THE Unlimited Titans had their fate taken out of their own hands when they went down by six runs to Trinidad & Tobago in terms of the Duckworth/Lewis method in their final Group B match at the Champions League T20 at Ahmedabad on Monday.
The match was heading for a fascinating climax with three overs left for play with AB de Villiers leading the charge as the Titans needed 36 off 18 balls. But torrential rain drove the players from the field and, with plenty of surface water covering the outfield, there was never the chance of a resumption.
The result puts T&T level with the Titans on eight points with a superior run rate (0.49 as against 0.16) and also with a game in hand. But that outstanding match is against the powerful Chennai Super Kings who will also want to win their final match to make sure they stay top of the log and have theoretically the easier path to the final.
Chennai would not need a very big win in such a short competition for the run rate to switch back in the Titans’ favour.
The second match between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Brisbane Heat on the same flooded ground was abandoned without a ball being bowled. This means that the Sunrisers finish on six points and cannot qualify for the semi-finals. Brisbane finish on two.
With the benefit of hindsight the Titans may be rueing the fact that they did not get De Villiers to the crease earlier when chasing a difficult target of 189. He had only faced 13 balls when the rain intervened. Another over or two of De Villiers would almost certainly have made a big difference to the D/L position.
T&T’s victory was set up by the superb second wicket partnership of 109 off 64 balls between Evin Lewis (70 off 35 balls, 7 fours and 5 sixes)) and Darren Bravo (63 off 44 balls, 5 fours and 4 sixes) after losing the toss and their first wicket to the 10th ball of the match. Lewis reached his half-century off only 21 balls while Bravo was prepared to bide his time at a run a ball until Lewis was dismissed and then stepped up the rate to reach his half-century off 37 balls. He took three sixes off one over from Roelof van der Merwe.
Morne Morkel and Marchant de Lange got their lines wrong in their opening spells when Lewis was particularly adept at freeing his arms to punish anything wide of the stumps.
Both the quicks did much better in their closing spells conceding 36 runs off the last four overs and taking three wickets at a stage when the Caribbean outfit seemed certain to top 200.
Morkel finished with 1/29 (including a maiden over up front) and De Lange with 3/38.
The Titans made an excellent start to their reply when Henry Davids (42 off 22 balls, 6 fours and 2 sixes) and Jacques Rudolph (31 off 28 balls, 4 fours) put on 64 in the power play overs.
But T&T had the right man to slow down the game in Sunil Narine who took 4/23 in his four overs. He had finished his spell by the time the rain came and that factor would have counted in Titans favour in the three overs that were not to be.
Davids finished the match with an aggregate for the tournament of 197 and is well ahead of the rest of the field in the competition for the golden bat but whether he will get the opportunity to add to his tally remains to be seen.