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Shirin Sadikot in Delhi

Bowling is T&T’s strength: Williams

Coach says the team is glad to play semi-final on favourable Kotla track

Trinidad & Tobago have been a dark horse in the CLT20 since the first season, when they surprised all by making the final. The team from the Caribbean has been making regular appearances in the tournament ever since and this time they have secured a place in the semi-finals.

After beating the Chennai Super Kings in the last Group game by eight wickets, T&T will now take on the Mumbai Indians in the second semi-final in Delhi on October 5. Coach David Williams said that they are quietly confident of drubbing yet another IPL giant.

“We’ve always been a team that plays well together,” Williams said. “We have a history in this tournament and we’ve given a good account of ourselves right since the first edition. We know what the CLT20 is all about and we know what standard we need to produce to win.”

“The guys have really come out here and played tremendous cricket so far and we’re just one game away from the final. We’re just happy to be in a position that we are in,” he added.

Like many other foreign teams, T&T have never been able to put their best team in the park, due to missing some of their key players’ services to various IPL teams. However, Williams said that his side has come to terms with the situation and has become adept at handling it.

“When you have the likes of Evin Lewis come to the party and perform as well as he did, it helps the team in the absence of big players. You expect your senior players to do well but when the juniors stand up too, that’s an addition.

“Yes, we miss Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Kevon Cooper is gone now too. But we’re used to it now as it’s been happening to us for years. The other guys are stepping up to the plate and that’s good news for us,” the coach said.

While the unknown players are making their presence felt, the key to T&T’s bowling remains Sunil Narine. Williams said that Narine’s four overs mess with the minds of the opposition, hence benefitting the other bowlers.

“The opposition always looks to play Narine out and not give him a wicket. So, his four overs are very crucial and it puts a lot of pressure on the batting side. They try and take the advantage off the other bowlers and lose wickets in doing so,” he said.

Having said that bowling is T&T’s strength on the whole, given only thrice have they lost a T20 game after posting more than 150 runs on the board.

“We have three bowlers – Samuel Badree, Ravi Rampaul and Sunil Narine – who were part of the World Twenty20 winning West Indies side. With 12 overs up their sleeves among themselves, we are generally confident of defending 150-160,” the coach said.

Slow bowling being T&T’s area of expertise, Williams said that they are happy to be playing their semi-final on the Feroz Shah Kotla track rather than the seaming wicket in Jaipur.

“This pitch is more like home; we’re accustomed to that sort of low bounce and skiddy pitch and we prefer to play the big game here.”

Being the only non-IPL team in the top four, T&T have already proved their superiority over the other foreign teams in the competition. For Williams, going this far in the tournament is in itself a matter of pride.

“Many people didn’t give us a chance to be here. Getting into the semi-final in itself is a big achievement for us and irrespective of what happens now, I’ll still be very, very proud of my guys,” the coach said.

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