Jamaica eye T&T scalp
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica will put their unbeaten record on the line when they take on title-favourites Trinidad and Tobago in the first semi-final of the WICB NAGICO Insurance Super50 at Queen's Park Oval, in Trinidad today.
The contest, which is set to bowl off at 1 p.m. (local time), will see the David Bernard Jr-led Jamaicans looking to add to their impressive résumé of three wins in the zonal stages.
Their victories came against outgoing champions Windward Islands, guest team Ireland and Guyana, who will play Barbados in the second semi-final tomorrow at the same venue.
Trinidad, in the meanwhile, will be looking to build on back-to-back victories against the Leeward Islands and the Combined Campuses and Colleges after coming out on the losing end against Barbados in their opening showdown.
GOING ALL THE WAY
"It's good to be in the semi-final. However, our intention is to go all the way," said Bernard Jr.
"It has so far been an all-round team effort, with our batsmen putting up some good scores, and our bowlers providing the ideal back-up.
"We just need to go out now and execute, and once we do that, I am confident that we will come out on top," he added.
Jamaica, champions two seasons ago, are likely to stick with the batting line-up that has brought them success thus far, while their bowling is expected to be a toss-up for what is expected to be two specialist fast bowling spots.
In the opening position, 20-year-old John Campbell, who made 71 against Ireland in their second game, and Horace Miller, who has scores of nine, 18 and six, are expected to open the batting.
They are expected to be followed by the stroke-playing Nkrumah Bonner, who scored 122 not out against Guyana to boast the tournament's highest individual total thus far, and the experienced Tamar Lambert, who got 83 in the first game against Windwards.
Middle-order batsman André McCarthy, who also in the first game tallied 93, is expected to come next with all-rounders, David Bernard Jr and André Russell, wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr, and spinner Nikita Miller set to sure up the back end.
As it relates to the fast bowlers, coach Junior Bennett is expected to find himself having to choose between the returning Jerome Taylor, the experienced Andrew Richardson, and West Indies rookie, Sheldon Cottrell.
Trinidad and Tobago's coach Kelvin Williams, in the meantime, believes his players are growing in confidence ahead of the semi-final showdown.
Williams says his players are not ruffled by the rampaging Jamaicans, who are without two of their top players.
"I think to win the tournament we have to beat everybody that is in front of us," declared Williams.
"Jamaica will be a good game because they're three-out-of-three (in Zone A) and they're the form team. At the end of the day, it's what happens on the day that counts and we're growing in confidence".
Williams has expressed confidence in his new batting opening pair of Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons.
Lewis scored a 27-ball 44, while Simmons scored a 41-ball 31 to help Trinidad defeat Combined Campuses and Colleges in their last match.
"We tried something (changing the line-up) and it worked," he said.
"I was quite pleased with what I saw. We were confident that Evin would come good last night (Sunday)."