T&T Red Force will start as favourites in their WICB Super50 semi-final clash against Jamaica tomorrow at Coolidge in Antigua.
The T&T team ended up as winners of Zone A, after their whipping of the Leewards on Sunday night. It means that they play Jamaica who finished second in Zone B. T&T pacer Ravi Rampaul is confident that his team can reach the finals and repeat as champions.
The 32-year-old had impressive figures of 10-1-27-3 as the defending beat Leeward Islands Hurricanes by five wickets.
Rampaul is now the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 17 wickets (average 12.35), behind Barbados Pride off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who has 22 wickets (average 11.18).
According to Rampaul, “Jamaica has not played here so we will have the upperhand. We have played six games here so far so that should give us the edge in this encounter.”
The man from Preysal said any who his team comes up against they will perform well. “It does not matter who we play in any match, we will play well because we have worked hard as a unit and we are playing great cricket at the moment.”
Rampaul credited his excellent performances in this series to his stint in County cricket: ”Playing in England has really lifted my cricket, hopefully I can continue to do well before heading back there to play again.”
He was thrilled with his performance :”Always good to have match winning performances for my team. I went out there assessed the conditions and used the pitch as necessary.
Getting Keiran Powell early was key for us and Shannon who has been bowling brilliantly did that for us.”
Leewards were bowled out for 189 in 48.1 overs after choosing to bat first. Their batting struggle was set in motion almost from the start when captain Kieran Powell, who entered the game as the tournament’s leading scorer with 509 runs, suffered his first failure of the tournament when he was caught behind off Shannon Gabriel for 1 in the third over.
Gabriel wound up taking two more to finish with 3 for 40 while fellow medium pacer Rampaul took 3 for 27 from his ten overs to keep Leewards tied down. Five batsmen crossed 20 for Leewards but none made more than Jermaine Otto’s 38.
Evin Lewis got the T&T chase off to a typically aggressive start, top-scoring with 47 off 23 balls, dominating a 57-run opening stand with Kyle Hope that spanned 7.4 overs.
Lewis fell to Rahkeem Cornwall, who did his best to slow T&T’s victory charge by taking 3 for 40 in ten overs but Denesh Ramdin (31 not out) and Imran Khan (38 not out) produced an unbeaten 54-run stand for the sixth wicket to take T&T to the target in just 34.1 overs. (CMC)