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Bravo sets Red Steel rolling

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File Photo: Darren Bravo in action

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Aggressive half-centuries from Ross Taylor and Darren Bravo gave Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel a winning start to their 2014 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign here yesterday.
New Zealander Taylor hammered 62 and Bravo, an unbeaten 54, as Red Steel overhauled their paltry target of 121, reaching 125 for three with 15 balls left at the National Stadium here.

Red Steel bowlers had earlier strangled the Tridents, leaving them with just 120 for six off their 20 overs, after being asked to bat first. Shane Dowrich christened his maiden CPL innings with a top score of 37, while Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik scored 21.

Seamers Kevin O’Brien (2-6) and Dwayne Bravo (2-17) finished with two wickets apiece, while speedster Fidel Édwards was brilliant up front, conceding just 12 runs from his three overs.

Tridents were given a sound start by Dowrich and Dwayne Smith, who made 13, adding 40 off 36 balls for the first wicket.

Smith got into his stride early, clearing long-off with leg-spinner Samuel Badree as early as the second over before punching the bowler through cover off the back foot for four, a few overs later.

However, he perished in that same over, the sixth of the innings, clipping a simple catch to Dwayne Bravo at long-on.

Dowrich and Shoaib then added a patient 34 for the second wicket, as Red Steel’s bowlers turned the screws and slowed the scoring.

The right-handed Dowrich faced 38 balls and struck five fours – including two in one over off fellow Barbadian Sulieman Benn’s left-arm spin.

Shoaib smashed two sixes – the first disappearing over backward square off Dwayne Bravo and the second sailing over mid-wicket off Benn.

Tied down and looking to free himself, Shoaib holed out in the deep to Taylor in O’Brien’s first over and his dismissal triggered a slide, as five wickets fell for 25 runs off 35 balls.

South African Neil McKenzie smashed O’Brien to Dwayne Bravo at square leg to fall for seven, Dowrich was bowled by seamer Kevon Cooper seven balls later before captain Kieron Pollard ended his 12-ball struggle over seven by top-edging a return catch to Dwayne Bravo.

In reply, Red Steel lost Nasir Jamshed to the first ball of the innings as off-spinner Shoaib got one to drift away from left-hander who edged to slip where Ashley Nurse took a brilliant one-handed catch inches from the turf.
And Tridents thought they were in the hunt when opener Evin Lewis top-edged pacer Ravi Rampaul to backward square for McKenzie to take an excellent catch, running in off the boundary at 20 for one in the fourth over.
However, that was as far as the Tridents revival got, as Taylor and Bravo wrenched the game away with an exhibition of superb stroke-play in a third wicket stand of 95.

The right-handed Taylor cracked six fours and a six – a clean hit over mid-wicket off Rampaul, one ball before walking across his wicket and falling lbw.

Bravo, meanwhile, was dazzling, and emerged from a cautious start to stroke three fours and three sixes off 42 deliveries.

The left-hander was particularly severe on fellow Trinidadian Akeal Hosein, carting the left-arm spinner for two successive straight sixes and then a four, in an over that cost 18 runs.

It was he who signed off on the win with a cover-driven boundary off seamer Dwayne Smith and then a couple in the same area, in the 18th over.

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