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T&T open with T-20 winner

marciadottin, [email protected]

T&T open with T-20 winner

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NORTH SOUND – Discarded West Indies batsman Lendl Simmons and pacer Ravi Rampaul underpinned a clinical Trinidad and Tobago performance as they beat a spineless Leeward Islands by 56 runs to open their Caribbean Twenty20 campaign in style Thursday night.
The attacking right-handed Simmons, ignored since the one-day tour of Australia in February last year, smacked an intelligent 83 to propel the former regional T20 kings to 153 for five after Daren Ganga won the toss and batted.
Rampaul then snatched a remarkable five wickets for nine runs to scythe through weak-willed Leewards batting and send them tumbling for a paltry 97 with eight balls to spare, as T&T made a bold statement to their Group B rivals.
That intent was obvious from the outset at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground when Simmons and Adrian Barath rattled up 65 off 49 balls for the first wicket to give T&T a bright start.
Simmons, who celebrates his 26th birthday later this month, cracked five fours and five sixes off just 62 balls as he carried the T&T batting before being run out off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Barath stroked 26 from 22 balls with four fours but it was Simmons who dominated the partnership, prefacing his aggression with sound judgement as he unleashed some sweetly timed strokes.
The 20-year-old Barath seemed to be getting into stride when he was found short of his ground in the ninth over, after being sent back by Simmons who turned down a sharp single to cover.
Any hopes the Leewards had of making serious inroads were quickly dashed as the stylish Darren Bravo carved out a typically attractive 20 from 19 balls to post another 48 for the second wicket with Simmons.
When Bravo whipped seamer Gavin Tonge to Kieran Powell at wide long on at the end of the 15th over, Simmons then carried T&T on his back to get them to a competitive total.
Leewards struggled from the outset and it was no surprise when Montcin Hodge played back and was lbw to Rampaul without scoring at eight for one in the third over.
Chesney Hughes’ miserable series continued when he nicked the first ball he got to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin for his second successive “duck”, to leave Rampaul on a hat-trick.
The feat was averted but it made no difference to the Leewards’ luck as Powell (11) skied pacer Kevon Cooper to Sherwin Ganga running around from mid on  at 13 for three in the fifth over and when the veteran and captain Wilden Cornwall (12) edged a cut off Sherwin Ganga at 27 for four in the eighth over, the Leewards were in turmoil. (CMC)