Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY
The highly touted Carib-bean T20 cricket tournament has come and gone, for the last time, and Trinidad and Tobago have won the title, for the third successive and last time.
Led by Denesh Ramdin, Trinidad and Tobago did not lead from start to finish, but they won handsomely. It was as easy as can be, so easy that, in the final, at 52 for one replying to 116, they sent in Kieron Pollard, instead of Darren Bravo, to wrap up things.
They started with a slight hiccup, scoring 128 for nine against Jamaica before rain ended the game, but then they hit their stride, making it a one man's race to the finish.
Jamaica, who finished the tournament in the second spot before losing in the semi-final to end up in third place, had results like these - no result, lost by five wickets, and won by 12 runs, tied (won), won by five wickets, and won by seven wickets before losing the semi-final match to Guyana.
Guyana, who finished third, one point behind Jamaica, before winning the semi-final to end up in second place, had results showing victories by two wickets and 42 runs, two losses by 80 runs and by five wickets, and two victories, one by 14 runs and one by four wickets.
The champions, however, stormed to victory by winning six matches straight and by the crushing margins of seven wickets with 16 deliveries to spare, by 95 and by 80 runs, and by eight wickets with 22 deliveries to spare, by five wickets with 29 deliveries, and, in the final, against Guyana, by nine wickets with 45 deliveries to spare.
So dominating were the Trinidadians that after Christopher Gayle had caned Guyana for 122 not out in the semi-finals, after Jamaica had reached 186 for six, their highest score of the tournament, and after Guyana had brushed that aside with 187 for four off 18.4 overs with Christopher Barnswell racing to 88 run out off 49 deliveries, they defeated Guyana without working up a sweat.
Whether it was T20 cricket or not, it was certainly a competition, or it was supposed to have been one, and Trinidad and Tobago displayed their class for all to see.
Some may say that Jamaica were without batsman Marlon Samuels, the man who cracked 78 against Sri Lanka in the world T20 final, and that is the truth.
Trinidad and Tobago, however, lest it be forgotten, were without pace bowler Ravi Rampaul, the man who bowled Tilakaratne Dilshan for zero at six for one in his second over of Sri Lanka's innings in that match.
Trinidad and Tobago were also without the hard-hitting all-rounder, Kevon Cooper.
The tournament, however, did not live up to expectations, neither in terms of the crowd nor in terms of the standard of play.
The crowds, but for whenever the home teams played, but for the last night in St Lucia, were disappointing.
Regardless of what the commentators said, regardless of the words they used, words such as a full house, an extraordinary crowd, a massive crowd, they only referred to a few stands, one or two, and that only on the nights on which the home teams were playing, and only on the last night.
That was the case in both Trinidad and St Lucia as far as the crowds were concerned. Unless my eyes were deceiving me whenever I looked on the television screen, and I looked at it almost constantly, that was what I saw.
The action also was disappointing, almost very disappointing, especially from Jamaica.
Jamaica tied one match and lost one match, their batting but for Gayle was terrible, and their bowling was poor.
It was same in the individual figures. Danza Hyatt finished 10th in the batting with 114 runs at an average of 19.00, Tamar Lambert ended up at 24th with 84 runs at 16.40, Nkrumah Bonner at 27th with 72 runs at 14.40, and Andre Russell at 47th with 47 runs at an average of 11.75.
Thank God for Gayle, who gratefully arrived to replace Andre McCarthy. But for him, but for his 85 and especially for his 122 not out out of 183, Jamaica many not have been in the fight for their last two matches.
In the bowling department, Khrishmar Santokie finished third with nine wickets at an average of 16.88, but then he was followed by Nikita Miller down the standings in 16th position with six wickets at 20.33, and by Russell in 18th spot with six at 23.00.
Fortunately, there were seven things to remember, and they were Chadwick Walton's 99 not out early in the piece for the Combined Campuses and Colleges against Guyana, Derone Davis' hat-trick for CCC versus Barbados, Darren Sammy's gesture twice - for the Windward Islands against the Leeward Islands and again against Guyana, Darren Bravo's batting throughout but especially against Guyana, Shannon Gabriel's fast bowling throughout, Gayle's batting in the last two matches for Jamaica, and Barnswell's batting in the semi-final match.
They were magnificent, and although the bowling, most times, was there to be hit, Gayle's power and his instincts were remarkable.
In his two innings, his 85 off 44 balls with nine sixes and four fours, his 122 not out off 61 balls with 12 sixes and five fours were tremendous, and his average of 207.00 was colossal.
In the excitement stakes, there were especially two things to remember. They were the tied match between Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, and the semi-final match between Windward Islands and Guyana.
That was the comeback match, the match in which the Windward Islands came back at Guyana before losing off the last delivery, and the match in which captain Sammy refused to test the umpire when, with the scores tied and the batsmen going for a quick run, a fielder threw the ball, the ball was going towards the wicket when it hit one of the batsman, and the fielders, all in one accord, turned to the captain for his intervention, for obstruction.
No, said Sammy, we won't win that way, and that was the end of that. There was no tie, and there no play-off match.
The Caribbean T20 was not a great tournament, at times the crowd was encouraging, at other times, most times, it was disappointing, and at times the standard of play was disappointing, at other times, seven times, it was magnificent.
Hopefully, if the crowds really turn out, the new proposed Caribbean Professional League with its stars, locally and internationally and scheduled to begin next year, will be a big hit.
WICB Media Photo/Randy Brooks
Members of the Trinidad and Tobago cricket team and manager Omar Khan (centre) celebrate their Caribbean T20 Tournament victory over Guyana, following the final at Beasejour Cricket Stadium last Sunday night.