After two easy wins the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force skipper Imran Khan insists that he won’t let his players become complacent ahead of their next fixture on Wednesday.
The Red Force, led by Tion Webster’s top-score of 87, breezed past Guyana Jaguars by six wickets in their second match in Group B at Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, late Saturday night. But with six more group stage games to play, Khan is urging his players to maintain their focus.
Group B continues today with Jaguars taking on the USA at the QPO while the West Indies Emerging Players come up against the Windward Islands Volcanoes, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, in Tarouba. The Red Force are on a bye today.
After Saturday’s win, Khan said: “It was another great performance and I am really happy with the victory but we have to take things one game at a time, keep things simple and don’t take any team for granted.”
They certainly did not underestimate the Jaguars with their spin bowlers coming to the fore once again to stifle the Guyanese batsman as the visitors posted 187 for nine off their reduced 43 overs. Tion Webster then powered the hosts to an easy win, scoring his highest regional 50 over score of 87 in a record partnership of 124 with fellow opening batsman Jeremy Solozano, who made 39.
The opening stand is the highest partnership for the Red Force for any wicket against the Jaguars. Webster blasted three sixes and 11 fours and faced 60 balls but most of his runs came in PowerPlay overs and proved crucial in the end. Solozano faced 55 balls and struck four boundaries.
By the time Webster departed, caught by Christopher Barnwell off Ramaal Lewis in the 19th over, the hosts were well on their way to victory. However, the Red Force innings slowed after the right-hander’s departure with the remaining 64 runs required to complete the victory coming some 17 overs later, when Darren Bravo scored the winning runs with seven overs remaining.
Solozano departed two overs after Webster walked back to the dugout while Hope laboured to score four (17 balls) before he, too, was sentto the showers. Bravo and Jason Mohammed then took their time to seal the win. Bravo faced 49 balls for his unbeaten 26 while Mohammed faced 36 deliveries for his 28.
Earlier, the match started under overcast skies and only five overs were possible before the players were forced off the field by lightening and rain. T&T struck just before going off, Anderson Phillip getting the wicket of Tagenarine Chanderpaul for seven. There was a near two-hour break, however, the Red Force stuck to the plan with spinners again doing the job of restricting runs, before Phillip came back near the end to finish with four wickets for 44 runs.
He could have gotten a five-wicket haul but again the hosts were guilty of not taking all the chances that came their way. In the end, they were not punished for their lapses but Webster said they would have to do better in the remaining matches.
Speaking to the media following the match, Webster said: “I am feeling very good about my knock. I backed myself and the team gave me the confidence to go out there and do what I did, so I am very happy. The way I started in the first game, I was vexed that I missed out in that game and then seeing the way my teammates batted, I knew I could have done the same thing.”
Asked if he felt he had a point to prove after only playing three matches in the Caribbean Premier League, Webster said: “No, no, no...I just went out there and did what I did for the team. My role was to give the team the best possible start in the PowerPlay, so after the first ten overs I slowed down a bit, and started to try to rotate the strike with Jeremy and that was just the game-plan.”
“We must give credit to the bowlers because they stuck to the plan even with a wet ball after heavy rain early in the game. They executed well,” he added.
Looking back at the match, Webster said that they could have done better in the field. “I think we did not have a perfect game. We had some mishaps but we will work on it in training and come back stronger in the next game.”
On missing out on scoring his maiden 50-over century, Webster wasn’t too upset. “I was disappointed because I wanted the hundred but I think I put the team in a good position to win the game, so I was still happy with my score,” he reasoned.
The Red Force will face the Emerging Players on Wednesday at the Oval and will tackle USA on Friday at Tarouba.