Sherwin Ganga sizzled with a late blitzkrieg as Trinidad and Tobago defeated debutants Ruhunu Eleven by five wickets, in a low-scoring inaugural Champions League Twenty20 qualifier clash in Hyderabad, on Monday.
Ganga (39 not out) smashed two sixes and a four as T & T collected 21 runs from the penultimate over and chased down the target of 139 with seven balls to spare after their top-order batsmen, except for Darren Bravo, failed to contribute substantially.
Bravo contributed a 49-ball 44 not out and shared 53 runs in just 26 balls for the unfinished sixth wicket stand to see Trinidad opened their campaign on a winning note at the Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium.
Trinidad struggled in their run chase initially with three key wickets falling inside the first six overs before Bravo and Ganga took over.
While Bravo played cautiously, his partner Ganga had other ideas in mind as he clobbered Ruhunu bowlers all over the park. His 15-ball unbeaten 39 had four fours and two sixes.
Requiring 19 off last two overs, Ganga hoisted spinner Arosh Janoda for two sixes and a four to settle the issue in his team's favour.
After the early loss of Lendl Simmons, Adrian Barath and Daren Ganga, Bravo and Denesh Ramdin (18) added 28 runs for the fourth wicket to put their side back on track. Bravo then added another crucial 25 runs for the fifth wicket with Jason Mohammad (17) to give the perfect platform for Ganga's final flourish.
For Ruhunu, Janaka Gunaratne grabbed two wickets while Sanath Jayasuriya, Janoda and Perera took one wicket each.
Earlier, electing to bat, Dinesh Chandimal rescued Ruhunu from a precarious situation to help his team post a modest 138 all out with a patient 50.
Ruhunu were done in by five run outs, as lack of discretion on their part towards the end, undid Chandimal's good work. Chandimal revived the team after a top-order collapse which saw them tottering at 26 for three.
Chandimal struck two fours and sixes each, in his 48-ball stay, and was ably supported by Janaka Gunaratne (20) as the duo put on 67 for the fourth wicket.
But the Sri Lankan domestic side's lack of international experience came to fore as five of their batsmen ran themselves out. From 132 for six, they slumped to 138 all out.
Ruhunu captain Mahela Udawatte's decision to bat after winning the toss on a green-top backfired, as they lost three wickets, including Jayasuriya, inside the fourth over.
While Jayasuriya was trapped by Badree, Udawatte ran himself out as Adrian Barath's quick throw found him well short of the crease.
Their miseries were further compounded when Milinda Siriwardana (1) took off for a non-existent single, resulting in another run-out.
Chandimal and Gunaratne then played cautiously while keeping the scoreboard tickling, with occasional boundaries.
However, as they were settling into a nice position, Gunaratne was bowled by Kevon Cooper, and Chandimal was caught by Rampaul off his own bowling.
After the fall of both the batsmen, Ruhunu's lower-order failed to put up any resistance.
For Trinidad, Rampaul was the most successful bowler picking up two wickets for 17 runs.