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Page last updated at 00:37 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Middlesex denied in Champions Cup

Stanford Super Series, Antigua: Trinidad & Tobago 122-5 (19.2 ovs) bt Middlesex 117-8 (20 ovs) by five wickets
By Jamie Lillywhite

Darren Bravo
Bravo wheels away with a souvenir after his six seals victory for T&T

Trinidad & Tobago claimed the $280,000 Champions Cup in the Stanford Series, beating Middlesex by five wickets.

Middlesex started slowly, and at the halfway point of the innings were 40-4.

Eoin Morgan made 30 and Neil Dexter hit two fours and three sixes in 39 from 25 balls as 37 came from the final three overs and Middlesex mustered 117-8.

Middlesex had their opponents at 50-4 after 11 overs, but three catches went down, Denesh Ramdin hit 41 and a Darren Bravo six won it with four balls left.

The victory may not have earned the $20m for which England and Stanford Superstars compete on Saturday, but it was still worth rather more than an early season match at Southgate would bring in.

Following the recent calamities for sterling it is thought T&T collected around 180,000 and Middlesex captain Shaun Udal said: "It is a disappointment, we wanted to be the first winners of the Stanford Champions Cup.

"In effect we were playing for our country as well, so it hurts. Every time we lose it hurts but particularly when we don't think we've done ourselves justice. That is eating away at us really."

I have not known a ground where the visibility is as bad

Middlesex captain Shaun Udal
And Udal admitted he had concerns over the poor visibility ahead of Saturday's match between England and the Stanford Superstars.

"I am not going to blame people at all, nobody wants to drop a catch and there are very difficult catching conditions out there," said Udal.

"It is an aspect that brings Saturday into even more focus with the chance of a US$20m catch going up in the air.

"There is a genuine chance it could be dropped. Nobody meant to drop them but we dropped two or three last night and unfortunately they happened to be crucial for us and the guys involved.

"I have not known a ground where the visibility is as bad. Once the ball has gone above the lights you are just watching an area to see where it comes out of and you have to adjust accordingly."

Middlesex chose to bat and although it was the spinners who exerted the pressure, West Indies seamer Ravi Rampaul picked up the early wickets with some lively pace and bounce.

Neil Carter, the controversial loan signing for Middlesex's Twenty20 campaigns this winter, failed again with the bat, deceived by the extra lift from Rampaul and edging to the keeper backing away attempting to force through the off-side.

Ed Joyce also only made a single, fishing at one outside off-stump from Rampaul.

Darren Ganga
Middlesex had been in control when Darren Ganga was stumped to make it 49-4

Andrew Strauss was clearly conscious of the overs ticking by and succumbed to a pre-meditated charge down the wicket at Sherwin Ganga, younger brother of the captain, Darren.

Sherwin Ganga fired the ball in wide of off-stump and Strauss was way out of his ground.

Tyron Henderson returned to the Middlesex team after injury but his renowned big hitting was restricted to one brutal swipe for four before another flat, quicker ball from Sherwin Ganga surprised him and uprooted the off-stump.

Catching was the main talking point of Sunday's match with England, and was to prove decisive in this game, but only two high chances were offered in the Middlesex innings, William Perkins never looking likely to take the first one as Dawid Malan's lofted stroke slipped straight through his hands.

The talented Malan made only three, however, before he flicked straight into the midriff of backward square-leg.

But it was Dexter who gave the innings some impetus and some bold strokeplay worked for him, his first six a sweetly timed shot straight down the ground that bounced on the top of the large grandstand roof.

Amit Jaggernauth took a catch in the deep when Dexter launched another big hit, but his momentum carried him over the rope.

Dexter hit 10 off the first three balls of Rampaul's final over, but the big seamer struck twice in two balls, finishing with 4-25 that was to earn him the man-of-the-match award.

Shaun Udal suffered a golden duck in addition to his tweaked hamstring in the warm-up.

We knew how huge it would be to defeat teams like Middlesex and even England

Trinidad captain Daren Ganga
The first over of the match was bowled by leg-spinner Samuel Badree but Udal opted for a seam attack, and found immediate success.

Perkins drove the third ball straight back at Tim Murtagh and Carter's first delivery swung up to trap Lendl Simmons.

Udal brought himself and fellow spinner Murali Karthik into the attack with 94 needed from 84 balls but the Ganga brothers calmly brought their side back into contention with a stand of 45.

Leg-spinner Malan was brought into the attack to try to break the partnership and did so with his very first ball, Sherwin Ganga hoisting straight to the mid-wicket boundary where Murtagh judged the catch expertly in his midriff.

In the same over, Malan produced a delivery of Shane Warne proportions, drifting and spinning sharply to lure the captain out of his ground, and Ben Scott whipped off the bails.

Bravo, younger brother of injured West Indies all-rounder Dwayne, had made six when Joyce spilled a chance that went straight to him at long-on. 45 runs were needed from the final 30 balls.

Middlesex spurned another catch, this time lower and closer to the wicket, as Carter fumbled at backward point, Karthik again the unlucky, and incensed, bowler.

Two balls later and Carter was hit for six, a startled Morgan fumbling the opportunity on the boundary, and as the pressure intensified, Carter was no-balled for a high full toss that was expertly cut away for six more by Ramdin.

Although Ramdin was stumped in the penultimate over by the alert Scott when his back foot hovered inches above the ground, the damage had been done for Middlesex, and Bravo thumped the winning hit high over long-on.

"Our planning has been spot on," said Trinidad captain Daren Ganga. "I would say immaculate. People might have questioned the changes we made but it has all come to fruition.

"It is a young team and we had everything to play for coming into this game. We relished the opportunity to compete against teams outside the region.

"We knew how huge it would be to defeat teams like Middlesex and even England. We came switched on and we were able to pull through this victory."

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see also
England see off Middlesex threat
27 Oct 08 |  England
Antigua lights concern Pietersen
27 Oct 08 |  England
Middlesex ready to punch weight
24 Oct 08 |  Middlesex
Big-hitters bonanza
23 Oct 08 |  Middlesex
Stanford Super Series fixtures
26 Oct 08 |  Cricket


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