Campbell leads Scorpions revival
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
Captain John Campbell struck his first half-century of the tournament as Jamaica Scorpions overcame a dodgy start to their run chase, to edge ICC Americas by a single wicket in the final-round game of the Regional Super50 here yesterday.
In pursuit of a tricky 254 at the National Cricket Centre, Scorpions stumbled to 23 for two in the third over before recovering to reach their target in the 46th over.
The left-handed Campbell was behind the recovery, stroking a top score of 82 off 74 balls and anchoring two successive half-century stands.
He put on 55 with AndrÈ McCarthy, who scored 24, and added a further 70 for the fourth wicket with Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who made 30.
Brandon King hit a crucial 27 before tail-ender Marquino Mindley weighed in with an invaluable unbeaten 24 in a 39-run, unbroken last-wicket stand with wicketkeeper Aldaine Thomas (14 not out), to see their side over the line.
Off-spinner Nitish Kumar finished with three for 50, while fast bowler Hammad Shahid had (2-32) and Muhammad Khan (2-46).
The victory drew Scorpions level with Barbados Pride on 14 points and put pressure on them to win their day-night encounter against unbeaten title-holders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in order to qualify for the semi-finals.
Scorpions themselves were put under pressure by an impressive display from the Americas batsmen, who racked up 253 for eight off their 50 overs for their best total of the tournament.
Opting to bat first, they were powered by opener Ruvindu Gunasekara's 87, while the in-form Srimantha Wijeyeratne carved out 45 and Nitish Kumar, 43.
Hamza Tariq then unleashed a whirlwind 14-ball 35 at the death to pile even more headache on Scorpions.
They started shakily with Steven Taylor (9) and Akeem Dodson (6) removed with 51 runs on the board in the 15th over.
The left-handed Gunasekara then led the revival, stroking eight fours and three sixes in an innings requiring 121 balls. Kumar followed suit, hammering three fours off 62 deliveries.
Together, they added an entertaining 99 for the third wicket.
Both fell within three overs of each other, but the Americas refused to let up, with Wijeyeratne pummelling six fours and a six off 28 balls and Tariq playing fearlessly as well.
West Indies left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell picked up three wickets, but gave up 57 runs off his seven overs, while pacer Mindley was also expensive, taking two for 69.
Scorpions were then rattled early, with opener Jermaine Harrison (4) and Guyanese Trevon Griffith (8) falling cheaply with 23 runs on the board in the fourth over.
They recovered well through Campbell's enterprise, the opener striking eight fours and two sixes in an attacking knock.
Cruising at 148 for three, Scorpions lost three quick wickets for 34 runs to slide to 182 for six in the 30th over. King and Devon Thomas (21) then put on a crucial 35 for the seventh wicket, before the innings was plunged into more turmoil when three wickets tumbled in the space of seven balls without a run added.
Tottering on 218 for nine in the 36th over, the odds were against the Scorpions, but Mindley and Aldaine Thomas held their nerve well.