Leicestershire stand in T&T's way
Leicestershire v Trinidad & Tobago, September 20
Start time 16.00 (10.30 GMT)
Trinidad & Tobago are one win away from securing a place in the Champions League main draw and a big financial boost after their victory over Ruhuna on September 19. The track at the Uppal Stadium has plenty to interest the spinners, which suited T&T who played only one genuine quick bowler in the attack, and a raft of slower bowlers. Their captain Daren Ganga will have few complaints about the bowling and fielding, but the top-order batting would have been less satisfactory, with only Darren Bravo showing the judgment necessary to thrive on a difficult pitch.
Standing in their way will be Leicestershire, surprise Twenty20 champions of England. A county in financial difficulty, coming off a dreadful first-class season and having few crowd-pulling stars may seem like an easy opposition, but as Paul Nixon and Co. showed in the Friends Life t20, Leicestershire have the ability to upset star-studded teams. With losses of around £400,000 last year, the big money on offer for teams qualifying to the main draw will provide an added incentive for Matthew Hoggard and his team.
T&T will be tempted to go in with the same XI that beat Ruhuna. One problem they have to ponder is that with Sherwin Ganga not at his best with the ball, they had to turn to the gentle medium-pace of Lendl Simmons, who was promptly punished for 30 runs in two overs. There aren't too many alternatives in case one of the frontline bowlers have an off day.
One of the oldest members in the Leicestershire squad, 39-year-old Claude Henderson, will have a big role to play, leading the spin department. One of the youngest, Joshua Cobb, who turned 21 last month, will assist him but Cobb's major role is providing an electric start with the bat which more restrained batsmen like the talented James Taylor can build on.
Watch out for …
Abdul Razzaq will hit the headlines not only for being a big-hitting game-changing allrounder but because he will become the second Pakistan player to participate in the Champions League, after Yasir Arafat in 2009. "I am sure after this trip our [Pakistan] players will also be able to play in the IPL again," he said. "I know if I perform well it is a good thing for Pakistan cricket and players as well."
Ravi Rampaul was the only fast bowler used by T&T and he was spot-on in his four overs. He didn't concede a single boundary in his spell, removed the dangerous Dinesh Chandimal before delivering an accurate final over in which Ruhuna could only score one run.
Stats & trivia
- Andrew McDonald was the highest run-getter in the Friends Life t20 this season, making 584 runs including seven half-centuries
- Lendl Simmons hit the highest number of sixes in the 2010-11 Caribbean T20 (15) but his strike-rate was still only a modest 111.65
"This team is the most balanced we have ever had in Twenty20 cricket in my career at Leicestershire, no question."
Paul Nixon talks up his side's chances
"It was too close for comfort, but in the end we had six deliveries remaining. This is going to add to our confidence."
Daren Ganga on the opening victory over Ruhuna
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo