TRINBAGO Knight Riders captain Dwayne Bravo has brushed off Sunday night’s emphatic six-wicket defeat to the Guyana Amazon Warriors at Providence Stadium in Guyana in the final preliminary match of the Hero Caribbean Premier League. The Warriors, propelled by a 20 year old Sherfane Rutherford (42 off 13 balls) and 21 year old Shimron Hetmyer (59 - three fours, five sixes), blazed an under-strength Knight Riders bowling attack missing the rested Sunil Narine and Ali Khan. Speaking to the media after the loss, Bravo acknowledged the Amazon Warriors gave them “something to think” about for tonight’s game which bowls off 6pm at Providence but he is not worried at all.
The teams meet again for the third time in the tournament with a place in Sunday’s final at the Brian Lara Academy up for grabs. The loser will get another shot on Friday – the benefit of finishing the preliminary round in the top two.
“No concern...we win seven and loss three and still on top the table. We win six in a row so it’s good to lose a game because we will just get more hungry and we’re looking forward to defend our title,” Bravo said. The allrounder downplayed the factor the notoriously raucous Guyanese crowd will have tonight as TKR have reduced the decibel at the stadium in the past and can do it again.
“It’s always a good contest here in Guyana, but we’ve come here and we’ve silenced this crowd before, so it’s nothing new. Most of us play in front of big crowds; yes the crowd is their twelfth man and they will give the home team that extra boost, but we know how to play in front of big crowds and we know how to silence people as well. Let’s see how it goes, I’m not gonna say it’s gonna be a walk in the park, it’s gonna be another good game,” he declared.
Chris Green, skipper of Guyana Amazon Warriors, was quick to point out the head-to-head record is now even with both teams winning their home games. He said Sunday’s victory on Guyanese soil augurs well for the Amazon Warriors even if Narine and Khan return as anticipated to the TKR line-up.
“I think if you look at the game in Trinidad and the game tonight, it’s one-all and we know the goal is to be playing at Brian Lara Stadium on Sunday....We know they are gonna have a few changes, we expect Narine to come back in and the same with Ali Khan, but I don’t think much changes for us. We’ve got to continue to focus on ourselves, our game, our group and the family we’ve created for the Warriors team.
“It’s gonna be a really exciting contest. Tonight was a spectacle and I expect the same for Tuesday. Personally, I’m excited and looking forward to the playoff and we get the opportunity for getting straight through to the final,” Green said.
Bravo, looking back to Sunday’s match, hinted the decision to rest two key players was not done due to any preference in facing the Warriors instead of Jamaica Tallawahs in tonight’s qualifier.
“To win titles you have to beat everybody...You have to play whichever team is in front of you, so it doesn’t really matter,” he said.
The experienced 34 year old refused to offer any indication what TKR’s final 11 will look like tonight but he praised Kevon Cooper for his cameo with the bat which helped TKR get to 154 for seven in their 20 overs. Cooper, in just his second match this season, came to the crease with TKR struggling on 109/5 in the 16th over, before cracking three fours and three sixes in a brisk 30 off 14 balls to give the innings a much-needed lift at the end.
“All the players have that opportunity to get selected. Kevon Cooper is one of our most senior players. He’s been struggling with his bowling action (and) when he got picked he got injured with his hamstring. We’re just trying to bring him back to the fray cautiously, but his innings tonight showed what he is capable of. With the ball, he’s still working on his action and needs confidence with the ball. We haven’t selected the final eleven as yet but this is a team that anyone can play on any given day and we are all match winners,” he said.