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Sting in the tail? - Scorpions in a positive frame of mind ahead of Pride do-or-die clash

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2021 | 12:23 AMLennox Aldred - Sunday Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Scorpions and the Barbados Pride will square off today at 12:30 p.m. Jamaica time at the Coolidge Cricket Ground to decide who will secure the last semi-final spot in the Regional Super50 tournament.

Both teams are on four points with one win and three losses, and the winner of the contest will automatically book their place in the final four, along with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, Guyana Jaguars and Windward Islands Volcanoes.

The Scorpions staved off elimination on Friday when they narrowly got the better of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes by six runs under the Duckworth Lewis method, thanks to an all-round performance from rookie Jeavor Royal.

The St Catherine CC player, who stroked an unbeaten 38, shared in a last-wicket stand of 85 with Fabian Allen, who top-scored with 44 to drag Jamaica back from the brink of disaster. The partnership set a new record for the last wicket, surpassing the 58 set by David Murray and Wayne Daniel for Barbados 40 years ago.

The 22-year-old Royal, playing just his sixth match at this level, then stepped in with his left-arm spin to return impressive figures of 2-31, off seven overs, as Leewards ended on 187-8 off 43 overs. He was named the CG Insurance Man of the Match.

After three rain breaks, the target was adjusted to 194 off 43 under the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern method, and the home side came up just short.

Head coach Andre Coley had high praises for his team’s gutsy effort, and is hoping that the win can inspire the team to come up trumps against the Bajans.

Glorious opportunity

“Everyone is in a positive frame of mind going into today’s match and this is a glorious opportunity for us to be at our best and play the type of cricket we can play,” said Coley.

Coley lamented that the batting unit is still a major concern for the team, with the top order failing to put up meaningful numbers, which have put a tremendous strain on the middle order.

Andre McCarthy has been carrying the brunt of the batting weight with 156 runs in four innings. Off-spinner Jamie Merchant and Royal are also expected to play a major role with the ball. However, coach Coley may be tempted to take a chance with one of his experienced fast bowlers in Sheldon Cottrell or Oshane Thomas to bolster the attack.

The Barbados team is also confident of putting in a good showing, following their huge 173-run victory over the Windward Islands Volcanoes.

Skipper Jason Holder leads a pace trio of Akeem Jordan and Chemar Holder with six wickets each in the tournament thus far with Shamarh Brooks, Justin Greaves and Jonathan Carter expected to lead their batting.