Trinidad and Cape Cobras ready to clash
Relaxed, focused and ready to lay it on the line for Trinidad and Tobago..
This was the way T&T manager Colin Borde described the mood in the camp yesterday as the national team made their final preparations for today's Airtel Champions League Twenty/20 semi-final against South Africa champions Cape Cobras at Hyderabad, India from 10:30 a.m. T&T time.
It will be a difficult task for T&T to overcome the Cobras, but having had such stunning performances in Hyderabad, now dubbed their second home, the team will be going into this match riding on a high wave of confidence following their four-match winning streak.
T&T defeated Australian T/20 champs New South Wales Blues In the Super Eight phase, and then scored a tournament-high 213 runs in defeating South Africa T/20 runners-up Diamond Eagles in a match that had a run-aggregate of 402.
Borde noted: "We are aware that there has been much joy at home and that our performances have delighted many across the globe.
"This has been very rewarding for us all as we hope that this will ignite a dying passion for the game in the region," the manager declared.
Of the team's preparation for the semi-final he said: "We trained today (yesterday) and had a very fruitful and focused session, outlining some of the strategies that can be employed in the semi final."
Borde was also confident that T&T could stick to their task against any opposition.
T&T, the only unbeaten team in the tournament, have overcome all challengers thus far thanks to their teamwork and "never say die" attitude.
But there have also been some individual sparks of brilliance. Those sparks have come from Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo and more recently Adrian Barath and Navin Stewart.
T&T have showed depth thus far. That depth will make it even more difficult now for the selectors to choose a final XI to take the field today.
Barath smashed 63 off 41 balls on his T/20 debut and Stewart came in with a cameo of 33 off 11 in his first game of the tournament.
Bravo has been T&T's leading wicket-taker and one of the leading bowlers in the tournament with ten scalps and he will have another key role to play in the semi-final. However, the West Indies all-rounder has not been consistent with the bat. He is due for a big score.
Pollard on the other hand has managed to sneak into the top ten list of batsmen with a tally of 120 runs and more runs will have to flow from his bat if T&T are to put pressure on the Cobras.
There are unlikely to be any undue nerves in the side. They have been in many crunch situations before. And according to the manager, there is an underlying motivation to succeed.
"Playing for Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region is of paramount importance and we want to bring this trophy back to the region, if only to prove that West Indian cricket is alive and well," Borde declared.
While T&T have the leading wicket-taker in Bravo, their opponents have the third highest run-scorer in Jean Paul Duminy who is 27 runs short of the top aggregate held by New South Wales Blues opener Phillip Hughes who has 200.
The Cobras' venom may even be more potent because of the batting of skipper Andrew Puttick, who has scored the only century in the CLT20 to date--104 against Otago Volts. His presence, and the team's hunger to bounce back after their defeat to Delhi Daredevils in the Super Eight, will definitely make the encounter even more competitive.
Awaiting today's winners will be the Blues who defeated fellow Aussie side Victoria in the first semi-final yesterday.