Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair said West Indies Emerging Players had a feeling they would have won the Super50 Cup after a stroke of fortune saw them squeeze into the semi-finals.
They suffered a 10-wicket crushing at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in their final preliminary game to finish on 18 points which left them second in Group B but were expected to be overhauled by Guyana Jaguars, on 16 points, especially with last year’s losing finalists facing minnows United States in their final game.
But Jaguars suffered a stunning eight-run upset, leaving Emerging Players to finish second behind Group B winners Red Force.
“We were watching the game on a flatscreen back when the US and Guyana was playing so when US beat Guyana we were overjoyed and overwhelmed,” Sinclair said after Emerging Players pulled off an astonishing record 205-run victory over Leeward Islands Hurricanes in Sunday’s final to win the title.
“We knew we would have win this tournament because we come out and play good cricket. We just had to back we ability and keep doing what we [were] doing – nothing different, don’t change anything.
“We as a team, we [played better cricket] than the rest of teams. We rotate the strike better, we bowled in partnerships, we take wickets. Different little things that other teams didn’t do we stuck out and do, so I must say it was an all-round effort by the team.”
Emerging Players, hastily cobbled together just prior to the start of the tournament, opened their campaign with a defeat when Jaguars beat them off the last ball of the game by two wickets.
However, they went on a four-game winning streak to surge up the standings, before going winless in their last three matches, suffering two defeats and a no-result due to rain.
In the semi-final, they shed theri underdogs tag to upset Barbados Pride and book their spot in the final.
Sinclair, who picked up 13 wickets in the tournament including a destructive four-wicket haul in Sunday’s final, said the team had been full of self-belief right throughout.
“I really feel overjoyed. I must say thanks to the Almighty for being with us right through the tournament because there were moments when teams looked like they would have beat us and then we just stuck [it] out and something happened and we just pulled it over [the line],” he explained.
“I think the guys played good cricket right through – the fielding was on top, the bowling was really tight and the batting just had to keep going.”
Head coach Floyd Reifer, who oversaw the senior West Indies side this year, came in for praise from Sinclair.
“Floyd Reifer and the management team worked really hard with us in terms of the fielding and the all-round game and even the mental aspect of the game, so I must say it was all-round [good] tournament for me and the guys.”
EMERGING PLAYERS 293 for seven off 50 overs (Leonardo Julien 83, Dominic Drakes 38 not out, Yannic Cariah 34, Roland Cato 30, Kimani Melius 28, Kevin Sinclair 28; Sheno Berridge 2-59, Quinton Boatswain 2-59)
HURRICANES 88 off 26.5 overs (Amir Jangoo 20; Kevin Sinclair 4-20, Yannic Cariah 3-8)