Jamaica sweating on fitness of Taylor

... must beat Barbados to lift Regional Twenty20 Championship

Senior staff reporter

Monday, June 18, 2018

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JAMAICA will be sweating over the fitness of Captain Stafanie Taylor entering today's decisive fifth and final round of the Cricket West Indies Regional Women's Twenty20 (T20) championship against Barbados.

The game, the second of a triple-header at Sabina Park, is slated to start 2:30 pm. The winner will lift the Regional Women's T20 crown since such a scenario would leave both teams with four wins, and head-to-head result set as the first tie-breaker.

In the other two games at the venue — both of academic interest — Guyana face winless Leeward Islands in the opener set to begin 9:30 am, and outgoing champions Trinidad and Tobago take on Windward Islands in the late game at 6:30 pm.

Barbados, perfect in the tournament after victories against Windward Islands, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, are favourites, given their form.

Coversely, Jamaica saw their tournament run blemished after surrendering by 43 runs to Trinidad and Tobago in the late game at Sabina Park on Saturday.

More significantly for the Jamaicans, the talismanic Taylor left the field and never returned after suffering a right shoulder injury when diving to stop a ball early on. Crucially, she did not bowl nor bat in the game.

She sported an ice pack on the shoulder after the game, and up to press time yesterday, there was no confirmation if she will be ready for today's encounter.

On Saturday, Jamaica Coach Cleon Smith was doubtful.

“Once you see Stafanie can't bat you know it is bad, but we keep our hopes up and whatever happens we have to be there as a team. We have to back ourselves to get the job done. We lost a game and now we have to make them lose one too,” he told the Jamaica Observer after watching his team stumble to 92-7 in response to T&T's 135-5.

“We lost our captain in the field, so we lost those four overs [she could bowl] and her expertise as a captain and we lost her batting, so it was a big loss.

“We allowed Trinidad to get off to a flyer and then we wasted too many deliveries up top when batting. We could have been cleaner in the field, and we missed run-out opportunities and some catching opportunities,” Smith said.

Barbados skipper Shakera Selman was confident after racking up win number four against Guyana in the afternoon game at Sabina Park.

“I'm very happy with the win [versus Guyana]. It feels good to win four out of four games, though there are still areas we need to improve on,” she told the Observer during Saturday's post-game interview.

“We have to work on [limiting] our extras because that's been a problem. We also have to work on our batting in the middle order to back up the starts that we get,” Selman explained.

“We are confident but not overly confident, because we still need to win that one to ensure [championship] victory. We are familiar with the Jamaican players and many of them have played for years. But we are going to focus on our game because we believe that once we get our game right, then we should be able to beat any competition,” She added.

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