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JDF, Melbourne battle for Senior Cup today

Published:Saturday | April 13, 2019 | 12:17 AMOrville Higgins/Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Defence Force’s Dennis Bulli will lead their bowling attack against Melbourne Cricket Club in the Senior Cup final at Sabina Park today.
The Jamaica Defence Force’s Dennis Bulli will lead their bowling attack against Melbourne Cricket Club in the Senior Cup final at Sabina Park today.

The two-day Senior Cup final between the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Melbourne Cricket Club, set to start today at Sabina Park, is expected to produce a riveting contest. The teams are relatively evenly matched, and the game could go right down to the wire.

The JDF will be hoping that their batting order will withstand the barrage of spin that Melbourne is expected to throw at them. Their top order of Jermaine Harrison, Marlon Saunders, Deechmar Saunders, who scored a century in the semi-final, Kevin Daley and Marlon Pinnock will need to put big numbers on the board to combat a Melbourne batting line-up that may be slightly better in terms of quality and form. JDF skipper Leighton Leslie and left arm unorthodox bowler Dennis Bulli are also expected to add handy runs in the lower middle order.

Melbourne will be hoping that left-arm seamer Salome Parnell will make early inroads, but it is with their slow bowling that they expect to do most of the damage. The boys from Courtney Walsh Drive have a triumvirate of left-arm spinners in Christopher Lamont, Raewin Senior, and Sanjay Brown, who all could make life difficult for the army men. Yannick Elliott and Andre McCarthy both bowl competent off-spin deliveries and can be match winners on their day as well.

The long and efficient Melbourne batting line-up could present headaches for the JDF bowlers. Melbourne coach Andrew Richardson alluded to this.

“All our top five batsmen have scored a century this season and are in good form,” he said. “We are in good spirits and very confident.” That top five is Abijhai Mansingh; Tariq Whyte; skipper Javell Glenn; the competition’s leading run scorer, Aldane Thomas, who made 114 in the semi-final last week; and Senior. McCarthy, a long-standing national batsman, has had a relatively quiet season, but he could use the final to remind everyone of his quality.

The JDF’s bowling will be led by the ever-dangerous Bulli. Left-arm pacer Tyrone Burton is the leading wicket taker for the soldiers this season, and he will have a big part to play. The express pace of Andre Dennis could prove a handful for the Melbourne batsmen, and the left-arm spin of Shamarie Brown could also come in handy. Their captain, Leslie, is also expected to be among the wickets with his swing and pace.

Melbourne may just have a slight edge in terms of quality, but the JDF has been known to play steadfast, common-sense cricket, and handle pressure as well as any team in the land. JDF manager Major Aubyn Sibbles is quietly confident.

“JDF are in the final because the guys worked hard to be there,” he said. “Success will come once the team plays its brand of cricket.” Match time is 10 a.m.