Cape Cobras v Trinidad & Tobago, CLT20, Chennai October 4, 2011

T&T's tail trumps Steyn

Dale Steyn was the favourite to win the battle against the Trinidad & Tobago tail. He didn't

At one end was Dale Steyn, the best fast bowler in the world looking to put the seal on a fantastic opening spell of 3-1-3-1 and take Cape Cobras into the semi-finals. There were 24 runs to defend and a 19th over to bowl. It's been the over of the devil in the Champions League T20. Steyn had already come unstuck in the penultimate over once, when Chennai Super Kings' resident Trinidadian, Dwayne Bravo, clobbered him for 16 runs. As Steyn ran in to bowl at the Trinidad & Tobago lower order, he would have expected redemption waiting for him.

On strike was Ravi Rampaul, the bowler of the tournament despite the heart-breaking meltdown against New South Wales in the Super Over. At the non-striker's end was Kevon Cooper, whose all-round effort had derailed the Super Kings in the previous game. Watching from the sidelines was the CSK team, knowing that only a Trinidad & Tobago win could keep them in the tournament. Even they must have known Steyn was unlikely to combust a second time.

And then it happened, the way it can only in the Twenty20 format. Having bowled high-quality outswingers during his opening spell, Steyn began the 19th over with a wide yorker. Rampaul pounced on the room and crunched it square for four. Three length balls and a slower delivery followed, and T&T hustled five runs off them to reduce the equation to 15 off 7. Something had to give, and it was Steyn's composure that did. He ended the over with a full toss on leg stump, which Cooper hoisted straight for six. Despite finishing with figures of 4-1-18-1 - the best for Cobras by a distance - Steyn had cost his side the game. Should he have bowled out with the new ball?

"There was a temptation to bowl him out, he bowled beautifully first up," Justin Kemp, the Cobras captain, said after the defeat. "But he is one of the world's best death bowlers, and I had to bowl our best bowler at the death."

Unfortunately for Kemp, this has been a tournament where reputations have counted for little. T&T's Cooper had arrived in obscurity, with a bunch of unconventional offcutters, ridiculously daring footwork and a long handle he isn't shy of wielding. For the second time in two games he brought his skills to the fore in the pressure overs.

Cooper's match-winning exploits reminded observers of the impact his fellow Trinidadian, Kieron Pollard, had in the first Champions League in 2009. Cooper, however, hasn't given the prospects of an IPL contract much thought. "We just want to show people that teams in the West Indies can compete," he had said earlier. "T&T is flying the West Indies flag very high in India."

T&T's Champions League campaign might end by midnight, but the party will carry on for much longer. In the meantime they prepared to return the favour and root for the Super Kings, as long as their margin of victory was not too large. Daren Ganga gave away his allegiance when he wrapped a CSK jersey around him as he walked away from the press conference.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mahjut on October 5, 2011, 16:09 GMT

    really? Nannes going for 14 in the penultimate over. times that by two? what's going on.

  • mahjut on October 5, 2011, 14:54 GMT

    dear me - see that LD? 46 runs in 3 overs from Banglore to SAus. 24 - impossible is nothing (how's that for mindless repitition) this is T20 cricket mate :)

  • mahjut on October 5, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    I'm looking simply for some critical thinking LivingDead - not mindless mumbling. find me an article on cricinfo (or commentary) which describes anyone form any other team with the correct word 'choke' and i'll be more open to your comment. i'm asking for just the one, only one!! My question (and i support SA, not becasue i'm Saffer - i'm not - simply due to this lunacy) was simply why is an bad over by anyone other than a saffer called by every other name and choke is used specifically for Saffers? It's not a hard question but difficult to answer except for something inane like: "it happens more often to them" that would be fine if backed up with facts. positions they have lost from against teams or situations where they had no right to lose

  • mahjut on October 5, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    i already answered your question in my initial post LD - 'a heartbreaking meltdown' perhaps? no, you proved my point...if it's SA, indeed what else do you call it!!? What did they prove when Warriors got into and won the semis of last year's CLT20 - nothing becasue they didn't win the final. SA have to win or they're chokers so as only one team can win, why is just the safffers who are called chokers?

  • Mazharul on October 5, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    South Africans are Chokers...They proved again. Noting to say more....

  • alok on October 4, 2011, 23:04 GMT

    @mahjut: well it is choke. 24 runs in 2 overs to defend and still wrenched defeat from jaws of victory. What else do u call it?

  • mahjut on October 4, 2011, 16:22 GMT

    Let me start: for all those who need a quick guide to cricinfo commentary ... when it's not a South African who loses a game with his bowling (ie Ravi Rampaul in this instance) it's a ""heart-breaking meltdown"" if it's a South African - it's a Choke!!! If you get this rule of thumb, you can then be considered a cricketing officionado. henceforth, do not bother to critically analyse the situation. if an SA team does not win - they've choked...period! Although it was not mentioned here - sometimes that is louder, especially if you dedicate a whole article to it :) The monkey, whihc has become a Gorilla on the back of any Saffer cricketer has been well fed by cricket punters along the way...

  • Dummy4 on October 4, 2011, 16:02 GMT

    Let the better team T&T go for the semis....Go CSK Go and win the match (after 17 overs) and pave the way for a good team. Let Dhoni takes some rest before the England series as well.

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