T&T v Windwards, Carib Beer Cup semi-final, 4th day April 11, 2006

Dave Mohammed spins T&T to final

Trinidad and Tobago celebrate their comprehensive victory against Windward Islands © Trinidad and Tobago Express

Trinidad and Tobago 255 and 416 (Ganga 161, Lewis 5-108) beat Windward Islands 131 and 149 (Mohammed 7-48) by 391 runs

Dave Mohammed took a career-best 7 for 48 to confirm the formality of a Trinidad and Tobago victory 45 minutes into the fourth day and secure their passage into the final of the 2006 Carib Beer Challenge.

The overwhelming 391-run win over opponents who had embarrassed them at Shaw Park in Tobago in late January was highly pleasing to captain Daren Ganga and coach Dave Williams. It was also T&T's largest-ever margin of victory in the regional four-day competition.

But the win was even sweeter because some of the key contributors were young players. "We had the youngsters coming through," said Ganga, "with Jason Mohammed getting a hundred, [Richard] Kelly coming and playing an excellent [first] innings as well, [Amit] Jaggernauth and Dave Mohammed the two spin twins doing their job, so it's good to see the youngsters pulling the team out of a situation that was very, very dicey."

Jason Mohammed, the middle-order batsman and recent West Indies Under-19 representative, deservedly pipped his namesake Dave for the Man-of-the-Match prize. Jason's unbeaten first-innings 124 was the difference between T&T getting into a position of authority and being forced to chase the game.

But spinner Dave's match haul of ten for 92 further enhanced his best-ever season for T&T and underlined his credentials for higher representation. His work and the collective effort of the others prompted Williams to say: "All along we've been playing good cricket. This is just the continuation of the hard work that we have put in. So as the coach I'm pretty satisfied and I'm sure that we are going to go on and win this final."

Ganga, who did his part with a second innings 161, was pleased with the collective effort and then turned his attentions to next week's final at home. "We played like champions today," he said after the game. "To be able to beat a team in three and a little bit days, it's very important for us to send the right message."

Attentions turned to next week's final at home. " We're not going to get complacent. We know this is an opportunity for us to make history and to set a path that no other Trinidad and Tobago team has achieved. So it's something that we are all hungry for. We know that whoever it is, whether it is Barbados or Guyana, it's going to be a tough task. It's a final, so everybody is gonna be coming with their A game."

But premier batsman Brian Lara is expected to rejoin the squad after missing this match, although Jason Mohammed should be retained, according to Ganga. "Playing in his second game, he has showed a great amount of maturity. I'm definitely sure he's going to be involved in the final, so he's just got to go from strength to strength."

In his team's quest to complete the four-day double of Carib Beer Cup and Challenge titles come Saturday at Guaracara, Williams would like to see one thing improve. "We dropped a couple catches, but that's how it goes sometimes. We probably need to do a bit more work in terms of our fielding."