Cricket

QUEEN’S Park Cricket Club began the defence of the 2020 UWI-Unicom Twenty20 tournament in style with an emphatic six-wicket win over Marchin Patriots to open the competition, on Thursday. The Parkites coasted to 142 for four in 18.5 overs at the Sir Frank Worrell Cricket Ground at UWI SPEC after restricting the Patriots to 141 for eight in their 20 overs in Group A.

Queen’s Park got off to a blistering start, registering 52 without loss after just five overs. Sunil Narine opened with Tion Webster to remind Kolkata and Trinbago Knight Riders fans what he can do at the top of the order. He made 29 off 16 with five fours and a six before he was bowled by Jyd Goolie. Dwayne Bravo came in but he perished the same way to Goolie for four. The run-rate slowed a bit with Kern Matheson then claiming Justin Guillen for five.

However, Webster ramped up the chase, bringing up his fifty off 47 deliveries in just under an hour. He smashed three fours and three sixes at this point. He was joined by Daron Cruickshank, who made 19 off 15 with two boundaries. But after taking 19 off Roshan Parag, QPCC lost their danger man as Webster lofted Vishan Jagessar into skipper Adrian Ali’s hands. The opener departed for 55 from 49 balls and with two wickets taken while bowling, he sealed a man-of-the-match performance.

There was work still needed to be done but Nicholas Alexis stepped up to the plate. He smashed 27 off 14 with two fours and a pair of maximums to his name.

With 14 needed from the final two overs, Alexis’ sixes came off Vickram Malloram to leave the Parkites full of confidence as they played UWI Cricket Club in the night’s closing match to see who would be the top two teams advancing to the quarter-finals.

When the Parkites bowled, it was, as expected, another disciplined performance with the ball and in the field. Christopher Vincent emerged as their best bowler with three for 32 from his four while Webster nabbed two for 22 and Bravo got two for 27. Jagassar top scored with 36, Teshawn Castro made 30 and Matheson got to 17, but Marchin ultimately fell well short of a target.

FORMER skipper Paul Palmer was an 11th-hour replacement for Nkrumah Bonner in the Jamaica Scorpions squad which departed yesterday for the regional four-day cricket tournament opener away to Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.

The match is scheduled for Brian Lara Cricket Academy, starting Thursday. 

The 28-year-old left-hand batsman Palmer, who captained the team last season, was initially left out of the 13-member squad named for the encounter. But with middle-order batsman Bonner, 30, falling ill with a suspected case of dengue fever, Palmer was brought in. 

There was also concern about the readiness of left-arm, wrist-spinner Dennis Bulli. He recently sustained a shoulder injury, but is expected to recover in time for the match against the Red Force. 

The John Campbell-captained Scorpions squad also includes out-of-favour West Indies batsmen Jermaine Blackwood and Assad Fudadin, the Guyanese-born left-hander. 

Rovman Powell, who skippered the regional side on a One-Day International tour of Bangladesh in late 2018, and Alwyn Williams are two all-rounders who bowl medium pace. 

Aldaine Thomas and Grenadian-born Denis Smith are the wicketkeepers included, while pace bowling duties are to fall on the shoulders of Marquino Mindley, Derval Green and Nicholson Gordon.

Bulli and left-arm finger-spinner Patrick Harty are the slow-bowling options. 

“As a selection panel we're comfortable that we have come up with the best squad for the first game. I believe we ticked the various areas — the batting, we have a couple of wicketkeeper/batsmen and we have seam bowling and spin bowling options,” Andre Coley, the Scorpions' head coach. 

The Jamaica franchise selection panel, headed by Junior Bennett, includes veteran Coach Burtram “Barry” Barnes, former Jamaica batsman Delroy Morgan and Coley. 

The elegant batsman Brandon King and towering speedster Oshane Thomas — both members of the West Indies set-up preparing for Ireland's tour of the Caribbean — are notable absentees. 

Exciting all-rounder Fabian Allen, recuperating from injury, has not been cleared by the Cricket West Indies medical panel. 

Coley, who only took over as coach effective last September, argued that while the Scorpions lack Thomas's intimidating pace, he expects the bowling unit's other attributes to come to the fore. 

“What they may lack in terms of that express pace is their ability to move the ball around, so there may be a little trade off in not getting someone like Oshane Thomas. But their control could also be an asset. What we're looking to do is to get 20 wickets, and we believe that's the best combination available to us,” he said. 

Former spinner Nikita Miller, who is on a three-month interim contract, is to assist Coley with coaching duties. 

The regional four-day tournament, comprising 10 rounds of matches in a home-and-away league format, is set to run until April. 

Since capturing five-straight titles between 2007-08 and 2011-12, Jamaica have generally fallen well short in four-day cricket. 

Last season, the Scorpions were a disappointing fifth in the six-team competition. 

Guyana Jaguars are presently the dominant force in regional four-day cricket, winning five-consecutive titles. 

Jamaica squad — John Campbell (captain), Alwyn Williams, Jermaine Blackwood, Assad Fudadin, Paul Palmer, Rovman Powell, Denis Smith, Aldaine Thomas, Dennis Bulli, Nicholson Gordon, Derval Green, Patrick Harty, Marquino Mindley.

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