Bowlers, Barath seal easy win for T&T
Trinidad & Tobago 111 for 1 (Barath 66*) beat Canada 110 for 8 (Mohammed 2-10) by nine wickets
The inaugural Caribbean T20 had a low-key beginning in a fairly one-sided encounter at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. In front a sparse crowd, Trinidad and Tobago, led by their bowlers and opener Adrian Barath, delivered a clinical performance to upstage Canada, who were never really in with a chance after posting a below-par score.
The inexperience showed at the top of the order for Canada, as the openers, after being put in, struggled often to get bat to ball and adapt to the variations in length from the T&T seamers. Trevin Bastiampillai consumed 11 balls for his one run before succumbing to a short delivery that produced a top edge to the wicketkeeper. His partner Hiral Patel only did slightly better, scoring nine off 26, but received a painful blow to the back of the ear when he failed to get out of the way of a meaty drive from Geoff Barnett. His agony at the crease, however, was terminated when he holed out in the 11th over with not many on the board.
A combative innings from the New Zealand-born Geoff Barnett lent some respectability to the Canadian innings. Unlike the travails of the openers, there was an assuredness to Barnett's innings that reflected his experience in New Zealand's domestic circuit, where he plays for Central Districts. He dispatched his third ball for a six over long-on and was comfortable against the short ball, pulling Kieron Pollard for two boundaries over square leg. He picked off singles with ease, smashed legspinner Samuel Badree for a six over midwicket before slashing one straight to third man, where Bravo grabbed the second of his four catches.
Dave Mohammed, the left-arm wrist-spinner, varied his flight well, beat the bat and eventually induced Rizwan Cheema, Canadan's hard-hitting captain, to mistime one to long-off just after he had raised his team's hopes with a meaty six in the previous over. When offspinner Sherwin Ganga snared Tyson Gordon the next over, it seemed Canada would struggle to reach three-figures. But the Canadian-born Zubin Surkari, a rarity in the country's cricketing scene, stepped up at the death, cracking consecutive fours over the off-side field against Bravo, and following it up with a massive six into the stands to steal 16 in that over and set up Canada's total of 110.
But that proved woefully inadequate in the wake of Barath's assault, his diminutive figure concealing the reserves of the enormous power he packs into his strokes. He had made an impression representing T&T in the Champions League in India last year and hit the limelight with a century on debut against Australia in Brisbane. He had just recovered from a knee injury, and made his mark immediately with a scintillating performance.
Barath favoured the off side and targeted left-arm seamer Umar Bhatti at the start, beginning with a sliced six over point and then a vicious cut for four followed by a pull over the ropes in his next over. The Canadian bowlers didn't help their cause by pitching short repeatedly, and Barath had no problems, transferring his weight on the back foot, and slashing them over point or dismissing them over square leg. Medium-pacer Harvir Baidwan came in for similar treatment in an over that yielded 17. The game was sealed by some clean hitting from Lendl Simmons, who ensured the win was achieved with 35 balls to spare.