Dwayne Bravo is the odd man out as four other Trinidad and Tobago top-flight cricketers will feature in this week’s four-team final phase of the Indian Premier League’s 20/20 seventh annual competition.
Bravo, withdrawn from the Chennai Super Kings after playing one match during which he sustained a shoulder injury, is currently in Barbados, sufficiently recovered and accepting a West Indies Cricket Board’s Selection panel invitation to be a part of the Windies squad preparing for a Test series against visiting New Zealand.
Spin bowler Samuel Badree is Bravo’s lone compatriot on the Chennai team which is into the final phase. Dwayne Smith of Barbados is the other West Indian with Chennai.
Another TT spinner Sunil Narine is with the Kolkata Knight Riders who have also qualified for the title-deciding phase and all-rounders Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard who played no small part in helping defending champions Mumbai Indians book a place in the top four, complete the TT quartet in the decisive round.
Yesterday in the last preliminary-round match of the eight-team competition, Pollard and Simmons had little impact but their Mumbai Indians stormed into the playoffs with a sensational five-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals whose team included another Trinidad and Tobago cricketer in Kevon Cooper.
Chasing 190 for victory but needing to reach their target off 88 deliveries, Mumbai stormed to 195 for five off the required overs, to clinch fourth place in the standings, pushing Royals into fifth.
It appeared as if the Royals had done enough scoring 189 for four after being sent in.
However, Mumbai came roaring back, mainly through New Zealander Corey Anderson who blasted 95 not out from 44 balls, to see the hosts over the line.
Opener Simmons came out swinging, cracking three fours – all in the first over from Australia seamer James Faulkner – in his 12 from eight deliveries before he was out caught in the second over.
Sent at number four, Pollard lofted Cooper over long on for six but then scooped the next delivery from the seamer to Brad Hodge at square leg, to fall for seven in the fifth over.
However, Ambati Rayudu with 30 from ten balls, joined Anderson in an 81-run stand off 31 deliveries, to ensure Mumbai did not lose momentum.
Mumbai will now face Dwayne Smith and the Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday, with Sunil Narine’s Kolkata Knight Riders squaring off with Kings XI Punjab in the first playoff game tomorrow.