Super50 bowls off
Jamaica open against defending champions Windwards
JAMAICA vice-captain Nikita Miller says getting off to a victorious start is crucial when the country battles reigning champions Windward Islands in today's tournament opener of the NAGICO Super50.
The day/night encounter will be played at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad & Tobago, beginning at 1:00 pm (Ja time).
While the Windwards beat Jamaica in last season's semi-final en route to the title, Miller cautioned that going into the game seeking revenge could have a negative effect on his team's performance.
"I don't look at it that way [like a revenge match]. Last year is in the past, and we have to move ahead. For me, it's another game, and if we lose that game we would be in a very bad situation. So it is very important for us to put together team performances that will get us over the line. It's important to start on a positive note.
"For some people, treating it like a revenge match will get them going, and that's fine. But sometimes that's a hindrance as well, because you may be thinking you want to get back at them, but not working on the plans you had to beat them," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Jamaica and Windward Islands are paired in Zone A alongside Guyana and invited team Ireland.
Zone B consists of Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Leeward Islands, and the Combined Campuses and Colleges. The top two teams from each zone will progress to the semi-final stage. The final is scheduled for February 15.
Both teams are without key players for the tournament.
The Windwards do not have injured West Indies Test and Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy and banned off-spinner Shane Shillingford.
Jamaica are without injured West Indies batsmen Christopher Gayle and Marlon Samuels.
Miller, a left-arm finger spinner, explained that the Windwards Islands still have quality players in batsmen Johnson Charles, Devon Smith and Andre Fletcher, and pacer Delorn Johnson. He added that his opponents will also be buoyed due to their status as title-holders.
"They have lost a key player in the captain Sammy and the spinner Shillingford, but they have good players. They have been decent over the years in that format of the game.
"It's always a challenge coming up against the defending champions. They will go into the game with a lot of confidence," said the 31-year-old.
In their batting department, Jamaica will rely on Nkrumah Bonner, Andre McCarthy, Tamar Lambert, as well as all-rounder Andre Russell. The bowling will be led by captain and medium pacer David Bernard, seamer Jerome Taylor and Miller.
The match will be broadcast live on cable network ESPN.