Pacing himself: T&T fast bowler Shannon Gabriel works up some pace during yesterday's training session at Kensington Oval ahead of the team's Regional Super50 semi-final against Combined Campuses & Colleges at Kensington Oval this afternoon. —Photo courtesy WICB Media

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POINT TO PROVE

T&T look for spot in super 50 final

By Kern De Freitas

Trinidad and Tobago’s senior cricketers want more than just victory when they face Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) today in the first Regional Super50 semi-final at Kensington Oval in Barbados from 2.30 p.m.
For manager Omar Khan, it’s a matter of redemption, after back-to-back batting collapses saw T&T crash to three-day and two-day defeats against Jamaica and Barbados respectively in recent weeks in Regional Four-Day action.
T&T’s highest score was 192 in those four innings, and none of the other three attempts crossed 130 runs. According to Khan, T&T have a point to prove.
“[The players] want to bounce back and show ‘yes we can still play very good cricket’,” he told the Express yesterday. “It’s an opportunity for the guys to come out and show (what they can do). When you start to win it builds your confidence, and (that confidence) rubs off on one another.
“We are hoping victory [today] will (serve us well going forward).”
Yesterday the team had an “intense training session” at the match venue, Khan said, and they were due to meet in the evening for strategy sessions before facing the “Students”.
Victory won’t be enough to please Khan. He wants to see the team--which had a perfect record in their six preliminary round matches-- play “simple” cricket and get the basics right.
“You have to go about it in a very organised manner. It’s all about intelligence. The guys have been very confident in the 50-over (format) because of their success. We know CCC well, we have played against them,” he stated, adding that: “…You can’t take anything for granted.”
Almost four weeks ago at Queen’s Park Oval, T&T whipped CCC by eight wickets after bowling out the visitors for a paltry 97. This time around, Khan expects a stiffer challenge from a side that has upset T&T in the past in both the four-day and 50-over versions.
“It’s a challenge,” Khan said of the CCC defiance. “I think the guys will lift themselves to the challenge. We’d love to have more competitive matches, and at the end of the day it’s their personal reputation and Trinidad and Tobago’s (reputation) at stake.”
Asked where else T&T needs to improve, Khan pointed out the openers’ indifferent form.
“I’d like to see the openers giving us a good start,” the former West Indies manager stressed. (Lendl) Simmons and Adrian Barath have been very inconsistent throughout the season and we want them to be more consistent. The bowling has been doing good, but we want to see more consistency in terms of the bowlers sticking to their plan (as well).”
And while he wants to see more from the senior players, Khan is pleased with the attitude of the new players, and singled out pacer Marlon Richards, all-rounder Akeal Hosein and wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran for their energy and commitment.
“They all have exceptional attitude, and it augurs well for Trinidad cricket,” he said.
Although T&T have stood out in T20s, Khan is hoping the form extends to the other regional tournaments so T&T can end their four-day and 50-over title droughts.
“It’s very important. It’s something we have been working toward,” he said. “We aimed to win the T20 and the 50-over (tournaments) and reach the final of the four-day competition. We are in line to win all three titles. We want to take it step by step.”
The other teams in the Regional Super50 semis, Jamaica and Windward Islands, clash in tomorrow's match, also from 2.30 p.m. in Barbados, the same starting time as Sunday's final.

SQUADS:
Trinidad & Tobago
Denesh Ramdin (Captain/wicket-keeper), Adrian Barath, Rayad Emrit, Shannon Gabriel, Sherwin Ganga, Justin Guillen, Akeal Hosein, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Khesan Yannick Ottley, Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Marlon Richards, Lendl Simmons; David Williams (coach), Omar Khan (manager), Ronald Rogers (trainer).

Combined Campuses & Colleges
Kyle Corbin (Captain), Nicholas Alexis, Anthony Alleyne, Ryan Austin, Marques Clarke, Akeem Dewar, Kevin McClean, Nekoli Parris, Floyd Reifer, Raymon Reifer, Shacaya Thomas, Chadwick Walton (wicketkeeper), Kesrick Williams; Floyd Reifer (coach).
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