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Khan: T&T can get better

By Roger Seepersad

THE best is yet to come.

That is the view of Trinidad and Tobago manager Omar Khan who is looking for even better performance from the defending Caribbean Twenty20 champions when they tackle the Windward Islands in their first match of the St Lucia leg of the tournament at Beausejour Cricket Ground, Gros Islet today.

T&T topped the CT20 standings with 13 points from four matches with three consecutive wins when the first week of the series concluded at Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain on Saturday night.

T&T completed their campaign at home with an 80-run demolition of 2010 champions Guyana on the same pitch that all of the other teams found difficult to negotiate.

The defending champions however proved that they were really a cut above the rest as they piled up 191 for four against Guyana which is the highest score of the tournament so far.

And the manager expects T&T to play with the same amount of urgency in St Lucia.

"The pitches in St Lucia...we expect that it will come on a bit more, it will be a little bit faster and we expect that our batsmen will score more runs there," Khan said.

"We do expect better performances in St Lucia. We want to maintain this momentum. We want to improve on areas and keep maintaining that standard of play," he added.

But the Windward Islands, led by West Indies skipper Darren Sammy will not be pushovers.

They are one of just two teams who could boast of having beaten T&T in CT20 cricket and that alone will ensure the defending champions bring their A-game tonight.

Sammy's men are third on the standings with eight points from three matches and they will need a win tonight to put some distance between themselves and Barbados and Guyana who are also on eight points.

The Windward Islands batting has also struggled to put up big totals with their highest score being 129 for seven against the Combined Campuses and Colleges. With the kind of form the T&T batsmen are currently in, they will have to do a lot better to challenge the defending champions.

Darren Bravo scored his second half century of the tournament against Guyana--82 not out--to lead the batting charts with 164 runs heading to St Lucia, while Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, William Perkins and Dwayne Bravo are all capable of clearing the ropes when needed.

Dwayne Bravo and Simmons are fourth and fifth respectively on list of top batsmen with 88 runs each, while Guyana's Shivnarine Chanderpaul is third with 113 runs and Combined Campuses and Colleges wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton is second with 131.

T&T will be without all-rounder Kevon Cooper for today's clash but Khan expects the other players to step up and fill the void.

He said there will be no replacement for Cooper, who left the Caribbean yesterday to link up with the Chittagong Kings for the second season of the Bangladesh Premier League.

"We have players who can step up and fill the void," Khan insisted.

Looking back on their performance against Guyana, the manager said: "With the type of batting we had, we knew that once we stayed there and batted sensibly, we would get a good score.

"The calibre of batsmen we have...young Darren Bravo is a world class batsman...he demonstrated that again and everyone knows what Pollard is capable of," said the T&T manager.

He noted that they were originally looking to get 160 to 170 against Guyana.

"Taking into consideration what happened in the previous games with teams struggling to make runs. We were thinking 140 or 150 would be a good score but of course we are a different team and we demonstrated that," Khan said.

Today's CT20 fixtures At Beausejour Cricket Ground, St Lucia Guyana vs Jamaica, 4 p.m. Windwards vs T&T, 8 p.m.

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