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T&T wins the Stanford Champions Cup

Trinidad & Tobago won a tense low scoring battle to claim the Stanford Champions Cup thanks to a 6 wicket victory of Middlesex.

The 2008 Stanford 20/20 champions won the Stanford Super Series Champions Cup with an exciting five-wicket win over Middlesex in a gripping match that produced a riveting finish on Monday night.

It earned them US$280,000 which was added to the US$1 million jackpot they hit when they won the second Stanford 20/20 tournament in February.

With their backs seemingly against the wall, Trinidad and Tobago fought back superbly through the efforts of Denesh Ramdin and Darren Bravo to achieve a target of 118 with four balls remaining.

The busy Ramdin cracked a sparkling 41 off 28 balls, while the gifted Bravo stroked an unbeaten 27 off 24 balls and finished the match in grand style by lifting fast bowler Tyrone Henderson over long-off for a huge six.

Ramdin and Bravo joined forces at 49 for four in the 11th over after off-spinner Dawid Malan removed the Ganga brothers to leave the match in the balance.

To the delight of a cheering crowd at the Stanford Cricket Ground, Ramdin and Bravo added 67 off 48 balls at a time when the pressure was mounting.

Trinidad and Tobago required 45 from the last five overs, but Ramdin hoisted three sixes and Bravo expertly handled the situation as the runs flowed freely at crunch time.

Between them, they benefitted from three chances when Middlesex were wilting under the tension.

The win triggered jubilant celebrations around the ground and predictably left Trinidad and Tobago captain Daren Ganga and his men on top of the world.

"Our planning has been spot on. It has been immaculate. It all came to fruition," Ganga said.

"That is the most fulfilling thing - the way we analysed the game and the way we saw things. It is something that is going to help Trinidad and Tobago cricket in the future."

In addition to his shrewd captaincy that was lauded by Stanford 20/20 legend Sir Vivian Richards, Ganga also played a critical role with the bat after Trinidad and Tobago were rattled by two early wickets.

Ganga steadied the ship with a measured 28 off 33 balls after a taking a blow to the helmet from left-arm fast bowler Neil Carter. He teamed up with his brother Sherwin to add 45 for the third wicket before both perished in the same over from Malan.

While Ramdin and Bravo performed the final act, it was fast bowler Ravi Rampaul's four-wicket haul that set up the victory and won him the Man-of-the-match award of US$20,000.

Rampaul, who finished with four for 25 in four overs, put Middlesex on the back foot with two early wickets with the new ball at a time when leg-spinner Samuel Badree also kept things tight in his four overs that cost 17.

In the middle overs, two wickets each by off-spinner Sherwin Ganga and enthusiastic fast bowler Navin Stuart maintained the pressure on Middlesex who needed a last-minute cameo from Neil Dexter to get them to a competitive score.

Dexter blasted 39 off 25 balls with three impressive sixes over long-on before he was bowled by Rampaul in the last over. Rampaul claimed a wicket from his next ball as Ramdin effected his fourth dismissal of the night, but he was denied a hat-trick from the last ball of the innings.

Middlesex were competitive down to the end, but the result was a disappointment for captain Shaun Udal.

"We just didn't get enough runs and when it really mattered, we let ourselves down in the field," he said.

"Trinidad and Tobago are very good side. They were competitive. They were eager in the field."

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