NARINE TAKES A KNOCK: Trinidad and Tobago off-spinner Sunil Narine takes a knock in the nets during the national team’s training session at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain, yesterday. T&T face Jamaica in a NAGICO Super50 semi-final fixture at the Oval, from two p.m. today.
—Photo: ANISTO ALVES
Coach Williams says T&T ready for semi-final duel
Roger Seepersad firstname.lastname@example.org
Trinidad and Tobago coach Kelvin Williams is expecting a tough battle against Jamaica in today’s NAGICO Super50 semi-final at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain from two p.m., but is confident his players can pull off the win after fighting hard to reach the knockout stage.
Both teams have a lot of respect for each other but go into the semi on the back of contrasting performances.
The Jamaicans strolled out on top of Zone A with three wins in three games including some high-scoring matches against dethroned champions Windward Islands and Guyana. They also beat Ireland in Zone A.
T&T had to bounce back from an opening round loss to Barbados to qualify as the second-placed team in Zone B having won two low-scoring matches against the Leeward Islands and the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC). Barbados qualified at the top of Zone A and will face Guyana in tomorrow’s semi-final.
Despite what their respective records show, both the Jamaican coach Junior Bennett and T&T coach Williams expect today’s match to be intense.
Williams said his charges are in good spirits following their win over the CCC, and believes his team is beginning to peak at the right time.
“We normally have a good bowling unit but the batting falls short at times. But the way we executed against CCC, although it was a small target, tells me things are getting back on track. It was pleasing to see the batsmen go out there and attack the bowling the way they did.
“Jamaica is a good side. They are 3-0 up and they played some fantastic cricket but we need to beat them to move forward. There are some interesting players there,” Williams noted, making special mention of centurion Nkrumah Bonner.
“We are looking forward to a competitive game against them and the way we are playing I think we started to peak at the right time.”
Asked about T&T’s batting after they lost five wickets in chasing 140 against the Leewards and then three wickets in their chase of 98 against the CCC, skipper Dwayne Bravo said they were not too concerned.
“We have good enough batsmen on the team. Tomorrow (today) is a whole new game, new situation. We look forward to the challenge. It could possibly be another low-scoring game but I think who holds their nerves better will win the game,” the T&T skipper added.
Bennett and Jamaica wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh are both expecting a tough time against the hosts.
“We are expecting a very competitive match,” said Bennett.
“It is two quality teams and we are just looking to go out there and play some good consistent cricket. It (T&T) has a good attack. They have a good all-round team so we just have to treat it that way. They are a good quality team and this is a semi-final so it is going to be a high-intensity game,” the Jamaican coach added.
Baugh said T&T are a dangerous team at home.
“It is a very big occasion. Trinidad over the years have always been a good team especially when they have the home advantage, but nonetheless we are playing good cricket and trying to play our best game yet.”
T&T: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Adrian Barath, Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Jason Mohammed, Denesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper), Rayad Emrit, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Imran Khan, Yannick Ottley, Shannon Gabriel, Kevon Cooper; Kelvin Williams (coach), Manohar Ramsaran (manager)
Jamaica: David Bernard Jr (captain), Nikita Miller (vice captain), Andre Russell, Carlton Baugh Jr (wicket-keeper), Tamar Lambert, Andrew Richardson, Horace Miller, John Campbell, Jermaine Blackwood, Andre McCarthy, Sheldon Cottrell, Jerome Taylor, Nkrumah Bonner, Kenar Lewis; Junior Bennett (coach)