Everyone in the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force set-up alluded to the team’s “lapses in the field” as a major concern and they got away with it in the group stage, but not in the semifinal.
“Catches win matches” Red Force coach Mervyn Dillon lamented and insisted, “We have no one else to blame but ourselves” after the hosts were booted out of the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup after being battered and bruised by the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, skipper Jahmar Hamilton in particular, in their semi-final at the Queen’s Park Oval on Friday night.
After being sent in to bat, the hosts were restricted to 268 for eight off their 50 overs despite a 99-run opening stand between Jeremy Solozano and Tion Webster. For the second time in the tournament, the latter missed out on getting a century, falling for 91 while Jason Mohammed chipped in with 59 but it was not enough in the end as the Hurricanes replied with 269 for six with Hamilton blasting 78 off just 34 balls.
Two key elements in the match that both captain Imran Khan and Dillon touched on were dropped catches and the bowling in the back end of the innings.
Darren Bravo failed to take a catch on the boundary to dismiss Hamilton on 42 and the miss proved costly as Hamilton went after the spinners to put his team on top of the chase.
“Obviously it is disappointing. I thought...we didn’t play as well as we could have. When we batted I felt we could have gotten a few more runs. It was a good wicket to bat on. But when we got ourselves in trouble was when they scored 40-odd runs in a couple of overs and I think that is where we got the wind knocked out of our sails,” said Dillon.
Congrats to Leewards
He added: “It was well played for Hamilton and congrats to the Leeward Islands, they deserved to win on the day.”
“We have been talking about it and working on our catching and the fact that we have been consistently dropping catches is not a good thing for us. As the old cricketers always say, catches win matches; so the fact that we have continued to drop catches is a concern but we were in the game but we bowled really badly in the end there.”
Khan for his part immediately pointed to the team’s poor fielding as a major factor in the loss. But he also noted two injuries that proved telling.
“If we held on to all our chances, we could have won by 20-25 runs but credit to the Leewards, they batted really well. But again, there were a lot of injuries in our team with Anderson (Phillip) and Tion (Webster) off the field,” Khan explained.
“We backed both of them to bowl in the end for us but it did not work out that way. We had a gameplan and we were sticking to it but those injuries during the game hampered us,” he said.
Of his own bowling in the match, especially the final over of his spell which cost 26 runs, Khan said: “Things did not go my way, but I backed myself to lead from the front and I had to make some tough choices because I only had five bowlers out there,” he added.
“It is very hurtful that it finished this way but we have a bunch of lads who are willing to learn and willing to fight and that augers well for Trinidad and Tobago cricket going forward,” he concluded.
Dillon also saw some positives coming out of the tournament.
“For me when I look at the way we have batted, I am seeing the improvement. We were lucky we had Bravo in our squad to lead the batters and it is just for us to continue to work hard. I think the fitness is of great concern because the levels we are at need to improve.”
“When you look at Keagan (Simmons) and (Jeremy) Solozano, they are probably going to be the core of your batting going forward and it was nice for them to get an opportunity. A lot of positives with the young batting and there are a lot of options with guys who did not get an opportunity,” Dillon added.