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T&T looks to make it eleven
Already the most successful limited overs team in regional cricket, T&T does not intend to leave it there, as it goes for title number 11 in front of what is expected to be a sea of red when it battles Barbados in the final of the Nagico Super50 Regional cricket tournament today at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain. The T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) has designated today “Red Day” as a show of support to the Red Force which goes into action at 2 pm. President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath said yesterday, “Fans across the twin island republic are asked to wear red as the Dwayne Bravo led T&T Red Force team bids for another regional title. “The Red Force has been the dominant cricket team in the T20 format but tomorrow’s (today) final is a chance for us to start a new streak of domination in the 50 overs with a victory in the Nagico Super 50 final. We are asking all of T&T to wear red in support whether at the game, home or in the office.”
Yesterday, a number of sports stores reported that they were out of red jerseys as fans were snapping them up and it was not for the Valentine’s Day occasion. Meanwhile, national captain Dwayne Bravo says that T&T will not start as favourites because the two teams are evenly matched but it promises to be a great game. “We are not favourites. We are the two best teams in the tournament thus far and that is why we are in the final. Some people may think that we will win but we respect the Bajan team. “Our strength is our allround ability, seam bowling and spin is our strength and our team can adjust to any conditions. Our top six batsmen have international experience and this is expected to work for us. Probably we are ahead in the batting but both teams equally good in the bowling. “Who does well under the pressure in front of a packed house will take the title. It will be a great game as it is hard to separate either team. The T&T team strives on these kinds of moments. We want to do something great for our country. We enjoy playing together and we enjoy playing for T&T.” Bravo’s opposite number, Kevin Stoute says that the Barbadians will be playing basic cricket and will be looking to keep cool under pressure. “The boys are keen and ready to go as they have been preparing really hard for this tournament. The key to winning this game is keeping calm and handling the pressure.”
With the Queen’s Park Oval sold out for this match Stoute says it does not matter to his team. “We can’t focus on the crowd. It’s just 14 of us and we have to fight for our island. We have to create our own atmosphere and battle well in order to succeed.” Barbados defeated T&T in the opening match of the tournament but Stoute admits the T&T boys are playing better now. “They have more ammunition now with Sunil Narine playing but we intend to just go out and there and play basic cricket and do the small things right. “Fidel Edwards, Sulieman Benn and Dwayne Smith are key for us and we will be banking on them. Fidel, he has been doing well throughout the tournament and we need him to come good again.” Edwards grabbed 4/19 in the semi-final win over Guyana on Friday night. Stoute said, “Guys like Benn, Smith and Fidel really wants this badly so we need just one more big effort and we will be there.”
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).
BARBADOS: Kevin Stoute (captain), Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Rashidi Boucher, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich (wicket-keeper), Fidel Edwards, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Dwayne Smith, Kenroy Williams; Hendy Springer (coach).
Umpires: Lennox Abraham, Nigel Duguid
TV umpire: Patrick Gustard
Fourth official: Leslie Reifer
Match referee: Hayden Bruce