Scorpions, Pride in crucial clash
Title-chasers Jamaica Scorpions and Barbados Pride will square-off in a crucial encounter in the penultimate set of matches of the group phase of the WICB/NAGICO Insurance Super50 Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago today.
Second and third, respectively, in Group A with 10 and nine points each, the two will enter the contest knowing that a win for eight team would all but secure them a place in the semi-finals.
Group leaders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, who oppose cellar dwellers ICC America, are presently on 17 points and have already qualified for the semi-finals.
"It's a (virtual) must-win for both of us, so I guess they (Barbados) will be playing it like a final and we will be doing the same," Jamaica's captain, John Campbell, said yesterday.
The return-led round-robin fixture will see both teams entering the contest with a win two, lose two record, with Jamaica ahead based on having two bonus points compared to Barbados' one.
The Scorpions, however, can claim bragging rights, having defeated Barbados by two wickets when the two met earlier this week.
Led by a man-of-the-match bowling performance of three for 18 from left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell, Jamaica bowled out the Pride for a mere 138 before replying with 139 for eight.
The in-form Andre McCarthy, who also has a tournament century, and Antiguan Devon Thomas led the batting for the Scorpions with 49 and 33, respectively.
However, with the end of the Australian Test series both teams have been strengthened with the return of West Indies players to their line-ups.
Barbados has been injected with seven players - Jason Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Carlos Brathwaite, Shane Dowich, Miguel Cummins, and Jomel Warrican, while Jamaica will benefit from the return of Jerome Taylor and Jermaine Blackwood.
"They have got back all their players from Australia, and have a better squad, and are also coming off a win, so they should be confident," remarked Campbell.
"But we are not too concerned," he said. "We have seen signs of improvement throughout the tournament, and, it is just for us to put it together."
Jamaica will play the Americas and Barbados will tackle Trinidad in the final set of group matches scheduled for Sunday.
The semi-finals will be played next Wednesday and Thursday, with the final carded for next Saturday, all at Queen's Park Oval.