KNIGHT RIDERS WIN CPL TITLE
The Trinbago Knight Riders brought great joy to this nation in September with victory in the 2017 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 final at the newly opened Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba.
In front a capacity crown, with Brian Lara also in attendance, the home team were struggling at 90 for seven after 14.2 overs in chase of 136 for victory against Chris Gayle and the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
However, bowling all-rounder Kevon Cooper came to the middle to rescue the Knight Riders with a match winning unbeaten 29 off 14 deliveries. Cooper showed why he is nicknamed “Super Cooper,” belting two fours and two sixes to propel the Knight Riders to 136/7 with an over to spare. It was tears of joy for Cooper after he helped the TT franchise win its second CPL title in the tournament’s five-year history.
The Knight Riders, led by Dwayne Bravo, looked like a champion team from the start of the tournament and continued an impressive run of form for the entire tournament. The Knight Riders ended the preliminary round of the tournament with eight wins and two losses from 10 matches. The only hiccup by the Knight Riders was in qualifier one when they lost by 38 runs to the Patriots. The Knight Riders took advantage of its second chance to qualify for the final, defeating the Guyana Amazon Warriors by six wickets in qualifier two to later exact their revenge.
WEST INDIES CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE
It was another tough year for West Indies in Test cricket as the team lost series to Pakistan, England and New Zealand. The only series West Indies won was a 1-0 win over lowly Zimbabwe in a two-match Test series.
In One-Day International cricket, the regional team was just as poor. West Indies suffered ODI series defeats to England (twice), Pakistan, India and New Zealand. The regional side also had the ignominy of drawing a series 1-1 against minnows Afghanistan. It was no surprise that the Jason Holder-led team did not qualify for the 2019 World Cup and will have to sneak through with qualifiers in March next year.
West Indies were competitive in T20 cricket, defeating Afghanistan in a series, while getting past India in a lone T20 and also outlasting England in a lone T20 contest. However, West Indies lost to Pakistan.
DARREN BRAVO/DAVE CAMERON MEND FENCES
West Indies left-handed top order batsman Darren Bravo and president of Cricket West Indies Dave Cameron ended an eight-month feud which saw the former sidelined from West Indies and the TT Red Force cricket teams.
In November 2016, Bravo called Cameron a “big idiot” on Twitter after the latter made inaccurate remarks on SportsMax concerning Bravo’s retainer contract while saying he was under performing.
West Indies suspended Bravo for the comment and he was not allowed to represent West Indies and the TT Red Force.
In July 2017, Bravo and Cameron both apologised for the situation and the West Indies batsman was free to represent West Indies and the Red Force again but did not for the rest of the year.
TT RED FORCE
The Red Force did not win any titles in 2017. In the Regional Super50 tournament the local team fell by 292 runs in the semifinals to Jamaica. In the 2016/2017 Regional Four-Day tournament, the Red Force finished third on the six-team standings behind second placed Barbados and champions Guyana.
TT RED FORCE DIVAS CLINCH REGIONAL 50-OVER TITLE
In April, the TT Red Force Divas retained the Women’s Regional Super50 title with a 21-run win over Barbados in the final in St Vincent.
The petite Felicia Walters displayed a performance three times her size to guide the Divas to the victory. Walters struck 53 to help TT to 164 all out in 46 overs. Defending the modest total, TT looked towards Walters and she delivered again.
Walters took 3/25 to limit Barbados to 143 all out in 45.5 overs to seal the title.
LARA STADIUM OPENS IN GRAND STYLE
More than 10 years after the stadium was scheduled to open, the fans at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba could not ask for a more fitting opening.
To celebrate the opening of the south venue, a T20 match between a Brian Lara XI and an International XI was held in May. Lara, who retired in 2007, looked like a batsman still in the prime of his career when he scored 44 to thrill the spectators at the venue.
Lara’s knock of 44 off 33 deliveries, which included two fours and four sixes, led his team to a convincing eight-wicket win. The International XI scored 143 for five, before the Lara TT XI scored 146/2 in 16.5 overs.
HURRICANE RELIEF CHARITY T20 MATCH
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria created havoc in Caribbean islands such as Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. To help raise funds for those affected by the hurricanes, a TT Red Force team and a Regional XI played a Hurricane Relief Charity T20 match at the Queen’s Park Oval in St Clair, in October.
Other than coming out for a good cause, fans got the opportunity to see an almost full strength Red Force team with the likes of captain Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin and Sunil Narine. The Regional XI included Darren Sammy, Jamaican track and field athlete Yohan Blake and Dominican Shane Shillingford. In a high scoring match, the Regional XI scored 217/8, before limiting the Red Force to 206 all out in 19.5 overs to prevail by 11 runs.
No TTCB AGM
A legal battle over the constitution of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) continues to leave the local sport in uncertainty. A postponement of the 2016 AGM still has not been resolved and the matter is before the courts. Former West Indies cricketers Dinanath Ramnarine and Daren Ganga are advocating for a “one club, one vote” system and an end to the 12 outgoing votes enjoyed by reigning TTCB boss Azim Bassarath.