Cricket

NSW Blues has the last laugh

The NSW Blues was crowned champion of the inaugural Airtel-Champions League Twenty20 championship with a 41-run win over the crowd favourite Trinidad & Tobago in the final at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

The NSW Blues was crowned champion of the inaugural Airtel-Champions League Twenty20 championship with a 41-run win over the crowd favourite Trinidad & Tobago in the final at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu   | Photo Credit: K. Ramesh Babu

Brett Lee could not have timed his allround performance better. Thanks to his brilliance, New South Wales Blues was crowned champion of the inaugural Airtel-Champions League Twenty20 championship with a clinical display to notch up a 41-run win over the crowd favourite Trinidad & Tobago in the final at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Friday night.

There was an air of excitement in the stands when Kieron Pollard walked to the middle with his team reeling at 68 for five in 10 overs. Clearly, Trinidad needed another special effort from the dazzling stroke-maker.

And, Pollard definitely looked ominous pulling Doug Bollinger into the stands and later hitting off-spinner Nathan Hauritz for two more sixes which had the crowd on its feet. But, in his attempt for the third one in the 15th over, he ended up giving a skier to Brett Lee who judged well in the deep to the delight of his team-mates for they knew the value of that wicket.

Disastrous start

The start was disastrous for Trinidad as Brett Lee was on fire, cleaning up Williams Perkins with the second ball of the innings and then taking a blinder off his own bowling to send back Lendl Simmons when the batsman hit a powerful back-drive.

In between, leg-spinner Steve Smith got the better off dangerous Adrian Barath who hit him for two fours and a six before his attempted cut end up in a simple catch to wicketkeeper Daniel Smith.

This brought the semifinal heroes — Daren Ganga and Dwayne Bravo — together at 21 for three in 2.2 overs. Though Bravo carted left-armer Doug Bollinger for a huge six into the stands at long-on, the bowler hit back later when Bravo played on to the stumps of an attempted defensive push to off-side to leave Trinidad in dire straits at 45 for four in 5.3 overs.

Unruffled, Daren Ganga hit a huge six off Steve Smith in the 10th over only to perish in the next ball trying to cut.

Gamble pays off

Earlier, captain Daren Ganga’s gamble to put NSW Blues in paid off. The bowlers responded well to his call in style, backed up by brilliant fielding on a wicket, which once again proved the consistency of curator Y. L. Chandrasekhar in ensuring a perfect T20 wicket for the ninth match in-a-row.

The bowlers dominated till Brett Lee (48, 31b, 1x4, 5x6), who came to the crease at 83 for six in 11.2 overs, changed the course of the innings with that face-saving 49-run stand for the seventh wicket with Steve Smith (33, 26b, 2x4,1x6).

Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul was the most impressive with a three-wicket haul.

Brilliant catch

Dave Mohammed’s brilliant diving catch to his right at point off Dwayne Bravo to send back David Warner was symbolic of the brilliant fielding. It was a fine comeback by the bowler after being greeted with a huge six over long-on by captain Simon Katich.

Brett Lee was named ‘Player-of-the-Final’ and ‘Man-of-the-Series’.

The scores:

New South Wales Blues: D. Warner c Mohammad b Dwayne Bravo 19, P. Hughes b Rampaul 3, S. Katich c Barath b Dwayne Bravo 16, M. Henriques c S. Ganga b Pollard 4, B. Rohrer c S. Ganga b Mohammed 16, S. Smith c Simmons b S. Ganga 33, D. Smith b Rampaul 3, B. Lee c Perkins b Rampaul 48, N. Hauritz (run out) 10, S. Clark (not out) 0, Extras: (lb-5, w-2) 7; Total: (for nine wkts. in 20 overs) 159.

Fall of wickets: 1-24, 2-32, 3-45, 4-47, 5-75, 6-83, 7-132, 8-159, 9-159.

Trinidad & Tobago bowling: S. Ganga 4-0-29-1, Rampaul 4-0-20-3, D. Bravo 3-0-27-2, Pollard 3-0-27-1, Mohammed 3-0-19-1, Simmons 2-0-23-0, Stewart 1-0-9-0.

Trinidad & Tobago: W. Perkins b Lee 0, A. Barath c D. Smith b S. Smith 14, L. Simmons c & b Lee 4, D. Ganga c D.Warner b S. Smith 19, D. Bravo b Bollinger 17, D. Ramdin c S. Smith b Clark 16, K. Pollard c Lee b Hauritz 26, S. Ganga c Henriques b Hauritz 5, N. Stewart c Henriques b Clark 4, D. Mohammed c Hughes b Clark 1, R. Rampaul (not out) 0, Extras: (lb-5, w-4, nb-3) 12; Total: (in 15.5 overs) 118.

Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-21, 3-21, 4-45, 5-68, 6-93, 7-107, 8-113, 9-118, 10-118.

New South Wales Blues bowling: Lee 2-0-10-2, S. Smith 4-0-32-2, Bollinger 4-0-27-1, Clark 3.5-0-21-3, Hauritz 2-0-23-2.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:57:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/NSW-Blues-has-the-last-laugh/article16888261.ece

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