A year of inconsistency for T&T cricket in 2013
Trinidad Express article.
Port of Spain, Trinidad - The past 12 months were filled with ups and downs for the Trinidad and Tobago cricket team.
At times, they suffered deplorable batting collapses like the ones that saw them fall to the Windward Islands in the Regional Four-Day competition opener, and then against Barbados in the tournament final three months later.
The same team showed tremendous fight, as in their epic battle to finally dethrone the Jamaicans in the semi-finals of the Four-Day tournament or their battle to win the final edition of the Caribbean Twenty20.
The year started positively for Denesh Ramdin’s men when they secured their third consecutive Caribbean T20 title with an easy nine-wicket win over Guyana in the final.
While the other two regional tournaments—the Super50 and Regional Four-Day—saw some level of success for Denesh Ramdin’s team, no more silverware was added to the T&T coffers for the year.
T&T’s semi-final victory was significant in itself because it ended Jamaica’s five-year stranglehold on the tournament, as well as T&T’s losing streak to the Jamaicans since 2008.
In the 2007 tournament, T&T won a hard-fought contest at Alpart Sports Club in Jamaica after a 97-run tenth-wicket partnership between Dave Mohammed and Amit Jaggernauth helped T&T reach the victory target of 236, despite two centuries by Jamaica batsman Brenton Parchment.
Then skipper Daren Ganga scored an unbeaten 104 to anchor his team to the win late on the fourth afternoon.
This year’s victory was no less epic. On the back of a defeat at the hands of the Jamaicans inside three days during the round robin phase of the competition, T&T travelled to Sabina Park for their semi-final as underdogs.
T&T were dismissed for 170 in their first innings in reply to Jamaica’s 246. Sheldon Cottrell and Carlton Baugh Jr shared a 103-run stand for the last wicket in Jamaica’s first innings. The hosts were then skittled out for 102 on the third day, setting T&T 179 to win with a day to play.
T&T slipped to 73 for six before Imran Khan’s unbeaten 50 and Rayad Emrit’s 25 not out saw them over the line with three wickets in hand.
But all that fight was absent in the final against Barbados, which ended in an innings defeat for T&T on the third day.
Such was the inconsistency that plagued T&T that they won all six round-robin matches in the Super50 before losing to the Combined Campuses and Colleges at the semi-final stage, having been blown away for 92 after CCC posted 232 for seven at Kensington Oval, Barbados.
The Windward Islands eventually lifted the limited overs trophy, having whipped CCC in the rain affected final.
With the regional season ending with a damper, T&T still had the Champions League T20 to look forward to.
Their final appearance in the tournament in India towards the end of the year was probably the highlight of the season, as the players got a final chance to make up for dismal failures in the Four-Day and Super50.
And despite losing to Mumbai Indians in the semi-finals, they did enough for the cricketing world to take notice again.
It was not a fairytale run but it was still memorable. They topped Group B, which included Indian Premier League teams Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Titans from South Africa and the Brisbane Heat from Australia, having only lost one match to the Sunrisers.
Left-handed opening batsman Evin Lewis proved his worth as he scored 211 runs in five innings, which earned him fifth spot among the top run-scorers in the competition.
There were many exciting moments for the national team in the past year, but Team T&T will definitely need to step up their performances in 2014 as try to win their first Four-Day title since 2006.
That will be a priority, but their first task for the New Year will be the Regional Super50, which T&T host in February.