Trinidad & Tobago roar into the main draw
Trinidad & Tobago 168 for 2 (Simmons 67, Barath 62, Gurney 2-33) beat Leicestershire 117 for 9 (Taylor 56*, Rampaul 4-14, Badree 2-7, Narine 2-18) by 51 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Winning the Caribbean T20 wasn't enough to secure a Champions League berth this time, but former finalists Trinidad & Tobago roared back into the main draw with a walloping of England's champions Leicestershire. Lendl Simmons and Adrian Barath put together T&T's highest partnership in Twenty20 cricket, and the bowlers strangled the Leicestershire batsmen into throwing their wickets away on a slow track.
T&T came across as the more aware side: while their batsmen exploited slow legs in the field (Leicestershire's average age is more than 30), the Leicestershire top order didn't seem to know that the legspinner Samuel Badree doesn't turn the ball. Badree hit the stumps up twice during the most economical four-over spell in Champions League history, 4-1-7-2. The Leicestershire attack offered lengths batsmen could get under and the pace to use, whereas T&T opened with spin, and apart from Ravi Rampaul there was no pace on offer.
Leicestershire would have known pace was not going to work when their captain Matthew Hoggard sent the first ball through to wicketkeeper Paul Nixon on the second bounce. Simmons went too hard at the start, survived the odd mis-hit, but stayed long enough to hurt Leicestershire. The key feature of his innings was the way he put behind him the mis-hits and the plays and misses. In the first four overs, he survived a bottom edge and a top edge, but also kept hitting fours to reach 25 off 20.
Barath was more orthodox and correct, opening up only in the ninth over when he lofted Claude Henderson's left-arm spin for six over long-off. That took him to 27 off 21; Simmons had reached 40 already. The next eight overs featured hard running, the odd boundary, fifties for both, and at 139 after 17 overs, T&T were set to tee off. Both openers then fell to top edges off successive deliveries, but Darren Bravo averted Harry Gurney's hat-trick and lofted two exquisite sixes in the last over. Despite those two wickets, T&T managed 29 in the last three overs.
Joshua Cobb began Leicestershire's chase with a four, but Andrew McDonald summed up the effort. Twice he was cramped by Badree's sliders before he went back to cut and was bowled. Rampaul continued his good form, taking two wickets in two overs: one a hole-out to deep cover and the other a wild swing from Wayne White that left the stumps exposed. Will Jefferson also played Badree for the turn and lost his leg stump.
Sunil Narine, on the surface an innocuous little offspinner, bowls a smart legcutter, flicked almost like the carrom ball. It got rid of Paul Nixon and, at 20 for 5 in the sixth over, the rescue act was too much of a task even for the quintessential Twenty20 player, Abdul Razzaq. The talented James Taylor fought for 56 off 47, but there wasn't much he could have done to reverse the result.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo