The packed Queen’s Park Oval crowd was kept in suspense late into the night before Darren Bravo’s final ball six off Ronsford Beaton sent them into a frenzy.
“Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! was the chant around the Oval on Thursday night as the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel skipper Dwayne Bravo (67 off 42 balls) and his younger brother Darren (69 not out off 49 balls) took turns manhandling the Guyana Amazon Warriors bowlers in an entertaining 131-run fourth wicket partnership which helped the hosts recover from 13 for three in the fourth over to reach 180 for six, with the younger Bravo holding his pose after smashing the last ball over the deep midwicket boundary to win the Limacol Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 match for his team.
Even with the ball, the Red Steel almost let the game slip away as the Warriors also had a thrilling recovery from a sluggish start thanks to skipper Denesh Ramdin’s 45-ball 84.
The Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies Test captain Ramdin hit six fours and six sixes—60 runs in boundaries—in a 122-run stand for the fourth wicket with Jimmy Neesham (33 off 32 balls) as the Warriors recovered from 23 for three in the sixth over to post 179 for four off 20 but even after that, captain Dwayne insisted: “This is my home. This is where I play most of my cricket. At no point in time did I panic.
“I told the guys, if we bat 20 overs, we are going to win the game, just believe and so said so done,” he added after the match.
It was Ramdin’s innings, according to Red Steel skipper, that spurred on the home team’s successful run chase.
“I think Ramdin’s innings actually inspired me. He batted with a lot of confidence and self-belief. His team was under pressure and he came and changed the game. You have to give credit to him for the way he batted,” said Bravo.
Ramdin came to the middle after Red Steel spinner Samuel Badree struck some early blows to leave the Warriors struggling in the Powerplay overs.
The leggie removed Martin Guptill in the second over before striking twice in the fifth to send back Mohammad Hafeez and Lendl Simmons to slow the Warriors progress after Simmons had blasted four fours off the previous over from Fidel Edwards.
After ten overs they were 53 for three and that is when Ramdin started to flourish. He smacked Dwayne over deep midwicket for his first six to get the innings back on track and by the time he departed in the 18th over, the Warriors were back in the match.
The visitors pressed their advantage when Kennar Lewis, Kevin O’Brien and Ross Taylor all went back early but their bowling wasn’t the same without ace spinner Sunil Narine who missed the game due to a side strain.
The Bravos then took turns dispatching the bowlers to the boundaries. Dwayne went after Beaton with a pair of sixes on either side of the wicket as they moved on to 94 for three after 12 overs, still needing 86 to win from 48 balls.
Dwayne, who finished with six fours and three sixes, was dropped by Christopher Barnwell before the fielder redeemed himself to send back the Red Steel skipper in 17th over.
The Red Steel cut it close after losing Nicholas Pooran and Kevon Cooper towards the end with the equation boiling down to nine runs needed off the last six balls.
The match was in the balance right to the end after Jason Mohammed and Darren Bravo--who smacked five fours and five sixes in his innings--got three runs off the first five balls, leaving the Red Steel fans holding their breath, hoping for a fairytale ending which the left-hander eventually delivered to keep the party going long into the night.
The Red Steel coach Simon Helmot was pleased with the performance but also pointed out a few areas of concern.
“It was not all smooth sailing. Obviously we had a good start with the ball and I was really pleased with our effort after we had a sluggish start with the bat ourselves. We had strong partnership between the two Bravo boys and that was outstanding and that matched the Ramdin-Neesham partnership, but we were really pleased to get ourselves in a winning position in the back end.
“But we did not execute as much as we would have liked, but Ramdin batted really well. I think the guys continued to fight with the bat no matter what the circumstances are and to have a game like that, 180 vs 180 in front of your home crowd was fantastic,” Helmot said.
However he added: “ We made a number of errors with the bat, the ball and in the field but the opposition is a very good, balanced team and I think we are going to have plenty more contests as tight as that in the future. There is a healthy rivalry growing there. We are growing as a team and we still have areas we can certainly improve on.”
T&T Red Steel v Guyana Amazon Warriors
AMAZON WARRIORS INNS
L Simmons stpd wkpr Pooran b Badree 24
M Guptill c DJ Bravo b Badree 1
M Hafeez c O’Brien b Badree 1
D Ramdin c Badree b Edwards 84
J Neesham not out 33
C Barnwell run out 23
V Permaul not out 0
Extras (LB5, W8) 13
TOTAL (for five wickets, 20 overs) 179
Did not bat: L Johnson, S Jacobs, K Santokie, R Beaton.
Wickets at: 3 (Guptill, 2), 23 (Hafeez, 5.1), 3-27 (Simmons, 5.5), 4-149 (Ramdin, 17.5), 5-175 (Barnwell, 19.5)
Bowling: Edwards 4-0-38-1 (w1), Badree 4-0-13-3 (w1), Benn 3-0-23-0, DJ Bravo 4-0-54-0 (w1), Cooper4-0-32-0 (w1), O’Brien 1-0-14-0.
RED STEEL INNS
K Lewis c Barnwell b Mohammad Hafeez 3
K O’Brien b Santokie 4
R Taylor lbw b Permaul 0
DM Bravo not out 69
DJ Bravo c Barnwell b Neesham 67
N Pooran c Simmons b Santokie 16
K Cooper c Barnwell b Santokie 2
J Mohammed not out 1
Extras (LB3, W15) 18
TOTAL (for six wickets, 20 overs) 180
Did not bat: S Benn, S Badree, F Edwards.
Wickets at: 5 (O’Brien, 1), 2-6 (Taylor, 1.5), 3-13 (Lewis, 3.4), 4-144 (DJ Bravo, 16.3), 5-167 (Pooran, 18.3), 6-171 (Cooper, 20)
Bowling: Santokie 4-0-36-3 (w2), Permaul 3-0-17-1 (w1), Mohammad Hafeez 4-1-23-1, Jacobs 2-0-28-0 (w1), Beaton 4-0-39-0 (w3), Neesham 3-0-34-1 (w3)
Result: Red Steel won by four wickets.
Points: Red Steel 2, Amazon Warriors 0.
Man-of-the-Match: Darren Bravo.