BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – This year’s Regional 4-Day Tournament is expected to come to an exciting climax, when traditionally-strong Barbados and old foes Trinidad & Tobago meet in the Grand Final, starting on Thursday at Kensington Oval here.
Both sides enter the Grand Final for the Headley/Weekes Trophy with huge boosts of confidence, following their respective semi-finals.
The Barbadians crushed Windward Islands by 101-run victory inside two days last Friday at Windsor Park in the Dominica capital of Roseau to advance, while T&T came from behind to topple previously unbeaten Jamaica on Sunday at Sabina Park in the Jamaica capital of Kingston.
The hosts landed a 10-wicket victory over the visitors when the two sides met in the penultimate round of the preliminary competition last month in Trinidad.
But Barbados captain Kirk Edwards typically brushed aside assertions that his team may have the psychological edge, following that victory.
“I’m just as confident of winning the title as I was when we played the first game,” said Edwards. “We set out at the beginning of the tournament to win the title and it is about us doing what we do well, going through our disciplines and looking for a positive result.”
He added: “The game is played on the field and you can’t go based on what has happened in the past. We have just come off a good game last week and if we don’t play well, the results will be against us, so it’s all about what happens on the time and we should not get caught up with this other stuff, just focus on what we have to do.”
T&T captain Denesh Ramdin said his side will be looking to end a roller coaster season with another title.
They claimed the final edition of the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament last January, and reached the semi-finals of the Regional Super50, where they lost to the Combined Campuses & Colleges at this same venue.
“To win another title will be another achievement,” said Ramdin. “We did not do very well in the RS50, after playing unbeaten in the preliminary rounds, which was disheartening for us and everyone was upset about it, but we would like to go all the way in this format.
“The self belief is there. . .We believe we have worked on all the areas that we needed to do. Our batting still has not come off the way we want, but our bowlers have been doing a fantastic job throughout the season so far.”
The two teams have fought some fierce battles over the last decade with T&T, but the home team has been able to win their last three Regional 4-Day matches against the two-island republic.
“In recent times, Barbados used to beat themselves against T&T most of the time due to a lot of misery and stuff like that,” said Edwards. “Over the last two season, the difference has been that we have played together and guys coming into the team are even more at ease and able to express themselves and play cricket the way how Barbadians plays cricket.”
He said: “We have never really lacked for cricket talent, but it has been about making the guys comfortable when they come into the team, and getting the best out of him at this level.
“The players are motivated, but like any other team, we won for a period and then during a rebuilding time the team tended to lose, so it’s nothing for us to get caught up. It’s about now and to play the way we see fit.”
Ramdin said his side was well aware of the history of matches between the two sides, but they were focussed on the bigger picture, and trying to end the season with a strong performance, particularly in their batting.
“They got the better of us earlier in the season in Trinidad and they will try to intimidate us, but the experience we have in our side, we will keep calm heads and play a good game of cricket,” he said.
“The last time our batsmen were not that patient against their bowlers and all of us will need to show this. In fact, it’s something that batsmen around the Caribbean need to work on. If a bowler delivers a few dots balls soon a false shot comes out.
“This season, there were not too many hundred scored, people seemed satisfied with 40s and 50s, but we hope to see an example of good batting in this final.”
There will be a special treat for the winning captain. West Indies batting legend Sir Everton Weekes will present him with the Headley/Weekes Trophy, symbol of Regional 4-Day supremacy.
BARBADOS (from): Kirk Edwards (captain), Suliemen Benn, Rashidi Boucher, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Javon Searles, Kevin Stoute
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (from): Denesh Ramdin (captain), Adrian Barath, Yannic Carriah, Rayad Emrit, Shannon Gabriel, Akeal Hosein, Amit Juggernauth, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Marlon Richards, Lendl Simmons, Jeremy Solozano