Trinidad secure easy win over Eagles
Adrian Barath (63) led a stunning power-hitting show as Trinidad & Tobago breezed into the semifinals of the Champions League after pipping Diamond Eagles by 24 runs in a high scoring League A match on Sunday.
The unbeaten Caribbean side rattled up 213/4, highest score of the tournament, and left Diamond Eagles with an almost impossible task of achieving the target in 14.2 overs to qualify for the next stage.
Barath, playing his first match of the tournament, almost batted through the innings and shared two solid partnerships with William Perkins (35) and Lendl Simmons (40) to set up the stage for an exciting finish after opting to bat.
Navin Stewart (33 off 11) and Kieron Pollard (23) provided the late firework as the good work done at the top was carried on by the middle-order.
Needing 16.5 runs per over, the South African side made an audacious start by extracting 72 runs in the first five overs, but the task was just too tough to manage.
Rilee Rossouw hit a scintillating 44 off just 19 balls and the following batsmen too fought their heart out but Eagles ultimately could manage 189/5 in 20 overs.
Morne van Wyk (25), Boeta Dippenaar (33) and Dillon du Preez (35) batted beautifully in their aggressive knocks but their effort proved insufficient to demolish the target.
New South Wales Blues had qualified from League A early in the day after beating Somerset by six wickets.
Earlier, Barath, who replaced Darren Bravo in the side, was jittery in the beginning, but once he got his rhythm he was at his destructive best.
Barath played second fiddle in the 66-run opening wicket partnership with Perkins and was magnificent in his 76-run stand for the second wicket with Simmons, who contributed a quick fire 40 off 25 balls.
Before being bowled by Dillon du Preez, Barath entertained the crowd with four fours and equal number of sixes while Perkins decorated his innings with three fours and three shots over the fence.
Stewart's scintillating 11-ball 33 at number five before Kieron Pollard's 23-run cameo took the match away from Eagles.
Stewart put on an amazing display of power-hitting in the 19th over when he smashed du Preez for 26 runs, ruthlessly hitting him for three sixes and two fours.
At the start, Perkins, who has been in ominous form, yet again began solidly hitting Victor Mpistang for a four and a six in the very first over of the match.
Barath though was living dangerously as he attempted many shots off Cornelius de Villiers but missed all.
Perkins was on song on the other side as he smashed Victor for an off-side six, followed it up with a four and hoicked another six in his next over.
Barath also got into action, went for a hardly slashed cut off Preez and just managed to clear the ropes at third man and then hit Ryan McLaren for two boundaries.
The Caribbean openers made the most of the power-play as they amassed 64 runs in the first six overs.
Thandi Tshabalala, the off-spinner, brought a huge relief for his side when he bowled Perkins, who slashed one hard but missed the shot completely and the partnership was broken.
But the smile on his teammates' faces was momentary as next man in Simmons hit the first ball for a massive six and packed the next ball for a point boundary.
Barath and Simmons kept punishing the South African bowlers and by 11 overs Trinidad & Tobago had scored 100 runs.
Barath steered Alan Kroger to third man to get to his fifty and Simmons hit the same bowler for two more boundaries to raise their fifty-run partnership.
de Villiers was brought back into the attack but the paceman hardly got any respect as he was creamed for 21 runs in that over by the duo.
Ryan McLaren provided the breakthrough when he disturbed the timber of Simmons but by then he had done his job as he cracked six boundaries and a six in his knock.
Pollard continued with the way he has been batting and hit two sixes before being caught by Alan Cruger off Ryan Bailey.