From Clifton Ross in Trinidad
The first semi-final match today between the undefeated Jamaica and the hometown team Trinidad & Tobago is expected to be a mouth-watering clash as both teams will be aiming to advance to the final of the 2014 NAGICO Regional Super50 tournament.
The red hot Jamaicans disposed of defending champions Windward Islands in the first match of their Group A encounter which was followed by a comprehensive win over the Ireland which allowed them to secure a place in the semi-finals.
They pulled off a 10-run heist over Guyana thanks to Nkrumah Bonner’s ton on Saturday in the last match of the group A fixtures which allowed them to enter today’s semi-final with heaps of confidence.
Trinidad got off to a shaky start after losing their first match of the Group B pool to fellow semi-finalists Barbados by 28-runs. But a returning Sunil Narine, who grabbed four wickets, along with fast-bowler Ravi Rampaul sunk the Leeward Islands by five-wickets in the their second match and regained some confidence and the support of their home crowd.
The Trinidadians would then secure their spot in semi-finals by mauling the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) by seven-wickets, mainly through an all-round bowling effort.
Trinidad will head into today’s clash as favourites, banking heavily on the likes of Narine, Rampaul, Kevon Cooper, skipper Dwayne Bravo, Rayad Emrit and company to deliver with the ball.
While Bravo and his younger more stylish brother Darren, openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons and wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, who have all been amongst the runs, will add strength to the batting department.
The Jamaicans will use their momentum gained from their three consecutive wins to reinforce their batting and bowling performances thus far. Bonner, who scored the only century for his team in the competition, will be a key player in the middle along with Andre McCarthy, Horace Miller, Tamar Lambert, John Campbell and Andre Russell.
Jamaica’s bowling will be led by ex-West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor who continues to improve as the tournament progresses, spinner Nikita Miller, fast-bowler Andrew Richardson and captain Dave Bernard Jr., have all contributed to their team’s success throughout the tournament.
The winner of today’s match will face the winner of tomorrow’s second semi-final encounter between Guyana and Barbados on Saturday in the final match. Today’s encounter is scheduled to bowl off at 14:00hrs.