Costly loss of sting leaves Scorpions skipper disappointed
There was not much to celebrate for either host Jamaica Scorpions or Leeward Island Hurricanes, as their historic day/night seventh-round game at Sabina Park in the Digicel Regional four-day competition proved just that – historic.
The topsy-turvy contest, which saw an atrocious 25 wickets falling on Saturday’s second day, and 15 on Sunday’s third day, ended with the Hurricanes securing a 34-run win.
Following the loss – their third this season – the Scorpions slipped further out of title contention though holding firm in third position on 78.6 points, while the Hurricanes, who entered the contest at the foot of the six-team standings, made a huge leap to fourth on 63 points.
After losing the entire first day due to rain, the Scorpions won the toss and opted to field first – a decision that seemed fruitful for the bowlers, as the Hurricanes batsmen struggled to contend with the swing and uneven bounce of the pitch.
Out-of-favour West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor utilised the conditions to grab his 15th first-class five-wicket haul in bundling the Hurricanes over for a mere 71. Rahkeem Cornwall, with 29 and Kacey Carty’s 26, were just two of three scores in double figures.
Taylor ended with 5-31, while captain and left-arm spinner Miller (2-4) and pacer Marquino Mindley (2-13) finishing with two wickets apiece.
Little did the Jamaicans know that their celebrations would be short-lived, as they, too, found the going tough and were eventually dismissed for a paltry 56, which represents their lowest ever first-class score. The previous lowest was 71 recorded over 20 years ago.
Seamers Jeremiah Louis (4-4), Gavin Tonge (4-16) and young West Indies pacer Alzarri Josephs (2-36) blew away the Scorpions’ batting line-up.
Holding a slender 15-run lead at the start of their second innings, the Hurricanes failed to capitalise and slumped to 32-5 at the end of day two.
However, a more mature batting display from wicketkeeper/batsman Jahmar Hamilton (45), and Louis (23), in a 63-run eight-wicket stand, assisted the visitors to 133 all out.
Jerome Taylor was among four bowlers who took two wickets each to end with match figures of 7-52. Rovman Powell (2-12), leg-spinner Damion Jacobs (2-28) and Miller (2-43), shared the other wickets.
Chasing a victory target of 149, the Scorpions, like they did in the first innings, lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled over for 114. Jermaine Blackwood (47) and Jerome Taylor (19) were the only batsmen to offer resistance.
Joseph was the pick of the Hurricanes bowlers with 5-43, ending with match figures of 7-79, while Louis grabbed 4-23, to end with match figures of 8-27. Tonge had 1-29 and ended with match figures of 5-45.
As expected Miller, the Scorpions captain, was left disappointed with the bitter taste of defeat.
“I am not happy; I am very disappointed because we shouldn’t have lost that game. We lost based on the fact that our first innings total of 56 runs was very unacceptable, even on that pitch, that total is very unacceptable,” Miller told the Jamaica Observer.
“With that said, I think the pitch played a very huge role in the outcome because it was under-prepared at first-class status. But we could have batted a little better because the pitch was a little better for batting in the second innings, but I think we didn’t show enough fight and it led to the loss.
“We still have three games to go, so we have to put this behind us and try to get some more points going forward,” he added.
Miller stressed that significant improvement is needed in all departments, as he cursed the setback of this their second consecutive loss and third of the season.
“Unfortunately, we are back at square one because we had a good run at the top of the season and in the Super-50, but like I said, we have to pick ourselves up, keep our heads up, believe in ourselves some more and try to finish the season on a high,” he noted.
“So I am expecting significant improvement going forward; I don’t believe we can win the title from here… mathematically it is possible, but it will require a high level of consistency in both bowling and batting departments,” Miller ended.