PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago will be looking to go one better this year when they clash with perennial archrivals Barbados in one of two semi-finals in the Regional Four-Day Championship starting at Queen’s Park Oval here today.
The home side stumbled at the semi-final stage last year when they lost to Jamaica in controversial circumstances but will hope for better luck this time around, especially against the Barbadians against whom they have had success in recent years.
Coach Kelvin Williams said the confidence in his unit was high, especially coming off their final round match against Leeward Islands when they pulled off a crushing nine-wicket win inside two days last week.
“We are confident, especially after destroying the Leewards in the last match, and we are looking to carry over this momentum against the Bajans. We are looking to play at all our strengths as we have key players returning for this clash,” Williams said.
T&T have been boosted by the presence of the West Indies quartet of Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul, all of whom missed the previous game.
Barath returns after playing in the last two One-Day Internationals of the recent five-match series against Australia while Bravo was released for the Windies Twenty20 squad in order to find some crucial form, ahead of the upcoming Test series.
Ramdin has recovered from a fractured finger that kept him out of the Windies side for the first three one-dayers while Rampaul is fit again after suffering with injury and then illness.
“These are capable batsmen and our run-getters. Adrian will prove key and after his century against Guyana, we know that he is hungry for runs,” said Williams.
“Adrian is looking to be in the Windies Test team so in this mission, I am sure he will be looking to carry over his form into this match.
“Darren is back for us and he is looking for form. We need for him to get in and play a long knock and it will also serve him well with the Test series coming up.”
Barbados, meanwhile, were also confident ahead of the clash, especially after beating the Trinidadians in the preliminary round of the competition.
Then, Barbados pulled off a five-wicket victory at Kensington Oval in Barbados, a feat captain Kirk Edwards would like to repeat.
“We are up against a tough T&T unit but we have a good side and the guys really want the title,” said Edwards.
“We are playing away from home but a number of guys have experience of playing here and we are looking forward to defeating the Trinidadians in their own backyards.
“There are a number of guys who have been performing for us this season and we are hoping that everyone comes out and gives their best in this effort.”
Barbados welcome back pacer Tino Best who was selected to the Windies ODI squad against the Aussies but never played a game.
They too are in good form after whipping Windward Islands by 71 runs inside two days in Grenada last weekend.
Barbados reached the semi-final after finishing second in the standings on 48 points behind runaway leaders Jamaica who finished with a perfect record of six wins and 72 points.
T&T, meanwhile, finished third on 46 points.
T&T – Denesh Ramdin (captain), Justin Guillen, Marlon Barclay, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Rayad Emrit, Gibran Mohammed, Aneil Kanhai, Ravi Rampaul, Shannon Gabriel, Kavesh Kantasingh, Imran Khan, Evin Lewis.
BARBADOS – Kirk Edwards (Captain), Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich, Justin Greaves, Kyle Hope, Omar Phillips, Javon Searles, Jomel Warrican.
UMPIRES – Golande Greaves, Lennox Abraham.