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Trinis squeeze Canada dry

Haydn Gill

Trinis squeeze Canada dry

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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO weren’t expected to be tested by Canada –  and they weren’t.The opening match of the Caribbean Twenty20 Competition produced a predictable lopsided victory for the 2008 Stanford 20/20 champions and 2009 Champions League runners-up against their North American opponents who lack genuine stars.Trinidad and Tobago won by nine wickets, chasing down a target of 111 in only 14.1 overs before a modest Kensington Oval crowd that was expected to grow for the nightcap game between Jamaica and the Leeward Islands.The target was made to look like nothing, largely because of a superb unbeaten 64 off 46 balls by opener Adrian Barath, who smashed the ball with immense power for a man of his size.The little dynamo, making a return to national duty after recent injuries, hoisted five sixes with plenty of authority that emphasised why he was snapped up by King’s XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League after the favourable impression he created for Trinidad and Tobago in the inaugural Champions League in India.“It was great to get back out there playing competitive. We played well. It was convincing enough,” Barath said.“We need to continue playing tough cricket. We’re not going to be complacent and we are not going to take anything for granted.”Fellow opener William Perkins contributed 18 and Lendl Simmons weighed in with an unbeaten 22, but they were overshadowed by Barath’s clean hitting that included two sixes over cover and others over long-off, backward square, and mid-wicket.There was a hint of potential from Canada after they were sent in but they were out of their league against opponents who have come prepared to retain their status as the Caribbean’s No. 1 team in the extra shorter form of the game.Geoff Barnett, a tall left-hander who was born, raised and is still resident in New Zealand where he represents Central Districts in first-class competitions, looked impressive in smashing 37 off 33 balls that included two sixes down the ground.No one else in the top five, however, looked anywhere as accomplished and Canada had to depend on a sixth-wicket partnership of 42 between Zubin Surkari (26 off 20 balls) and Umar Bhatti (17 off 21 balls) at the death to push the total past 100.Dwayne Bravo, one to always get involved, was at the heart of Canada’s struggles. Given the new ball, he removed one of the openers in his first three overs that cost only six runs, and he made even more impact in the field with four successive catches, three of which were taken in the deep.One was a smart, running effort from third-man that brought about the downfall of Barnett at a time when the 26-year-old was looking very threatening.Two of Bravo’s catches were also held off left-arm spinner Dave Mohammed (4-0-10-2) whose back-of-the-arm stuff proved a bit challenging for the Canadians.Bravo’s day was spoiled only by his last over in which he was hit for 16.