Sun | Feb 16, 2020

Scorpions, Volcanoes heat up Sabina today

Published:Thursday | January 16, 2020 | 12:33 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Scorpions players celebrate the fall of a Windward Islands Volcanoes wicket on the second day of their Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day match at Sabina Park last season on Saturday, January 5, 2019.
Jamaica Scorpions players celebrate the fall of a Windward Islands Volcanoes wicket on the second day of their Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day match at Sabina Park last season on Saturday, January 5, 2019.

The Jamaica Scorpions will play their first home game of the 2020 Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Championship when they host the Windward Islands Volcanoes at Sabina Park starting today.

The Andre Coley-coached Scorpions are coming off a morale-boosting draw in their first match against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, this after they had to contend with injuries to all-rounder Alwyn Williams and spinner Dennis Bulli during the game.

With Williams, Bulli, and Rovman Powell out, the Scorpions have recalled batsman Nkrumah Bonner as well as brought off-spinner Jamie Merchant and batsman Oraine Williams into the squad.

For the Volcanoes, they will welcome back the services of batsman Sunil Ambris, who was part of the Windies squad during the recent One-Day International series against Ireland.

The second-round encounter between the sides is expected to produce a winner as the 10 previous matchups have produced a result, with the Scorpions winning six of the 10 matches with four out of five at Sabina Park.

HUGE RESPONSIBILITY

It will be the first home game for new coach Andre Coley, who knows very well what is at stake.

“It is a huge responsibility leading the national team, and it is important that we live up to our expectations,” Coley said. “What is important to me is that we continue to show the kind of fight that we did in Trinidad, and once we do that, we should get a positive result.”

Coley hinted that he may go with a ­double-spin combination of Merchant and Patrick Harty Jr to back up the seamers to get the right balance that will bring them 20 wickets. The batting should once again revolve around the tournament’s leading run scorer in Paul Palmer, who has garnered 166 runs in two innings, while Jermaine Blackwood, captain John Campbell, and Assad Fudadin are expected to come up trumps once again.

“We are more experienced in the batting department, but our bowlers are learning quickly, and that is a good sign,” Coley said. “I know it is going to be a competitive match, but once we start in front and finish in front, we should get the result we desire.”

Volcanoes head coach Andrew Richardson says his team is oozing with confidence following their morale-­boosting win over Barbados. They will be ­banking on the experience of veteran batsmen Devon Smith and Kirk Edwards, along with off-spinner Shane Shillingford, who needs just six wickets to get to 100 against the Jamaicans.

For Richardson, the plan is simple: just go out and do the basics right.

“It’s the second round of the championship, and we are not going to get ahead of ourselves too much,” he said. “All I hope my team does is just to stay focused, do the simple things right, and limit our mistakes. Everyone is in good touch, fit, and ready to go.”

The first ball in the match bowls off at 10 a.m.