accelerator in the dying stages of the innings as Trinidad and Tobago churned out valuable 9 run overs consistently. Cooper's late charge worth 28 guided Trinidad and Tobago to a respectable total of 123-8 in 20 overs on a challenging wicket at Chennai as Bollinger pocketed 2 wickets in the final over.

Samuel Badree, the owner of the most frugal economy rate (4.58) in T20 cricket leaked 10 runs in his first over. Coming off a rich vein of form into the tournament, Hussey got CSK off to sedate start. Very soon, Sunil Narine, the off spinner made early inroads to cause hiccups in the CSK dug out. While Murali Vijay's wild swing ended in vain, Raina failed to pick Narine and fell caught and bowled. Ravi Rampaul delivered the knockout blow in the twilight of the powerplay by dismissing Hussey for 13. CSK found themselves in a precarious situation after making just 27 in the powerplay for the loss of 3 wickets.

The T&T bowlers capitalized on their efficient start to keep Badrinath and Saha under check. Saha, who overcame a run-out scare in the 10th over eventually surrendered to Kevon Cooper as Trinidad and Tobago had the Super Kings on the mat. While the rock-solid Badrinath held one end up, the asking rate climbed up.

Captain Dhoni, who walked out to bat amidst tumultuous cheers, shouldered CSK's hopes of making it to the semis. The 12th over witnessed a terrible mix up which brought about the downfall of Badrinath for a snail-pace 26 ball 14. Chennai's Trinidadian, Dwayne Bravo joined Dhoni, hoping to spark off a revival. CSK huffed and puffed to 63-5 in 15 overs.

Bravo released some of the pressure by pelting consecutive fours off Sherwin Ganga while Dhoni continued to struggle. Darren Ganga wisely reserved an over from Narine in the death and the tweaker rewarded his captain's trust by removing Dhoni for an uncharacteristic 7 off 22 deliveries. Dwayne Bravo also treated Rampaul with disdain as Chennai built up 14 runs in the 18th over. With 34 required from 12 balls, Kevon Cooper produced another exemplary over conceding just 7 runs to international stars Bravo and Albie Morkel. 27 runs from 6 balls was virtually impossible on this track and the ever-sizzling Men in Yellow fizzled out as Sherwin Ganga bowled a screw-tight 20th over to fashion T&T's first win in the main event. Morkel did tonk twin biggies on the last two deliveries, but all it did was boost Chennai's sagging net run rate.

Trinidad and Tobago, who have displayed tremendous resilience, finally registered a victory to have an outside chance of setting foot in the semis, provided they thrash the Cape Cobras on Tuesday. Meanwhile, CSK's flimsiest of hopes of reaching them semis has taken a beating. Only a mathematical miracle can save Chennai, who find themselves at the bottom of the Group. The Men in bright yellow will have to brighten up their game and go for the kill when they confront the NSW Blues, at the same venue on Tuesday to stay afloat in the lucrative tournament.


Chennai Super Kings: M.S.Dhoni(captain), M.Hussey, M.Vijay, S.Raina, S.Badrinath, W.Saha, A.Morkel, D.Bravo, R.Ashwin, S.Jakati, D.Bollinger.

Trinidad & Tobago: D.Ganga(captain), A.Barath, L.Simmons, D.Bravo, D.Ramdin, K.Copper, S.Ganga, R.Rampaul, S.Narine, S.Badree, W.Perkins.

Mini Scorecard:

T&T: 123-8 (20 overs, 6.15 rpo)
W.Perkins 34(28) D.Bollinger 3-30
K.Cooper 28(10) S.Jakati 2-18

CSK: 111-6 (20 overs, 5.55 rpo)
D.Bravo 32*(22) S.Narine 3-8
A.Morkel 18*(12) K.Cooper 1-15

Trinidad and Tobago win by 12 runs