None of the Indian teams are here, but the only West Indian team in the competition is setting the mood for Hyderabad. The infectious Trinidadian rhythm has got the party going, and everyone is swaying to the lively Calypso music.
“Trinidad! Trinidad!” the team’s official song played loud and insistent on Sunday as they bludgeoned past Diamond Eagles. The cheerleaders danced till they couldn’t any longer. Free tickets filled up the stands considerably. And what we had was an outrageous evening of T20 cricket, punctuated with 13 sixes and 18 fours.
Trinidad and Tobago brought up the first 200 of Champions League T20 — they finally got off the heady ride at 213 for four. Diamond Eagles, in reply, finished for 189 for five.
Having already qualified for the semifinals, the West Indian audacity was steeled by confidence. William Perkins set the tone as he slammed ten runs from the first over by Victor Mpitsang, beginning the massacre. Every batsman that walked in carried on in the same vein. Adrian Barath, playing his first game of the tournament, immediately stamped his mark on the tournament.
For the Eagles, Thandi Tshabala got the breakthrough, when he bowled through Perkins’ defences. But there was no respite as that over alone cost Tshabalala 11 runs and Lendl Simmons only turned up a gear, scoring 40 from 25.
The increasing scoring tempo reached a crescendo when Navin Stewart helped the team knock off 27 runs in the 19th over off Dillion du Preez.
The Eagles made a chase of it. Morne van Wyk and Rilee Russouw gave them a rollicking start, bringing the 50 up in 3.4 overs. Russouw smacked 44 off just 19 balls, with the help of five fours and three sixes.
Sherwin Ganga stemmed the flow, as he dismissed van Wyk (25) and Adrian McLaren in successive overs.
Thereafter, Boeta Dippenaar and du Preez tried to revive the fightback, but fell short by 23 runs.
Trinidad and Tobago thus qualified at the top of League A and made sure that the party remained in Hyderabad. New South Wales Blues are the other team from their league who will play in the final four.