Skipper Holder expecting smooth transition for semis
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Captain Jason Holder says he does not foresee Barbados Pride experiencing any major issues with acclimatising to new conditions in Antigua for their Regional Super50 semi-final against Leeward Islands Hurricanes tomorrow.
Pride, the tournament favourites, hosted Group B here where they won seven of their eight games to finish top on 33 points, five clear of the second-placed Jamaica Scorpions who also advanced to the final four.
Holder, the West Indies Test and one-day captain, said they did not anticipate any surprises with the switch from Barbados to Coolidge Cricket Ground in St John’s.
“I don’t see it as a big challenge. We’ve been seeing a few of the games on TV We’re obviously professional athletes and many of us play for the West Indies team as well, so we have to adjust,” Holder said.
“Many of us have played cricket in Antigua before and I don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.”
Boasting a starting XI comprising 10 current West Indies players, Pride have flexed their muscle in the competition from the outset and dominated the group.
They eclipsed 300 runs once and passed 270 on three other occasions when they batted first, with several of their high-profile batsmen getting among the runs.
Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite posted two hundreds and two half-centuries in gathering 408 runs, while Jonathan Carter and Shai Hope both notched three fifties each.
Holder said he still wanted improvement in this department especially when Pride were batting second.
“The batting has been doing a pretty decent job as well, it’s just for us to be a little more consistent, especially when we are chasing,” he pointed out.
“[We have to] keep on par with the scoring rate when we are chasing. Once we do that in the semi-final, we should be pretty good.”
Pride have also been ruthless when bowling, three times limiting their opponents to totals of under 200. Off-spinner Ashley Nurse has led their attack with 22 wickets while Holder has picked up 15, with his seam and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, 14.
Holder said this area had been Pride’s strong suit, with every bowler playing their part throughout.
“The bowlers have been doing a tremendous job. They have put up their hand every single time we went out to bowl. There’s only been one team which have made 200 runs against us and that was Jamaica in the last game and that’s exceptional,” said Holder.
“We’re up there with the leading wicket-takers — Ashley Nurse has really led us well and myself, up front with the new ball, have been very good. Kemar Roach came in and made an impact; Sulieman, obviously being his normal self in the middle, being a wicket-taker and keeping things very steady for us — so our bowlers have been doing a wonderful job.”
The first semi-final is set for Wednesday at Coolidge between Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and Scorpions.