Champions League: Pollard Power takes T&T to victory
Hyderabad: Kieron Pollard's sensational 18-ball unbeaten 54 not only fashioned Trinidad and Tobago's four-wicket over New South Wales Blues in a League B match but also took the Caribbean side a step closer towards the semifinal spot of the inaugural Champions League here.
Pollard struck five fours and as many sixes to single-handedly drag Trinidad & Tobago from the claws of defeat and seal the win with nine balls to spare.
Apart from Pollard captain Darren Ganga (32 off 26), Darren Bravo (27 off 24) and Dinesh Ramdin (23 off 13) shone with bat before the trio fell prey to unnecessary run outs.
For NSW Brett Lee, Moises Henriques and Doug Bollinger picked up a wicket each.
Earlier Philip Hughes (83 off 64) and David Warner (63 off 41) made merry against an inexperienced Trinidad & Tobago attack as the duo raised 121 runs for the opening wicket attack to help New South Wales post a mammoth 170 for four.
Dwayne Bravo was the most successful bowler for Trinidad with figures of three for 31, while left-arm chinaman bowler Dave Mohammed took one wicket, giving away 26 runs.
Chasing an imposing 171 for victory Trinidad & Tobago lost their way after the early burst by William Perkins.
Perkins (16 off 13) showed early promise hitting two boundaries and a six but his over-aggression led to his downfall caught by Nathan Hauritz off Lee.
Trinidad & Tobago dug a hole for themselves losing two more quick wickets in the form of Lendl Simmons and dangerman Dwayne Bravo.
Simmons was caught in front of the wicket by Bollinger while Bravo was held at fine-leg by Bollinger off Henriques.
However Ganga and Darren Bravo were in no mood to give up without a fight as the duo put on 47 runs for the fifth.
Hauritz came for some beating at the hands of the duo as both Ganga and Darren Bravo hit the off-spinner for a six each to give some momentum to the Trinidad & Tobago run chase.
Just when Ganga and Darren Bravo started to accelerate the innings both batsmen fell to unnecessary run outs.
But wicketkeeper Dinesh Ramdin and Pollard had other plans as they welcomed Steven Smith with a 15-run over to keep alive the chase.
With Ramdin running himself out Pollard took the onus on his shoulders and completely changed the complexion of the match in one over.
He demolished Henriques for two back-to-back fours and then followed it up with three sixes to pile up massive 27 runs of the 17th over and reduce the equation for his side.
Needing 16 off 12 balls Simon Katich made a blunder by handing the ball to Henriques as Pollard clobbered the pacer for a four two sixes to finish off the match in style.
Earlier opting to bat Warner and Hughes gave a rollicking start to the NSW innings, scoring 24 runs in the first two overs.
Both the left-handers were in a murderous mood from the word go as they clobbered Ravi Rampaul for three boundaries to pile up 14 runs in the opening over.
Sensing the ease with which the NSW openers were negotiating the pacers Ganga introduced his brother Sherwin Ganga into the attack in the third over and the off-spinner did justice to his skipper's call, giving away just 17 runs in his four overs.
However his good work was undone by Darren Bravo at the other end as Hughes struck him for two fours in the same over through midwicket to take NSW to 50 for no loss at the end of the powerplay.
The Caribbean side's problem was further compounded by their bowlers' inability to pick up wickets as Hughes and Warner piled up 71 runs at the halfway mark of their innings.
With wickets in hand Warner cut loose in the 12th over and hit leg-spinner Samuel Badree for three sixes and a four to notch up his fifty in just 31 balls.
In search of quick runs, Warner's explosive innings which included five fours and three huge sixes finally came to an end when Dwayne Bravo caught him off Dave Mohammed.
It could have been double delight for Mohammed had the bowler managed to latch on to the straight forward chance of Hughes in the very next delivery.
The Caribbean side finally got something to cheer about in the final over as Dwayne Bravo scalped Henriques (17 off 10) and Hughes with back-to-back deliveries and then Ben Rohrer in the final ball of the innings.
Hughes was going great guns with 11 fours and a six before he was caught by Pollard off Bravo.