Blues crowned champions

Cricket: Champions League: Brilliant Aussie side ends Trinidad and Tobagos fairytale run in final


Joy unbound!: Jubilant New South Wales players pose with the Champions League T20 trophy after defeating Trinidad and Tobago in Friday’s final. PTI

But the victory would not have been possible without Brett Lee, who was the difference between professional New South Wales and spirited Trinidad. To start with, man of the match and man of the series Lee came up with a blistering 48 under the most trying circumstances to lift the Blues to 159 for nine, a par score considering the bowling might of the Australians. T&T could make only 118.

Lee wrote a pointer to things to come when Trinidad started their innings, castling the dangerous William Perkins with the second ball of the first over. The vivacious paceman brought more joy to his team when he latched onto a brilliant catch off his own bowling to send Lendl Simmons back.

Leg-spinner Steven Smith packed off Adrian Barath and suddenly Trinidad found themselves at 21 for three, and the hunter became the hunted in a matter of just 14 balls.

You don’t need to teach an Australian side how to exploit such a golden chance presented to them and they did precisely that with some tight bowling and equally sharp effort on the field. The biggest threat for Blues was Kieron Pollard and for a brief while he appeared to take the match away, but Hauritz removed him to end Trinidad’s hopes.

Earlier, New South Wales never found the going easy as Trinidad’s discipline and their own indiscretions bogged them down after a short-lived positive start. Phillip Hughes and David Warner added 24 runs for the opening wicket in just over three overs, raising the visions of a NSW romp to a huge total. Warner was severe on Trinidad bowlers, especially on off-spinner Sherwin Ganga, who pitched it way short outside the off-stump and the left-hander put away the freebies with ease.

Ravi Rampaul fetched the first breakthrough for Trinidad when he cleaned up Hughes, who played a horrendous pull to a ball not that short enough. Hughes’ dismissal triggered a top order collapse that saw skipper Simon Katich, Warner and Moises Henriques returning to the pavilion without making any significant contributions.

At four for 47 in little over seven overs, the Blues were in danger of getting bowled out for a below par total. The first hint of resistance came when Ben Roherer and Steve Smith added 28 runs for the fifth wicket. In terms of numbers, the partnership was not of a huge proportion but that steadied the Blues innings, which resembled the rocking boat. 
However, the Blues innings again dived into a mini-crisis with Roherer and Daniel Smith taking the long walk to the hut in quick succession. However, Lee used his nearly 10 years of experience in top flight cricket to bring NSW back into the match in the company of Steve Smith as the duo added 49 runs off 37 balls. It turned out to be the decisive moment!

SCORE BOARD

NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES: David Warner c Mohammed b Bravo 19 (16b, 4x4), Phil Hughes b Rampaul 3 (5b), Simon Katich c Barath b Bravo 16 (14b, 2x6), Moises Henriques c S Ganga b Pollard 4 (7b), Ben Roherer c S Ganga b Mohammed 16 (12b, 2x6), Steve Smith c Simmons b S Ganga 33 (26b, 2x4,1x6), Daniel Smith b Rampaul 3 (3b), Brett Lee c Perkins b Rampaul 48 (31b, 1x4, 5x6), Nathan Hauritz (run out) 10 (6b, 1x4), Stuart Clark (not out) 0 (0b). Extras (LB-5, W-2) 7. Total (9 wkts, 20 overs) 159.

Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Hughes), 2-32 (Warner), 3-45 (Katich), 4-47 (Henriques), 5-75 (Roherer), 6-83 (D Smith), 7-132 (S Smith), 8-159 (Hauritz), 9-159 (Lee). Bowling: Sherwin Ganga 4-0-29-1 (w-1), Ravi Rampaul 4-0-20-3, Dwayne Bravo 3-0-27-2 (w-1), Keiron Pollard 3-0-27-1, Dave Mohammed 3-0-19-1, Lendl Simmons 2-0-23-1, Navin Stewart 1-0-9-0.

Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 42/2.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:  William Perkins b Lee 0 (2b), Adrian Barath c D Smith b S Smith 14 (6b, 2x4, 1x6), Lendl Simmons c&b Lee 4 (7b), Daren Ganga c Warner b S Smith 19 (20b, 1x4, 1x6), Dwayne Bravo b Bollinger 17 (13b, 2x4, 1x6), Denesh Ramdin c S Smith b Clark 16 (23b, 1x4), Kieron Pollard c Lee b Hauritz 26 (15b, 3x6), Sherwin Ganga c Henriques b Hauritz 5 (7b), Navin Stewart c Henrique b Clark 4 (3b, 1x4), Dave Mohammed c Hughes b Clark 1 (2b), Ravi Rampaul (not out) 0 (0b). Extras (LB-5, W-4, NB-3) 12. Total (all out, 15.5 overs) 118.

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Perkins), 2-21 (Barath), 3-21 (Simmons), 4-45 (Bravo), 5-68 (D Ganga), 6-93 (Ramdin), 7-107 (S Ganga), 8-113 (Pollard), 9-118 (Stewart).

Bowling: Brett Lee 2-0-10-2 (nb-1, w-1), Steve Smith 4-0-32-2 (w-1), Doug Bollinger 4-0-27-1 (nb-1, w-2), Stuart Clark 3.5-0-21-3, Nathan Hauritz 2-0-23-2 (nb-1).
Runs during Power Play: 1-6: 47/4.

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