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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Evin Lewis and KL Rahul make fast centuries ~ West Indies laughs at Florida

This left-hander replaced Chris Gayle and perhaps outsmarted him… .. .. Do you what brackets : Wayne Parnell, Izatullah Dawlatzai and Stuart Binny together ? Today, everyone knows – Stuart Broad stands at top having conceded 36 runs in a single over in T20 and after him these three : Stuart Binny joining the list having been mauled by E Lewis at Lauderhill, Florida.

In the end whose ton was better ?

Cricket attracts crowds ~ that is what this experimentation in Florida is all about. Making Cricket famous in US with large Indian crowds turning up there today.  Back home, Chepauk, which was deprived of International matches by many schemes [no World Cup ~ then no IPL too for the past two years !!] bustled with activity.  There were so many walking on roads nearer the stadium, buying tickets. The inaugural India Cements Tamil Nadu Premier League had a grand launch with the  cream of Kollywood participating in the opening ceremony.  It was Kollywood glamour of Shriya Saran,  Dhansika of Kabali with fireworks too added to the festive atmosphere.

Bharata Natyam, Tamil folk art and traditional Kerala dances too were performed by experts and children to mark the landmark event. Singer Karthik  sang  while actor Dhanush unveiled the trophy  with TNCA president N Srinivasan PS Raman, chairman of the league.  Dhoni had earlier been there.  The popular stands were filling with so many people.  The colourful stadium, facilities and the music and dance during breaks made the TNPL resemble IPL. It is good for the young players of the State though BCCI had designed to keep everyone out by rules and also conducting Duleep trophy at the same time.

At Florida today,  big disappointment to the crowd was Chris Gayle missing from the West Indies line-up because of injury. His replacement at the top of the order, Andre Fletcher, also the wicketkeeper, was expected to be in immediate action  - but Charles walked in with Evin Lewis.  Lewis debuted at Vidarbha Cricket Association, Jamtha, Nagpur in T20 no. 552 on 27th Mar 2016 – it was a double disaster.  He scratched for 7 balls without opening his account – out for a duck against Afganistan, who beat West Indies by 6 runs. 

India unveiled a bit of a surprise at the top of the order, with Shikhar Dhawan making way for KL Rahul, MS Dhoni won the toss and put WI in. Fletcher filled the void left by the sacked Denesh Ramdin. Kieron Pollard took Darren Sammy's place. Sunil Narine, back with a cleared action, replaced Sulieman Benn in the XI that West Indies played in their previous T20I. This was Carlos Brathwaite's captaincy debut.  WI made record breaking 245 /6 behind Australia’s 248 and Sri Lankans 260/6 the highest in this format. Evin Lewis made a classic 100 off 49 balls; shared 126 opening partnership with Johnson Charles who made 79 off mere 39 balls.

At break – a chase of 246 seemed improbable – and it went by the wire to the last ball !!

Indian chase was great in that 489 runs match. Debutant KL Rahul was brilliant – making century off 46 –missing the World record by a solitary delivery and remaining unbeaten 110 0ff 51 balls. We have many a times seen Dhoni making that finish.  Today too, he smashed a 108M six of Russel…. .. ..but in the end,  Dwayne Bravo outfoxed MS Dhoni and the centurion Rahul by defending seven runs in the last over. India needed two off the last ball, Bravo made Dhoni wait and wait before bowling a slower ball that was caught at short third man.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Aug 2016.

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