The die has been cast and the stage set for what should be an exciting final encounter of the 2007 regional KFC Cup limited overs championship between defending champions Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica at the 3W’s Oval, Cave Hill Campus Barbados.
The defending champions earned their spot in the final without bowling a ball in their semi-final clash against the final four host nation Barbados as persistent overnight and early morning rain left certain areas of the 3W’s Oval unfit for play on Friday.
Jamaica booked their place in the final by defeating Guyana by seven wickets in the first semi-final played at the same venue the previous day.
The last time these two met in this competition in 2006, Trinidad triumphed by two wickets playing at Sabina Park.
In that encounter, Jamaica, under the captaincy of Wavell Hinds, were asked to take first strike and were bowled out for 223 in 48.4 overs with Hinds 63 and Tamar Lambert 58 being the only batsmen to past 20 as 19-year-old medium pacer Kieron Pollard bagged 4-32.
Trinidad in reply reached 225-8 from 44.5 overs due to some worthy contributions from Lendl Simmons 68 and Dinesh Ramdin 47 who posted 121 for the first wicket. They received support from brothers Daren and Sherwin Ganga who made 20 and 34 respectively.
West Indies middle order batsman Marlon Samuels took 4-45 and threatened to take the game away from Trinidad at one stage before Rayad Emrit and Dave Mohammed came together and posted 25 for the ninth wicket to see Trinidad home.
They then defeated Windward Islands by five runs in the final at the Arnos Vale ground, St. Vincent .
This time around, there is no Samuels or Hinds for Jamaica, but they do have a worthy player in Australia-born Brendon Nash who has been a thorn in every opponent’s side so far with his nagging medium pace which has brought him five wickets so far including 4-20 against Guyana.
Add the fiery West Indian fast bowlers Jerome Taylor and Daren Powell, medium-fast Shawn Findlay and left arm spinner Nikita Miller who is yet to come on in this years’ competition and the Trinidadian batsmen can look forward to a hard day at the office if they intend to post a good total.
This means that Pollard, Daren Ganga, Dwayne Bravo, Mario Belcon, Dinesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons and Andre Browne, who was drafted into the squad to replace the injured Magnum Nanan, will have to find a way to keep potent Jamaican attack at bay.
On the other hand, Trinidad’s bowling attack will be led by former West Indies fast bowler Merv Dillon, Ravi Rampaul, Reyad Emrit, Bravo and Pollard should be hard-pressed to contain a Jamaican batting led by Gayle and including Danza Hyatt, Brenton Parchment, Nash and the burly Tamar Lambert.
Amidst all of this is the weather which has been unpredictable for the past week here in Barbados and cricket fans will be hoping for some good weather as the stars who are expected to be on show have whet their apetites.
Teams: Jamaica from: Chris Gayle (Captain), Danza Hyatt, Shawn Findlay, Brendon Nash, Brenton Parchment, Tamar Lambert, Carlton Baugh, Nikita Miller, Darren Powell, Krishmar Santokie, Donovan Sinclair, Jerome Taylor, Xavier Marshall and Andrew Richardson.
Trinidad from: Darren Ganga (Captain), Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Mario Belcon, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Dinesh Ramdin, Samuel Badree, Sherwin Ganga, Rayad Emrit, Jason Mohammed, Amit Jaggernauth, Merv Dillon and Andre Browne.