PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):The Bravo brothers, Darren and Dwayne, produced career bests in regional Twenty20, to propel Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel to a convincing 27-run victory over Jamaica Tallawahs in the first semi-final of the Caribbean Premier League on Thursday.Opting to bat first at the Queen’s Park Oval, Red Steel were fired to 152 for six off their 20 overs by Darren Bravo’s unbeaten 86, with Jason Mohammed chipping in with 28.In reply, Tallawahs crashed from a position of 97 for two in the 14th over to 125 all out, losing their last eight wickets for 28 runs in the space of 37 deliveries.The architect of their demise was captain Dwayne Bravo, who grabbed five for 23 with his medium pace to wreck the innings.Wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton top-scored with 31 and talismanic opener and captain Chris Gayle got 30, but they were only two of three batsmen to pass 20, with Jermaine Blackwood chiming in with 23.Red Steel will now clash with last year’s losing finalists, Guyana Amazon Warriors, in the second semi-final today for a place in tomorrow’s final against reigning champions Barbados Tridents.The hosts owed their total to Darren Bravo’s brilliance, especially after they slumped to 18 for three in the fourth over, following fast bowler Jerome Taylor’s early burst.Left-arm Krishmar Santokie bowled Cameron Delport with the sixth delivery of the game for one and Taylor followed up, removing South African Jacques Kallis for six to a catch by Andre Russell at mid-off in the second over before having Kamran Akmal caught at mid-wicket for six, clipping a full toss to Mahela Jayawardene in the fourth over.Bravo set about the repair work, putting on 80 for the fourth wicket with Mohammed, who struck two fours and a six off 25 balls.The left-handed Bravo faced 63 balls and counted four fours and six sixes, and single-handedly carried the innings once Mohammed perished in the 15th over.In reply, Gayle gave the Jamaica innings a rousing start, blasting medium pacer Kallis for a pair of sixes in the fourth over, as he put on 38 off 27 balls with Jayawardene, who scored 16.The left-hander was looking ominous, having struck two fours and three sixes off 23 balls, when he top-edged a slog at off-spinner Johan Botha and skied a catch back to the bowler in the fifth over.Jayawardene survived a chance on nine in the next over to add 28 for the second wicket with Walton before suffering misfortune when he was given out caught at first slip by Kallis.Television replays showed that the ball struck the batsman’s arm as he attempted the reverse sweep at left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn in the ninth over.Walton and Blackwood then posted 33 for the third wicket to help Jamaica control the game. Walton faced 30 deliveries and counted three fours while Blackwood hit two sixes – both in the 11th over from Benn – in a 22-ball innings.Jamaica seemed poised to take control when Dwayne Bravo removed Blackwood to a catch at long-off in his second over and then followed up by bowling the dangerous Andre Russell for six in his next over, the 16th of the innings.Red Steel then turned the screws and Tallawahs wilted as Dwayne Bravo ran through the lower order.
Coach Andrew Price is counting on his experienced players to lead the team to the knockout stage in the upcoming CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship in the Bahamas. Price who has cut the squad to 12 from 30 players is confident that they can advance from Group A. “We have played against the other teams in the past. We beat Belize 8-4 when the teams met in the group stage two years ago in this tournament. We also beat Guyana six years ago in the only meeting, and defeated Bahamas twice in three meetings,” Price told The Gleaner yesterday ahead of the team’s departure this morning. “The final 12 are players with grit and determination. We are optimistic of reaching the quarter-final as we did two years ago, and take it from there,” he added. The 2017 CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship will include a field of 16 teams. During the first four days of the championship, teams will compete in round-robin play in four groups of four teams each. Group A – Bahamas, Jamaica, Belize and Guyana. Group B – Mexico, Barbados, Canada and Guadeloupe. Group C – United States, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda and US Virgin Islands. Group D – El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and Turks & Caicos Islands. The winners and runners-up from each group will advance to the quarter-finals. The champions and the runners-up of the competition will join hosts Bahamas as the three CONCACAF representatives at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas 2017, which kicks off in April. Jamaica will open against Belize on Monday, then play against Guyana on Tuesday,and complete their group fixtures on Wednesday against hosts Bahamas. The squad: Kirk Porter, Edsel Scott, Daemion Benjamin, Ryon Powell, Gerald Neil, Michily Waul, Derrick Planter, Andre Reid, Jermain Anderson, Rohan Reid, Gregory Simpson and Phillip Peddie.