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February 15, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago captain Dwayne Bravo has dispelled notions that his team will be the favourites for the Nagico Super50 clash against Barbados at the Queen's Park Oval. Bravo believes that Barbados have proved their worth by with an unbeaten run this year, and that home advantage, while welcomed, would not sway the balance in T&T's favour.
"I don't think we're favourites. Honestly I believe that we are the two best teams in the tournament and that's why we are in the finals but we definitely will not start as favourites because they beat us in the group stage," Bravo said. "As a team, we respect the Barbados team and we expect a good final."
Barbados had beaten T&T by 28 runs in Zone B and Bravo said that the team had learned from the mistakes of that game and were better prepared after their clinical seven-wicket win over Jamaica in the semi-final.
"Our strength is our all-round ability and we have great batsmen with international experience, good medium-pacers and we can adjust to any situation," he said. "We may have a bit of an edge over them in the batting department but both teams have very good spinners also." Bravo pointed to Sunil Narine, Jason Mohammed as key players for his side and said the Barbadian duo of Ashley Nurse and Suliemann Benn were threats. He leaned towards the pitch being a bowler's track, pointing at their rout of Jamaica for a meager 49.
While Bravo embraced the home support, he maintained that the team that doesn't crack under pressure will be the one that lifts the trophy- a sentiment echoed by the opposing captain, Kevin Stoute.
"There's going to be a lot of pressure on us as the away team and the crowd will back Trinidad," Stoute said. "But I think we just need to stick to the basics and fundamentals and treat the game as we've done the ones before.
Stoute believes that Fidel Edwards' form will be crucial in the final and backed his pacer to deliver. However, Stoute pointed to Dwayne Smith as the player he expects to lead the team to victory.
"Dwayne had a brilliant semis and he's playing with confidence and maturity. His seniority is helping build the team also," Stoute said. "I'd say the pitch is a fair one despite some saying it will favour bowlers but I think it comes down to showing up on the match day. I can see him getting some runs."
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets hereFeeds: Renaldo Matadeen
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Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala