ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – A confident Barbados Pride will be eyeing a successful defense of their Regional Super50 title while Windward Islands Volcanoes will be targeting their first success in five years, when they meet in the final at Coolidge Cricket Ground here today.
While Pride have been steady throughout the tournament, Volcanoes have struck form at the back end and will be extremely dangerous opponents in the day/night affair which bowls off at 2 pm.
Both teams are familiar with each other, having emerged from Group A staged in Bridgetown, with Pride topping the standings and Volcanoes finishing second.
Pride head coach Emmerston Trotman told CMC Sports though his side were confident, they were also very wary of the threat posed by their opponents.
“The guys are confident, they’re having fun and they’re looking forward to tomorrow’s game. They’re prepared and have been having some good fun planning and the mood is good,” he said.
“We always plan for players. We have discussion about players. You’ve got the [likes of] Devon Smith, he’s always a dangerous player. We’ve got to work on him, plan well, bowl to him tight and allow him to make some errors so we’re working on him.
“They’re other players in the team like the youngster (Tyrone Theophile) who got a hundred [in the semi-final], he’s quite an attacking player. We just have to be sure we don’t [allow them to free] their arms to hit many sixes and fours so we’re monitoring them quite closely.”
Pride secured their berth in the final when they despatched of Kent Spitfires by 13 runs under Duckworth/Lewis in Wednesday’s first semi-final.
Despite having lost as many as seven key players because of senior team duties with West Indies in Zimbabwe and Windies A in the England Lions series, Pride have remained a formidable unit with the likes of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Roston Chase showcasing their quality with a hundred and a half-century respectively in the semi-final.
Volcanoes’ run, meanwhile, has been somewhat of a fairytale. They lost their first three matches of the preliminaries before bouncing back to to win their last five and reach the final four.
They were at their most aggressive in Thursday’s semi-final when they clinically dismantled Guyana Jaguars by 52 runs, and head coach Andre Coley said his side were prepared for the challenge of the title-holders.
“Last year’s competition has no bearing on this year’s competition and we decided early up we wanted to play our brand of cricket,” he told CMC Sports. “Yes, we were off to a slow start but in the main we have actually played the way we wanted to play, and we are looking forward to another good contest. Barbados … have lost a few players to international tours but they’re still a good side and any team can win on the day especially in limited overs cricket. The main thing for us is that we’ve played as a unit and we’ve communicated well on and off the field. We’ve had some trying times but we’ve pulled through [them] because we’ve played for each other.”
Much of the batting responsibility will rest on veteran opener Devon Smith, Theophile, Kavem Hodge and Kyle Mayers, all of whom have been among the runs at some stage.
Captain Shane Shillingford, the former West Indies off-spinner, leads the attack, with Hodge expected to play a key role with his left-arm spin.
BARBADOS – Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Joshua Bishop, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Dominic Drakes, Keon Harding, Chemar Holder, Aaron Jones, Omar Phillips, Shamar Springer, Kevin Stoute, Tevyn Walcott, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kenroy Williams.
VOLCANOES – Shane Shillingford (captain), Roland Cato, Johnson Charles, Kirk Edwards, Larry Edward, Kavem Hodge, Ryan John, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Devon Smith, Tyrone Theophile, Josh Thomas, Alick Athanaze.