PREVIEW: T&T, CCC bid for spot in final
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Trinidad and Tobago and Combined Campuses and Colleges will bid for a spot in Sunday’s final of the Regional Super50 when they lock horns in the opening semi-final here Thursday.
While T&T will be attempting to extend their impressive run, CCC will be hoping to turn around their topsy-turvy form and stage a massive upset, in the contest set for the historic Kensington Oval.
T&T will fancy their chances, especially after chalking up six wins in as many outings in the preliminary round, to finish top of the standings with 25 points.
Captain Denesh Ramdin said despite their impressive form, they were leaving nothing to chance against a dangerous CCC side.
“It’s a big game. Every semi-final is a big game. We have a very good team and we enjoy playing here at Kensington Oval – it’s a wonderful place for cricket. This pitch looks like a very good one. We are expecting a high-scoring match,” said the West Indies wicketkeeper.
“We are looking forward to being in the Final and we know that the CCC are a tough bunch, but we are ready for them.”
He added: “The batting let us down in the last four-day game against the Barbadians, but the batsmen know where they went wrong and to their credit they have been working hard at correcting this problem.”
T&T have been weakened, however, by the absence of top players like all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, batsman Kieron Pollard and fast bowlers Ravi Rampaul and Kevon Cooper, who are all plying their trade in the Indian Premier League.
Stylish left-hander Darren Bravo will be missing after taking a break but key players like the West Indies duo of Adrian Barath and Lendl Simmons, along with West Indies A batsman Justin Guillen, are expected to play key roles.
Neither Simmons nor Barath has been in top form but Ramdin said he backed both players to come good.
“Simmons has made it clear that he is an opener and wants to stay in that position,” said Ramdin.
“I have spoken to Barath and he agrees that he has to be a bit more selective. He has all the shots in the book and has been in reasonable form, but has not delivered the kind of runs he would like. We are backing him to do well this weekend.
“Guillen is another batsman who has played well in the Super50 and we know what he can do as well, so there are a number of combinations we are playing with and trying to come up with the right one.”
CCC have had little to write home about during the tournament, with just two wins from their six matches. They finished fourth on ten points along with Barbados but captured the last semi-final berth because they defeated the Barbadians.
They will enter Thursday’s semi-final as underdogs but star all-rounder Ramon Reifer said they had no intention of backing down from the Trinidadians.
“We didn’t come this far to just roll over. We had some ups and downs in the first round, but we played well when we needed to and we booked our place in the semi-finals,” he said following a full training session at the 3Ws Oval on Wednesday morning.
“The mood in the camp is really upbeat and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s match. It’s a big game for all of us. It means a lot to all of us.”
Much will rest on the shoulders of the 21-year-old Reifer who has played in all of CCC’s matches and has scored 40 runs in the middle-order and taken nine wickets with his left-arm seam.
Big-hitting right-hander Chadwick Walton will lead the side’s batting with captain Kyle Corbin and veteran left-hander Floyd Reifer expected to feature.
Ramon Reifer said CCC were relishing the tag of underdogs as it gave them the latitude to pull off an upset.
“Many people see us as the underdogs in this game but we don’t have a problem with that. They (T&T) won all their matches so I guess it’s fair that they are listed as the favourites,” Reifer pointed out.
“We will be paying full attention to what we have to do. We know that we have to be at our best in all three departments – batting, bowling and fielding so the plan is to be at our very best.”
CCC – Kyle Corbin (captain), Shacaya Thomas, Nicholas Alexis, Anthony Alleyne, Chadwick Walton, Raymon Reifer, Nekoli Parris, Floyd Reifer, Kevin McClean, Marques Clarke, Kesrick Williams, Ryan Austin, Akeem Dewar.
T&T – Denesh Ramdin, Adrian Barath, Justin Guillen, Jason Mohammed, Khesan Yannick Ottley, Rayad Emrit, Marlon Richards, Sherwin Ganga, Imran Khan, Shannon Gabriel, Akeal Hosein, Nicholas Pooran, Lendl Simmons.