Trinidad and Tobago will get their last chance for a competitive outing against Windward Islands from 7 p.m. tonight at UTT's O'Meara campus, before their Caribbean T20 campaign begins Sunday.
T&T will face Jamaica in the opener at Queen's Park Oval from 8 p.m., and coach David Williams is looking for that boost of confidence that comes from winning for the team to take into its crucial first match.
T&T will be therefore keen to beat Darren Sammy's side, who along with Barbados were expected to arrive in T&T last night.
The Barbadians also have practice matches scheduled ahead of the tournament, as they take on a Trinidad 'B' team today from 11 a.m. at National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Balmain, Couva. Barbados and Windward Islands will then face off at UTT, O'Meara from 2 p.m. tomorrow, while T&T go into a pre-tournament camp.
Williams told the Express yesterday that the Windwards clash will be a good indicator as to where his team is at now.
"This is the last opportunity for us to find out exactly where we are," Williams explained. "We haven't had as much outdoor matches as we would have liked, so it's a good opportunity against good opposition to feel ourselves out where we are.
"We want to give a good account for us to get that confidence going ahead of the tournament."
The former West Indies wicketkeeper is banking on the experience in his team, and his squad is boosted with the news that pacer Ravi Rampaul and all-rounder Kevon Cooper have both been passed fit for the series. That big match experience and the crowd support, he is hoping, will contribute to another good tournament for T&T.
"Once we have everybody fit on the park, we always have a very strong side; even the bench is very strong. We will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. It is just a matter of executing (our plans)," Williams said.
The T&T coach is not complaining about the weather either. He acknowledged the team did not get in as many practice matches as they wanted, but after lengthy preparations for last October's Champions League outing, Williams said it is just a matter of making sure everyone is healthy. "We have one or two niggling injuries we're dealing with at the moment," Williams revealed. "Once we get over those, and we're a few days away from first game, then we'll finalise the final XI. Any XI we put on the park we know will represent Trinidad and Tobago well."
So what is Williams' target for tonight's encounter with the Windwards?
"In T20 cricket you want an all-round performance," he stressed. "You just don't want to bat well and then bowl and field badly. That will give you the confidence you're looking for. It's important for us to perform in all three areas."