Big guns clash in Senior Cup semis
Red-hot Kingston CC and title-holders Melbourne CC will meet in one of two semi-finals of the two-day Jamaica Cricket Association Senior Cup at Chedwin Park, starting today.
The encounter, set to get underway at 10am each day, will see the duo playing to meet in the final either dethroned champions Jamaica Defence Force JDF or Westmoreland, who will face-off in the other semi-final at Sabina Park.
Guided by national captain, spinner Nikita Miller, and boasting several national players, the Kingston versus Melbourne semi-final will see the latter entering as slight favourites despite the firepower of their opponents.
The Andrew Richardson-conditioned Melbourne, have in their line-up Jamaica batsmen Andre McCarthy, Stephen Taylor, Trevon Griffith, who on their day can be match-winners.
This is in addition to their bowling unit, which led by Miller, also has the likes of leg-spinner Damion Jacobs and left-spinner, Chris Lamont.
However, captained by in-form batsman Brandon King, undefeated Kingston, has been the most consistent team of the competition, and heading into the contest are expected to be high on confidence.
Their batting, in addition to King, includes the tournament's leading runs-scorer, Garth Garvey, as well as exciting all-rounders, Derval Green and Fabian Allen, while their bowling will be led by national fast bowler Marquino Mindley and standout left-arm spinner, Paul Harrison.
"It should be closely contested encounter, as there is a lot of hype surrounding the clash,'' expressed Jacobs, who missed most of the season due to overseas engagements, but returns to bolster the squad.
"Kingston is by no means a weak opposition, but Melbourne is in very good form, we are hungry to defend our title, and will be giving it our all,'' he concluded.
At Sabina Park, spearheaded by the tournament's leading wicket-taker, left-arm wrist spinner, Dennis Bulli, the JDF are expected to get the better of surprise semi-finalists, Westmoreland.
The army men, in addition to Bulli, have the likes of national fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Reynard Leveridge leading their bowling line-up.
National batsman Jermaine Harrison, Rasheed Outar and veteran Joseph Palmer represents their trump batsmen.
Westmoreland, captained by former West Indies Under-19 captain and off-spinner Ramaal Lewis, has in their squad West Indies Under-19 World Cup-winning batsman Michael Frew, as well as former national youth representatives, all-rounder Shahid Crooks and wicketkeeper, Javoy Spence.
"We played them in the first round and should have won outright had not the rain intervened,'' assessed Outar.
"But this is a different stage now and a different match, so will have to again come with our ''A'' game.''
"We should be at full strength for the first time this season with Cottrell and Leveridge both being available, and we will be giving it our best shot.''