Cricket Sports

Tridents clash crucial test for TKR, says Pollard

(CMC) Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard has labelled Thursday’s clash with Barbados Tridents as a “big game”, and says it will be a crucial test for the two-time reigning champions after going winless in their last two outings.

After strolling to victories their first four games of the campaign, TKR went down to St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a dramatic ‘super-over’ in Basseterre eight days ago, before taking just one point from their clash with St Lucia Zouks following a washout in Gros Islet four days later.

“We’re looking forward to it. It is a big game for us as a team,” Pollard told a media conference here Wednesday.

“We just want to play cricket. We haven’t been playing in the last couple days or so [so] we want to get on the park, get the sweat on our backs so we’re looking forward to that obviously. 

“I think as a team we’re hungry. We’re looking forward to getting on the park and trying to get some runs for the batsmen and wickets for the bowlers and try and test to see where we are now coming into the back end of the tournament. 

“We’re looking forward to it, hoping the rain stays away and we can actually get on the park and play some cricket.”

TKR, the pre-tournament favourites, lie second on nine points behind unbeaten leaders Guyana Amazon Warriors and will qualify for the playoffs with a victory.

In contrast, Barbados have lost four of their six outings, including their first two home games after going down to Jamaica Tallawahs on Sunday and Guyana Amazon Warriors the following night.

And Pollard said TKR were bracing for a strong backlash from the hosts.

“Barbados are in a different scenario. They are coming to beat us so that’s exactly how you want it to be,” he pointed out. “So it’s just a matter of two teams with players going onto the cricket field to fight it out.”

Pollard will be well acquainted with the Kensington Oval venue, having led Tridents for five years including overseeing their capture of the 2014 title.

He shipped out to Zouks last year before returning to his native franchise for the current season but said he was unfazed by any hostile reception from the Oval crowd.

“I’ve played all around the world and when I play cricket on the field, what the crowd says doesn’t bother me,” he stressed.

“I’m a professional cricketer. I concentrate on that white ball and with the bat in hand, try to get my team over the line. Nothing is going to change. We’re playing here in Barbados and we’ve played here before.”

Tridents skipper Jason Holder said it was important Tridents broke their losing slide and stressed that the batting especially needed to step up if their fortunes were to improve.

“After the last game we were obviously very disappointed and the only thing we can do from here is look at the positives and definitely look at the areas which we need to touch up on,” said Holder, who oversaw the Tridents’ wretched run last season when they failed to win a single home game and eventually finished last.

“Obviously our batting is a bit of a concern to us, it hasn’t been consistent. We’ve done a lot of good things so far in this tournament, I think our bowling has been pretty tidy. 

“Looking at it holistically, we’ve got to play the complete game if there’s such a thing but I think we can be a lot tidier than we have been in the games so far. It’s just a matter of us to get the momentum going with us in terms of our batting, put up some better totals in terms of T20 cricket is concerned and give our bowlers a little bit more to defend.”

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