Battle of contrasts in the offing

Battle of contrasts in the offing

Flamboyant Trinidad come up against Cobras in second semis

The routes these two teams have taken to the semis of the Champions League Twenty20 underline their totally different characteristics. Written off even before the start of the tournament, Trinidad proved their detractors wrong with a string of forceful performances that reminded many of the halcyon days of West Indian cricket.

They have a cool-nerved and experienced leader in Daren Ganga, and a set of young and daring players. The effect of that combination has been evident from the fact that Trinidad are yet to be beaten in this tournament.

“We have a few experienced players like Dwayne Bravo and myself, and some really talented youngsters like Kieron (Pollard) and Lendl (Simmons). This strong combination has been the secret of Trinidad’s success. We hope it will take us all the way,” Ganga said.

The power of youth has helped Trinidad to fell some big and fancied teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore and New South Wales Blues en route to semis. Pollard’s stunning blitz against the Blues has been one of the talking points of the event.

The Windies outfit has also notched up the highest total of the tournament, 213, against Diamond Eagles, proving the firepower of their batting line-up. However, their bowlers, led by Bravo senior, too have played a part in their remarkable run.

They don’t have an express pacer in their line-up. But bowlers like Bravo, Sherwin Ganga, Simmons and Pollard have exploited the Indian conditions to the hilt as their rivals found it hard to counter the Trinidadian concoction of spin and military medium pace.

Having said that, putting the tag of favourites straightaway on T&T would be naïve for Cobras have the ammunition to put an end to Trinidad’s run. The South African outfit’s main hope in their batting was Herschelle Gibbs, but the powerful right-hander has not done anything significant in this event.

However, Jean-Paul Duminy has assumed the role of batting mainstay with ease, and his unbeaten 99 against RCB will remain in the memory of spectators for a long time. The only glitch in their otherwise impressive run in the event is their defeat against Delhi Daredevils a couple of days ago, but it would not have really affected their confidence.
Cobras’ batting does not end with Duminy as skipper Andrew Puttick, the lone centurion of the Champions League, and Justin Ontong too are capable of harrowing the opposition on their day.

Their bowling looked safe in the hands of Monde Zondeki, Claude Henderson and Rory Kleinveldt so far, but their biggest test will come against a set of fiery Trinidad batsmen on a good cricketing pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium here on the morrow.
So brace up for a pulsating night of action.