January 20, 2013
Start time 2000 (0000GMT)
Fittingly, the final of the last edition of the Caribbean T20 (due to be replaced by a franchise-based Caribbean Premier League) will be played by Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana, the two teams who have shared the title on the previous five occasions. They contested the 2006 final of the Stanford 20/20 (as the tournament was called in the first two years), with Guyana winning with a ball to spare. Guyana then regained the crown in 2010. T&T won the title for the first time in 2008 and have been the defending champions for the last two years.
Yet both teams have taken contrasting paths to success over the years. Guyana have always surprised the form sheet with cavalier displays, like the determined effort from Christopher Barnwell against Jamaica on Saturday in the play-off. In contrast, T&T have subdued their opponents convincingly through consistent performances.
T&T were the only team not to lose a single match during the preliminary round, which they topped with 21 points, to book a final berth about a week in advance. In contrast, Guyana had to sweat late into Saturday night. That only reveals their desperation right through, including two last-ball victories.
T&T have looked more assured on both the batting and bowling fronts, with more than one match-winner in their ranks. Darren Bravo has been the tournament's leading scorer, including three consecutive fifties, and has looked more dominant with every match. Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard have played around him to consolidate later. Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree have posed many difficult questions to the opposition batsmen, bowling aggressive lines throughout to maintain the pressure built by the batsmen. For Guyana, barring Barnwell and Steven Jacobs, the rest have remained inconsistent.
A big factor that could give T&T an upper hand is the fact that they enter the final on the back of a four-day break. Expect them to be more fresh and agile. In comparison, the final will be Guyana's fifth straight match in six days but, having won their last three games, they may fancy momentum being on their side.
(most recent first, completed matches only)
Trinidad & Tobago WWWWW
In the spotlight
Darren Bravo might be the tournament's leading scorer but "young" Bravo, as he is popularly known, understands that he needs to show his spark in the biggest match, the final. He has spoken about the team management giving him the responsibility of playing until the end, so look out for him to play the finisher's role. Bravo failed to accomplish the same for West Indies during the one-day series in Bangladesh and would like to play a more dominant role during the forthcoming ODI series in Australia.
After Christopher Barnwell's match-winning innings in the play-off, he galloped to No. 2 on the run charts, behind Darren Bravo. Powerful wrists allied to smart thinking have allowed Barnwell to throw opposition plans into disarray at important moments and he can be expected to stand up to a stiff challenge once again on Sunday. Even with the ball in hand, Barnwell has shown good presence of mind: he has been accurate without feeding the batsman's strengths as he showed against Chris Gayle on Saturday.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul ran on to the field joyously to hug his team-mates after Guyana's spirited victory against Jamaica to make the final. Does that mean Chanderpaul, who had pulled a leg muscle and had to abort his batting in the victory against Windward Islands on Friday, is fit for Sunday's summit clash? If he is not Trevon Griffith, who shared a match-turning partnership with Barnwell should retain his spot.
Guyana (probable) 1 Derwin Christian (wk), 2 Shivnarine Chanderpaul/Trevon Griffith, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Christopher Barnwell, 5 Narsingh Deonarine, 6 Leon Johnson, 7 Royston Crandon, 8 Steven Jacobs, 9 Veerasammy Permaul (capt), 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Ronsford Beaton
T&T are likely to play the same team as in their final league match, barring any injuries.
Trinidad & Tobago (probable) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Denesh Ramdin, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Yannick Ottley, 8 Rayad Emrit, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Shannon Gabriel
Stats and trivia
Guyana's victory against Jamaica was the biggest successful chase in the history of Caribbean T20 in six editions.
T&T batsmen have scored five half-centuries, the most by any team.
Sunil Narine is the most economical bowler in the tournament with an economy rate of 3.85 (more than two overs).
Guyana have won the tournament twice and, coincidentally, both times they scraped past the finishing line with just one ball to spare.
"We had a bad game in the earlier round against Trinidad & Tobago. Hopefully our bowlers will bowl in the right areas and restrict them to a right total. It is a big final."
Christopher Barnwell, the Guyana allrounder, gets ready for one last match
"The boys have been working on specific areas of their game over the last few days and the time away from matches has allowed us the time to assess our game again and see what we need to enhance."
T&T team manager, Omar Khan, says his team have used their time off well