This is the second time in the tournament that Steyn has bowled a costly penultimate over, with the first being against Chennai. The win means Mumbai Indians are through to the semi-finals. T&T’s qualification depends on Chennai Super Kings beating New South Wales by a small margin. The Super Kings can also qualify if they win by a sufficient margin, while any victory for NSW puts them through.
Steyn turned from hero to villain in the space of an hour and a half; he started the Cobras defence of 137 with a magnificent three-over spell of outswing bowling. He demonstrated real skill on a dead pitch consistently beat the outside edge and was rewarded in his second over when he got one to straighten and trap William Perkins lbw.
Steyn’s colleagues were not as effective from the other end: Charl Langeveldt and Rory Kleinveldt struggled with their accuracy. Kleinveldt bowled three no-balls in an extraordinary over that only cost six runs and included the wicket of Lendl Simmons. Langeveldt was better when he changed ends and used the slower ball to good effect.
Adrian Barath and Darren Bravo’s third-wicket partnership of 35 runs helped T&T recover from the loss of their openers. They rotated strike well, searched for the singles, and after Barath was dropped by Vilas behind the stumps he connected well to score two big boundaries.
Justin Kemp ensured that Barath could not continue attacking and hurled down a yorker to remove Barath’s leg stump. The next ball, Daren Ganga was back in the hut too, after inside-edging onto his stumps. Kemp did not complete a hat-trick but took his third wicket two overs later, removing Bravo, who had played a sensible knock until then.
T&T would have thought their last hopes lay with Denesh Ramdin, who survived the hat-trick ball, and played some deft strokes. Ramdin and Sherwin Ganga took 13 runs off JP Duminy’s second over and infused the chase with momentum. They were dismissed in the space of four balls, Ganga lbw to Langeveldt and Ramdin bowled by a flighted delivery from Robin Peterson.
It was left to Cooper to bat bravely and he did. His first six was a slog off Peterson and, after Rampaul steered Steyn to the third-man boundary, Cooper bludgeoned a high full toss over long-off, to leave T&T with only nine to get off the last six balls. In a final twist, Rampaul was dismissed with the first ball of the last over but Cooper smashed a low full toss for four and plucked the remaining runs with two balls to spare.
The Cobras would have felt their total was 10 runs short after a gritty batting effort, in which their strokeplay was constantly stifled. The T&T spinners troubled the Cobras batsmen from the start with Richard Levi at sea against Samuel Badree. He was bowled by Badree’s second delivery, after playing for turn that was not there. Herschelle Gibbs was also dismissed cheaply after a cautious start.
Owais Shah and Dane Vilas built an impressive recovery. Shah started with an authoritative flick and maintained a busy approach at the crease, even though he could have been dismissed twice by Badree. The legspinner had a confident appeal for lbw against Shah when he hit him on the pads with a full delivery but Billy Bowden turned it down. During Badree’s second spell, he beat Shah and the ball looked destined for middle and leg stump but Badree was turned down for the third time. Shah went on to anchor the Cobras innings and ground out a half-century.
Sherwin Ganga was the man both Vilas and Shah targeted; they took 38 runs from his three overs, peppering the midwicket area. Ganga’s offspin they could handle, but Sunil Narine proved almost impossible to read and both employed a watchful approach against him. His legbreak eventually got the better of Vilas, who top-edged to cover after a well crafted half-century.
Shah had to hang around until the end and, even after bringing up his fifty, batting did not get any easier for him. Boundaries were rare and run-scoring came in ones and twos, which had to be manufactured, rather than simply being there for the taking. JP Duminy also couldn’t find the boundary and was bowled by a Cooper cutter when he went looking for one.