PORT?OF?SPAIN – When the?Barbados Tridents came to Trinidad for the first time in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL)?T20, they had four wins in four matches and were seen as favourites to top the standings.
Less than two weeks and three consecutive losses later, the Tridents finished the group stage in third place and head into today’s 8 p.m. semi-final fixture against the Jamaica Tallawahs at Queen’s Park Oval as underdogs.
In the pre-match Press conference on Wednesday, Tridents skipper Kieron Pollard, responding to questions posed about their losses, said: “Well, as the coach just reminded me to tell you, we won the first four games.
“At the end of the day, it is a semi-final and all that you have done before counts for nothing because this is where it counts, in the semi-final, and I think this is where we are looking forward to it.”
They beat last placed St Lucia Zouks twice, second from bottom Antigua Hawksbills once and fourth place Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel once.
The Tridents’ first loss in the tournament came at the Oval against the Guyana Amazon Warriors before similar defeats followed at the hands of the Hawksbills and Tallawahs.
“We had a lot of time off and, as a team, we had a lot of time to work on different strategies. We are a very young team, not much stars like all these guys sitting down here brought in from various parts of the world.
“So we are going to take it pretty simple and continue playing our good cricket and I am sure we are going to bounce back and Barbados Tridents will be the ones holding that trophy,” Pollard said.
Coach Desmond Haynes added: “We started very well . . . lost our last three games and that might have been a good thing for us. We are now getting ready to start winning again.”
The Tallawahs, whose batting has been boosted with the addition of Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara, have won their previous two games to finish runners-up to the Amazon Warriors and their skipper Chris Gayle seems now to be finding his rhythm after stuttering at the start of the tournament.
Gayle, who slammed 51 and took two wickets in his team’s win over the Red Steel last Sunday, said: “Hopefully, I will be in the same sort of mood again, if not more dangerous.
“I am looking forward to it and once I get some rest, I will be ready for (tonight) . . . see what the wicket is actually doing in the first game (last night between the Amazon Warriors and Red Steel), then assess my game and take it from there.”
But Gayle also wanted the rest of the team to step up.
“I am not too concerned about just Chris. All the guys have a part to play as well and no one man can win this actual tournament. Hopefully, everybody can play their part with bat and ball and as a collective unit we should come out on top,” he said.
Coach Paul Nixon was also pleased with the Tallawah’s performances: “We’ve got that nice blend of experience and youth . . . we are very confident and we are very happy with where we are as a team.”
Whoever wins tonight will face the winners of last night’s semi-final between Red Steel and the Amazon Warriors for the first prize of US$250 000 in the final tomorrow night.
Barbados Tridents: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shoaib Malik, Shakib Al Hasan, Dwayne Smith, Azhar Mahmood, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Rayad Emrit, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Kyle Mayers, Devendra Bishoo, Kirk Edwards, Raymon Reifer. Desmond Haynes (coach), Robin Singh (assistant coach).
Jamaica Tallawahs: Chris Gayle (captain), Muttiah Muralitharan, Andre Russell, Andrew Richardson, Kumar Sangakkara, Vernon Philander, Danza Hyatt, Carlton Baugh, Nikita Miller, Jacques Rudolph, Chadwick Walton, Jermaine Blackwood, Akeem Dewar, Dave Bernard Jr., Nkrumah Bonner. Paul Nixon (coach), Junior Bennett (assistant coach).