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‘We beat ourselves!’ T&T Red Force lose by an innings to Barbados to concede title hopes

The Barbados Pride are within touching distance of a second successive regional four day title now, after the defending champions and current West Indies Championship leaders whipped the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force by an innings and 22 runs today at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.

It is 16 years since the two island republic have conquered their neighbours in this format and early enthusiasm, brought by wins over the Jamaica Scorpions and the Windward Islands Volcanoes in February, proved misplaced in the end.

Photo: T&T Red Force captain Imran Khan (left) makes an improvised shot while Jamaica Scorpions wicketkeeper Romaine Morrison (centre) and fielder Jermaine Blackwood look on during West Indies Championship action in Tarouba on 12 February 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago were 187 runs short last week, in a comprehensive defeat to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes. This time, they lost with a day to spare and did not even trouble Barbados to bat twice.

After being skittled out for 133 runs from 54.2 overs in the first innings, captain Imran Khan’s troops managed 134 from 50 overs in their second attempt.

“If we had batted properly in both innings, we could have stood a chance,” said Khan, who credited Barbados for playing good cricket and insisted that his criticism was for the entire T&T team and not any individual batsman.

Coach David Furlonge said the Red Force have only themselves to blame for their predicament.

“Our shot selection was not good enough—I think we beat ourselves in this game,” Furlonge told Wired868. “We are accustomed to batting first on the Brian Lara surface whenever we win the toss, so the wicket is not to blame.”

Photo: T&T Red Force batsman Yannic Cariah dabs at the ball while Leeward Islands captain Rahkeem Cornwall (right) looks on during their WI Championship clash at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex on 21 May 2022.
Cariah is the fifth highest run scorer of the WI Championship and a rare bright spark with the bat for the Red Force.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Middle-order batsman Yannic Cariah was still unbeaten at the close of play (33 runs from 81 balls) but with nobody for company. 

Cariah leads all T&T batsmen in the series with 311 runs from seven innings, which include one century and two half-centuries. Wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva is next with 245 runs and two half centuries.

Otherwise, not one specialist batsman in the Red Force team managed a century while there was just a solitary half century from Isaiah Rajah and Jeremy Solozano each.

Darren Bravo, batting at number three, has offered an especially anorexic contribution in his four innings with scores of 7, 2, 8, and 4 respectively.

Photo: T&T Red Force batsman Darren Bravo is bowled behind his back by Barbados pacer Justin Greaves during WI Championship action in Tarouba on 25 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

In contrast, Barbados, led by the competition’s leading scorer Kraigg Brathwaite, have been steady throughout and their ability to push the Guyana Harpy Eagles to the wire in Round Three, even whey they did stumble, hinted at the mettle possessed by the defending champions.

At Tarouba, the Pride never allowed the hosts to get comfortable and were well rewarded for it.

Neither Khan, a Central Sports player, nor Furlonge were willing to address former Trinidad and Tobago captain Daren Ganga’s criticism of the team’s supposedly ‘QPCC-centric’ squad selection—there were 10 ‘Parkites’ players in Red Force XI last week against the Leeward Islands. 

“Everybody will have their opinions,” said Furlonge, who is himself a QPCC coach.

It is worth mentioning that Trinidad and Tobago’s representatives on the West Indies team in all formats, ostensibly the nation’s top performers, are Parkites. While having four non-QPCC players in the squad against Barbados did not lead to any discernible improvement.

Photo: T&T Red Force medium pacer Terrance Hinds, a QPCC player, celebrates his five wicket haul against the Barbados Pride in WI Championship action at Tarouba on 26 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

There is debate too as to whether recent limited over domestic competitions in Trinidad might have affected the players’ focus.

“It could be possible—there is so much T10 and T20 cricket around all over the country,” Furlonge said last week. “I wouldn’t rule it out that it played a part in some of the performances.”

Khan was less convinced and pointed out that openers Jeremy Solozano and Keagan Simmons did not play in the local T10 competition.

“As professionals, you are supposed to adjust to any format,” said the Red Force captain.

If Khan or Furlonge had an inkling of the reason behind Trinidad and Tobago’s recent poor performances, it was not something they felt they could share with the media.

Photo: T&T Red Force captain and spinner Imran Khan (left) bowls to Jamaica Scorpions lower order batsman Derval Green (centre) during Day 3 of their West Indies Championship encounter in Tarouba on 11 February 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Khan urged fans to continue to support the team and promised to put in a good showing against Guyana next week.

“After winning our first two games, everyone was talking about being title contenders,” said Khan. “As a team, all we can do now is stay strong and try to finish on a high and beat Guyana, to hopefully finish mid-table. 

“[…] It has been a tough two games but I hope the fans keep faith in us. We will recoup as a team—just keep supporting us.”

Furlonge concurred.

“We have to play for pride now, we have to play for the insignia and the supporters,” said the Red Force coach. “[…] We know we let them down with our performance but we look forward to a much better performance next week against Guyana.”

Photo: Guyana batsman Tagenarine celebrates his third First Class century, as he managed his highest total of 140 not out against the Barbados Pride at the QP Oval on 19 May 2022.
He got another century today against Jamaica.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Guyana closed day three of their contest with Jamaica today on 584-7, after a typically patient century from 25-year-old opener Tagenarine Chanderpaul (184 runs from 423 balls). The knock took the son of West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul to third on the West Indies Championship scoring charts with 414 runs from seven innings, just 61 short of Brathwaite.

Chanderpaul’s series average of 82.8 betters Brathwaite’s 79.16.

“In the last couple match days, they made 400 runs plus—so we know their strength is their batting,” said Furlonge. “We have to see what kind of wicket we get in the [Queen’s Park] Oval, but we have to be mindful of Chanderpaul who bats long and everybody else bats around him.”

Guyana are still in the hunt for the regional title but would need to build on their 191 run lead over Jamaica and then bowl them out tomorrow. Otherwise, they would need to rely on an upset from the Windward Islands against Barbados next week along with a win for the Harpy Eagles over neighbours, Trinidad and Tobago.

Photo: Windward Islands spinner Kenneth Dember (second from right) tries to tempt Guyana batsman Leon Johnson during West Indies Championship action in Port of Spain on 12 February 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

The Windward Islands are still searching for their first win of the series and are unlikely to get it against the Leeward Islands tomorrow. The Hurricanes will start the day at 127/3 and requiring a further 286 runs to win.

For Red Force, it is back to the drawing board as they prepare for their Guyana assignment.

“We are going to practice on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, in preparation for the next game,” said Furlonge. “We want to come out against Guyana and finish the competition strong.”

Match Summaries

(At Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba)

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: 133 all out (54.2 overs) (Imran Khan 29, Terrance Hinds 25; Jomel Warrican 3/21, Akeem Jordan 2/17, Ramon Simmonds 2/24, Justin Greaves 2/26) & 134 all out (50.4 overs) (Yannic Cariah 33*, Keagan Simmons 31; Akeem Jordan 3/26, Roston Chase 3/26, Justin Greaves 3/27)

Barbados Pride: 294 all out (91.3 overs) (Raymon Reifer 79, Justin Greaves 50, Jonathan Carter 41; Terrance Hinds 5/32, Imran Khan 2/60)

Barbados won by an innings and 22 runs.

Photo: Barbados Pride captain Kraigg Brathwaite (left) scored a century against Guyana in their West Indies Championship clash at the QP Oval on 21 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

(At Diego Martin Sporting Complex, Diego Martin)

Jamaica Scorpions: 393 all out (109.3 overs) (Jermaine Blackwood 114, Aldane Thomas 100, Alwyn Williams 51; Veerasammy Permaul 3/96, Kevin Sinclair 2/74, Gudakesh Motie 2/39, Demetri Cameron 2/103)

Guyana Harpy Eagles: 584 for 7 (157 overs) (Tagenarine Chanderpaul 184, Vishaul Singh 100*, Tevin Imlach 79, Chandrapaul Hemraj 78; Nicholson Gordon 4/122)

Guyana lead by 191 runs.

Photo: Jamaica Scorpions batsman Jermaine Blackwood drives through the off-side during WI Championship action against the Guyana Harpy Eagles at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex on 25 May 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

(At Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain)

Leeward Islands Hurricanes: 333 all out (95.5 overs) (Colin Archibald 106*, Jahmar Hamilton 52, Daniel Doram 43; Preston McSween 5/92, Kenneth Dember 2/77) & 252/8 dec (60.5 overs) (Devon Thomas 51, Ross Powell 40, Rahkeem Cornwall 38; Kenneth Dember 3/62, Darius Martin 3/94)

Windward Islands Volcanoes: 173 all out (55 overs) (Keron Cottoy 73*, Devon Smith 35; Rahkeem Cornwall 5/61, Jeremiah Louis 3/26) & 127/3 (47 overs) (Kimani Melius 51, Kavem Hodge 25*; Rahkeem Cornwall 2/20)

Windward need a further 286 runs.