Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
All-rounder Andre Russell is backing St Catherine CC to defeat Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), in their Jamaica Cricket Association JAMT20 semi-final encounter at Kensington Park today.
Set for a 2:00 p.m. bowl off, the match will be the second of a double-header at the venue with the first being a showdown between Westmoreland and newcomers University of Technology (UTech) at 10:00 a.m.
Russell, who earlier this week returned from West Indies 'A' duties in India, is set to join Danza Hyatt, Tamar Lambert, Gavin Wallace and Wayne Morgan in their pursuits for victory.
"We have a fairly good team," the St Catherine all-rounder commented.
"We have few youngsters who are playing with a big heart, and coupled with experienced players like myself, Hyatt and Lambert, we know we can beat JDF," he declared.
St Catherine, who were beaten in last year's final by Manchester, qualified for the final four after getting the better of favourites Melbourne by 12 runs last weekend.
JDF, meanwhile, defeated first-timers University of the West Indies by five wickets to book their spot.
Rasheed Outar batting
Leading the way for the lawmen was former national Under-19 batsman Rasheed Outar, who scored an unbeaten 58 in their moderate run chase of 130.
Outar is again set to lead their batting along with player-coach Wayne Cuff, Bereston Reid and captain Joseph Palmer.
Their bowling is set to be led by former national Under-19 left-arm wrist spinner Dennis Bulli and off-spinner Akbar Moodie.
West Indies 'A' left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cotterell, who recently returned from India due to a knee injury, is, according to Palmer, also a possibility.
"He (Cotterell) is recovering, but we don't know if he can play as yet," said Palmer.
"We will have to talk to him, to know how he is feeling exactly, and after that a decision will be taken."
Palmer also outlined that JDF has been preparing well for the clash, and they are confident of advancing to the final.
"I think we have prepared well enough, and once we go out there and do our best, we know we can come out victorious," he said.
The first semi-final will see UTech starting as slight favourites.
UTech defeated the fancied St Elizabeth with Jerome Taylor and Darren Powell in their quarter-final and have in their line-up national players David Bernard Jr, Andrew Richardson, and Jon-Ross Campbell.
Westmoreland, however, who made it to the final of the All-Island Limited Overs competition in June, and defeated the Xavier Marshall-led St Ann to advance, are no pushovers, and are expected to put up a strong fight.
They will be led by national pacer Jason Dawes, and former national Under-19 players all-rounder Ziggy Levy and batsman Veneil Bromfield.
The final will be played at the same venue tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.