BIG SHOT: Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Dwayne Bravo whips this ball off his legs for six during his 27-ball innings of 30 in Sunday night's opening match of the Caribbean T20 tournament at Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain. The match was abandoned after being interrupted by rain, with Jamaica four without loss in the second over, chasing 129 for victory. –Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

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POLLARD BOOST

T&T banking on all-rounder after middle order slump

By Roger Seepersad

Trinidad and Tobago manager Omar Khan is expecting a better batting performance from his players when they face the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) in their second Caribbean Twenty20 match at Queen's Park Oval from 8 p.m. tonight.

And with Kieron Pollard joining the team after his stint in the Australian Big Bash, the hosts will be hoping to post a lot more than the 128 for nine they managed in Sunday night's washed-out opening match against Jamaica.

"It will be a massive boost," said Khan.

"Pollard is a quality player…he will motivate the players and will be a boost for the guys. You will see more energy from the players with him around," the manager added.

But coach David Williams does not want to put too much pressure on the all-rounder.

"Having Pollard in the team will be a threat to any opposition, but we play one game at a time. We are not going to do anything too spectacular, just let him go out there and play his game," said Williams.

Khan said the ball was not coming on as the batsmen expected on Sunday, but having seen how the pitch played, he is confident they will make the adjustment and come out stronger against CCC.

Williams insisted the team knew they were short of runs, but as all teams do, they backed themselves to defend the total and come out with a win.

"It was looking like a tight finish in the making. We felt it would go down to the wire, but we were confident of winning," added the former T&T and West Indies wicket-keeper. Looking ahead, both Khan and Williams expect to see improvement from the T&T team when they face CCC tonight.

The T&T coach believes T&T will be a little better prepared after seeing how the pitch actually played against Jamaica on Sunday.

A lot was expected from T&T in the T20 opener and a huge crowd, estimated at over 15,000 turned out to spur them.

But the capacity crowd went home disappointed after rain forced the match to be abandoned, robbing the local fans of what both teams expected to be a close contest.

Rain started just after 10 p.m. and the match was finally called off around 11:30 p.m.

T&T put on just 128 for nine off their 20 overs—a total way below what the two-time defending champions would have wanted. Jamaica were five without loss after 1.2 overs when the players went off the field.

After winning the toss T&T had a fair start, scoring 38 for the loss of one wicket in the six-over power play.

Opener William Perkins sent the crowd into a frenzy when he smacked left-arm pacer Krishmar Santokie straight back overhead for the first boundary of the match coming off the fourth ball in the innings. That was not a sign of things to come.

T&T were 80 for three after 14 overs and needed to accelerate, but their batsmen struggled to clear the ropes in final six overs.

Dwayne Bravo nudged the ball around and also picked up two boundaries in his 30 off 27 balls to stabilise the innings once T&T had slipped to 39 for three in seven overs.

Bravo and skipper/wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin (19 off 24 balls) put on 48 for the fourth wicket, but both departed in the space of four deliveries.

Sunil Narine's nine-ball 16, including a glance to fine leg for four and six over mid-wicket off Sheldon Cotterrell, made T&T's score more respectable before he was bowled by Santokie while attempting a reverse sweep.

Although the rain ruined the match, Jamaica coach Junior Bennett was pleased with the performance of his players.

"Chasing a score of six-and-a-half per over was ideal for us. We knew we didn't have to take any undue risks when we batted, so we could pace our innings. We didn't come away with a victory, but this match was a good start for us," he said as they look forward to their next match against Barbados today from 4 p.m.

Today's CT20 Fixtures:

(At Queen's Park Oval)

Jamaica vs Barbados, 4 p.m.

T&T vs Combined Campuses and Colleges, 8 p.m.

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