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2008 Ahmad Twenty20 Tournament
T’dad & Tobago Road Kills Combined XI

Trinidad & Tobago with an infusion of Trinidad’s professional Clarke Road Cricket Club players defeated a beefed-up New York Combined XI squad, last Saturday at Idlewild Park in Queens, New York.

Batting first, Trinidad & Tobago reached 152 for the loss of seven wickets, behind the bats of openers Sean Siloch, 47 (6x4s), and Denis Rampersad, 37, the major contributors to T&T’s one and a half-century. Other knocks came from M. Bodoe, not out 19 and Richie Siewchan, 18. The opening stand of 92, appeared to take the wind out of the Combined XI’s first four bowlers, although not expensive, they did not get the breakthrough they were hoping for, against the in-form Siloch, a Stanford T&T national Twenty20 player, and the ever-ready Denis Rampersad.

The T&T’s wickets fell at 92, 94, 118, 119, 139, 149, and 150. The Combined XI’s most successful bowlers were Jon Baptiste with 4-0-30-4 and Narsingh Deonarine 4-0-30-2. Narsingh eventually made the breakthrough for the Combined XI squad, striking gold with the very first delivery of his spell, the wicket of opener Siloch. The bowler quickly followed up with the wicket of Denis Rampersad, two deliveries later.
The 7.60 runs per over asking rate of Trinidad & Tobago may have appeared to be huge, but if only the Combined XI fieldsmen had held on to their balls when actuating catches, the score may have very well been south of 100. Some of the more experienced players on the Combined XI squad put down no fewer than six catches.

The Combined XI in response opened with the hard-hitting and crowd-pleaser Nadeem Younis, who immediately got off the mark with successive fours, before being choked by a delivery from A. Cuffy that saw the burly Pakistani being caught while on eight. Guyana and West Indies’ Ryan Ramdass managed only two runs, before being run-out. It was 10 for 2 and things were not looking good for the Combined XI boys. However, they still had some top-quality batsmen to come.

Narsingh Deonarine appeared to have been at the wrong end of the upraised finger of the umpire, before scoring. Deonarine was adjudged lbw, a decision he appeared to question contemplatively for some time, before making the return trek. Next up was T&T national and West Indies’ Twenty20 batsman William “Shotgun” Perkins, who immediately stated his arrival with 3x4s and 1x6 in his contribution of 23, before being caught off the bowling of Cuffy. The Combined XI appeared to be in the middle of the road and the steamroller T&T bowling quadrant of Cuffy, Bode, Moonasar, and Persad was headed straight their way, without brakes; road-kill in the making.

The usually dependable Dennison Thomas contributed 18, as the Combined XI fought to cross the road to the victory side. Worthwhile contributions came from Hunan Munir, 20 not out, and skipper Zamin Amin and D. Hart, each with 17. However, in the end, it was not enough, as the Combined XI suffered an 18-run loss.

T&T’s Cuffy enjoyed figures of 4-0-37-3, while M. Moonasar and M. Bode each grabbed two wickets for 12 and 19 respectively. The Combined XI wickets fell at 10, 11, 15, 32, 42, 82, 91, 108, 133, and 134 all out in 18.4 overs.

It was the Combined XI’s second defeat in as many matches. However, the squad’s manager and coach feels that despite the All-Star quality of the team, the deck was somewhat stacked against them in both losses. In the opening round, the Combined XI squad was annihilated by Guyana, however, despite the two losses the team is expected to attract some other top-quality players for the remaining three games.

The addition of the Combined XI to this year’s tournament, in the opinion of some cricket enthusiasts, enriched the quality of the tournament, because it has thrown a dynamic group of top-quality players into the competitive mix, which can only help to raise the overall level of play in the now annual premier competition.
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