Tridents, the defending champions, have started on a high, winning both their matches in the tournament to date but Red Steel head coach Simon Helmot believes his charges have the ability to bring this successful run to an end in the 8:00 pm encounter at Kensington Oval.
“They’ve won their two first scheduled matches, and they are the team to beat especially on their home turf in front of their home crowd. However, I think the wicket and the ground are certainly going to suit our style of play. We have a good combination of spin and pace and a batting outfit which I think can match any team,” Helmot said yesterday.
“Like any game of T20, you just need to play at your best and execute your skills as best you can. I thought we were a little off with our bowling execution in [the opening game] and I think the intensity in the field was probably lacking in that first half of the last match where I thought we came back quite well and the catches and run-outs were taken.
“If we can play to the best of our ability I’m sure we can match it here and beat the Tridents.”
Red Steel’s campaign got off to a rocky start on Sunday when their opening game against St Lucia Zouks ended in a no-result, after rain ended the contest prematurely.
Set 180 for victory at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium in St Lucia, Red Steel were 10 without loss after five deliveries, when the game was washed out by heavy rain.
Despite this setback, Helmot said Red Steel were still in high spirits.
“We have a fantastic unit. There’s a lot of fun and enjoyment, lots of smiles and laughter as well as some serious hard work,” Helmot said.
“We had a fantastic session yesterday at Kensington Oval where the guys worked very hard … the guys enjoy playing under lights in front of capacity crowds and they are really pumped and ready for tomorrow’s game.
“We’re fortunate, we believe we have depth in our squad that can be picked at any time depending on the opposition that we’re playing. We’re very confident but we’re certainly very respectful to the talent and depth of the opposition.”
Tridents have been superb, beating Guyana Amazon Warriors by 49 runs last Saturday in the tournament’s curtain-raiser before seeing off Jamaica Tallawahs by 16 runs on Tuesday.
On both occasions they won the toss, batted first and then defended their totals admirably, but Helmot believes Red Steel are capable of putting the hosts under pressure.
“I think the Tridents are obviously very good depth-wise in their batting order. Like ourselves, they’ve got a good mix of pace and spin and they’re well led,” he pointed out.
“Kieron Pollard has been a successful captain and successful player in many formats all around the world. He’s coming off success last year in the CPL and he also backed it up with a win with the IPL with Mumbai. Kieron is not only a great player in his own right but he’s also been a leader in successful teams.”
He added: “We believe that, like with any team, if you can put them under some pressure, make sure we’re really aggressive in the field and show real desire and intensity, we can put pressure on their batting unit.
“Whenever you play a good side, you can’t afford to be bogged down, you can’t afford to be dictated to, so we’ll be looking to put our strategy in place so the game can be played on our terms.”
Red Steel will depend on the all-round talents of South African star Jacques Kallis, his compatriot Cameron Delport and aggressive Pakistani batsman Kamran Akmal.
The Bravo brothers, Darren and Dwayne, along with leg-spinner Samuel Badree, will also be key to any Red Steel victory.