Centurion: Trinidad and Tobago will play Yorkshire on Wednesday in their opening qualifying match of the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in South Africa.The Caribbean champions, considered the strongest team in their qualifying group, must win against England's T20 runners-up Yorkshire to keep their chances of advancing alive.
Yorkshire are one win away from qualifying after their five-wicket win over Uva and a second victory at Centurion could send the Trinidadians crashing out of the tournament. T&T management is monitoring a groin injury to all-rounder Kevon Cooper, who scored an unbeaten 32-ball 62 to be their top batsman in a warm-up game against Auckland Aces on Sunday.
"It is not as bad as we originally thought," said manager Omar Khan. "The physiotherapist, Oba Gulston is treating it aggressively and we hope that with that aggressive treatment, he will be ready for the first game." The Red Force has been boosted with the arrival of their five World Cup players involved in the West Indies' title-winning 36-run triumph over Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Skipper Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo and Samuel Badree missed Sunday's practice game against Auckland Aces which Trinidad and Tobago lost by eight wickets. However, Ramdin's men are without Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine who have opted to represent their IPL teams in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago Manager David Williams says he is confident the Red Force will qualify for the main draw of the tournament."It is easy for things to happen when you are this confident especially when you have guys on the team who have just won a major title," said the former West Indies wicket-keeper.
"So I am trying to get them to focus on the simple things and not get ahead of ourselves. We are going to get there but we just need to focus on what is before us at the moment." Trinidad and Tobago qualified to compete in the tournament after defeating Jamaica by 63 runs in the final of the Caribbean T20 in Barbados.
The Red Force, one of six teams playing in the qualifying round, is in pool 2 and has another crucial match scheduled for Thursday against Sri Lanka champions Uva.