The Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel are still confident of reaching the Limacol Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 final despite having to take the longer route. Their recent losses against the last placed team Antigua Hawksbills and table-toppers Barbados Tridents means that the Dwayne Bravo led-T&T franchise will have to face the Jamaica Tallawahs in the first semi-final at Warner Park in St Kitts today.
If they get past the Tallawahs, they will then have to beat the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the second semi-final tomorrow at the same venue to secure their place in Saturday’s final. Red Steel coach Simon Helmot is confident his team can bounce back and from their recent defeats and rediscover the form which saw them lead the standings in the latter stages of the group phase of the competition.
“We are not going into this game in great form, but we are a good team...well led by Dwayne Bravo and I am confident we will demonstrate the type of form and attacking cricket we showed earlier in the tournament,” Helmot said yesterday.
The coach also believes the Red Steel have two of the most exciting upcoming cricketers in the tournament who will be key in their quest to reach the final. “The CPL has been a great thing for cricket in the Caribbean and stands up against any of the other T20 competitions in the world, and we have two of its most exciting cricketers in Nicholas Pooran and Evin Lewis so we will be looking to do well and reach the final,” Helmot added.
Chris Gayle is also relishing the opportunity to face Bravo again in the competition. Gayle feels that the chance to go up against his friend Bravo will be all the incentive he needs to play himself back into form and help his team beat the Red Steel.
He said “I actually blame (Dwayne) Bravo for us being in this position in the first place by losing to the Hawksbills at the weekend and I always regain my form when I face him, so I am looking forward to the challenge of playing the Red Steel. We have the quality to get the job done and I back my team to get the results and come out on top.”
Jamaica Tallawahs coach Mickey Arthur believes his team have had their share of hiccups and that the semis will be very tight after the top four teams all qualified with identical records.
“In a tournament this long, you are always going to have a couple of hiccups along the way and we have had ours in the later stages, which is not ideal as it can affect confidence levels going forward,” said Arthur.
Waiting for today’s winners will be the Amazon Warriors. The Warriors coach Roger Harper said it did not matter who they face tomorrow. “I do not mind which team we play-- we are concentrating on playing the best cricket we can each day in our practice sessions and ensuring we are preparing well for the matches.
‘’The quality of the cricket this year in the CPL has been very good and we are seeing real development from young players across the region which bodes well for the future of West Indies cricket.”
T&T Red Steel: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Kevon Cooper, Fidel Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Delorn Johnson, Kennar Lewis, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Nasir Jamshed, Kevin O’Brien, Nicholas Pooran, Javon Searles, Ross Taylor.
Jamaica Tallawahs: Chris Gayle (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlton Baugh, David Bernard, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Odean Brown, Nikita Miller, Andrew Richardson, Andre Russell, Owais Shah, Jerome Taylor, Rusty Theron, Daniel Vettori, Adam Voges, Chadwick Walton.