Their positive start to the tournament on Saturday behind them, the Red Steel management hope their charges can keep their good habits against the Guyana Amazon Warriors in their second match in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League on Thursday.
The Red Steel, who lost their opening three matches of the inaugural tournament last year, reversed the trend in Grenada on Saturday when they beat the Barbados Tridents by seven wickets.
It was the victory captain Dwayne Bravo was looking for, with his side on the road for their first three matches of the campaign. And Bravo is keen for his players to keep the discipline they showed against the Tridents with ball and bat.
“I keep stressing with my group that the middle overs are where we are going to win the game,” he told the media. “That’s the most important part of the game, not the first six or the last five; the middle overs are the most important.”
On Saturday, the Tridents innings fell away after openers Dwayne Smith and Shane Dowrich had posted 40 at the end of the sixth and final powerplay over. The Red Steel kept applying the pressure thereafter. And despite losing two early wickets in chasing 125 for victory, Ross Taylor and Darren Bravo half-centuries ensured the Red Steel’s grip on the match was not relinquished.
“We always stress that one out of the top four batters bat through the overs.. At half time, it was a great team effort and Ross Taylor’s innings and Darren Bravo’s innings, they were the two guys that actually got us over the line,” Bravo said.
New coach, Australian Simon Helmot was also pleased with his team’s display. “I thought it was a very clinical performance,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure out there in all overs.
It was difficult to score
at times but it just showed the value of partnerships and to have a 95-run partnership between Ross Taylor and Darren Bravo certainly enabled us to win, probably to get it (the runs) more easily than what it really was.”
Helmot added: “It’s one thing to train, but the other thing is to put it out on the field. I was very proud of our group.”
And Bravo also identified an area that his side will be hoping to exploit against other teams in the LCPL going forward. “It’s Twenty20 cricket, it’s the shorter form of the game, but players get carried away,” he said. “They forget about singles, they forget about rotation of the strike and just look for the boundaries.
“The natural style of West Indian players, we know they are all boundary hitters, so as long as you apply pressure on players, eventually they are gonna give in.”