Scorpions set up showdown with Pride after denying Hurricanes

Saturday, February 20, 2021

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NORTH SOUND, Antigua (CMC) — Jamaica Scorpions clawed their way back from the brink of elimination when they held their nerve to beat lacklustre Leeward Islands Hurricanes by six runs under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern, and earn their maiden win of the Super50 Cup here yesterday.

Without a win in the tournament and desperately needing one to keep alive their hopes of a semi-final spot, Scorpions twice displayed steely resolve to rebound from difficult positions, and break their wretched three-game losing skid.

Sent in at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, Scorpions were languishing on 135 for nine in the 38th over before West Indies all-rounder Fabian Allen struck 44 off 42 deliveries and engineered a record 85-run, last-wicket stand with number 11 Jeavor Royal (38), to get the innings up to 220 all out in the 49th over.

In reply, Scorpions were under pressure when Hurricanes reached 136 for three in the 36th over but the last of three rain breaks left the hosts with a target of 194 off 43 overs and Scorpions pounced to restrict them to 187 for eight.

Nitish Kumar top-scored with 51 while captain Devon Thomas got 49 but no other players passed 20 in another poor batting effort, as off-spinner Jamie Merchant claimed three for 44 and left-arm spinner Royal, two for 31.

The result handed Scorpions four points, putting them level with Barbados Pride and leaving Sunday's clash between the two teams as the determinant of the last semi-final spot.

“I thought everybody come pull their weight today,” said Royal, after featuring in only his second game of the campaign.

“We played some good cricket in patches, I have to congratulate the boys. We have a game Sunday so we just have to focus on it.

“It's a big game. We've started now, at least we've got a win under our belts so going into the next game we can have our confidence up, back ourselves, back our skills and execute.”

Hurricanes, meanwhile, tasted bitter elimination, with their fourth defeat in five matches to end on four points.

They had only themselves to blame, however, dominating the early stages of the contest to cripple the Scorpions batting.

Guyanese left-arm spinner Ashmead Nedd, with three for 23 from his 10 overs, stunned the innings while fast bowler Quinton Boatswain (2-35) and off-spinner Terrance Warde (2-54) supported with a couple of wickets apiece.

Brandon King missed a sweep at Nedd and was bowled in the fifth over for seven but Paul Palmer (23) put on two small partnerships of 23 for the second with Aldaine Thomas (17) and 26 for the third with Andre McCarthy (13), in an attempt to revive the innings.

Both Palmer and McCarthy perished in the space of seven balls with the score on 62 with Scorpions four wickets down and captain Rovman Powell (29) and Javelle Glenn (13) added 39 for the fifth before Nedd accounted for both, as four wickets went down for nine runs in quick time.

Allen, who struck three fours and sixes, then added 25 for the ninth wicket with Odean Smith (17) before staging the precious last wicket partnership with Royal who belted a couple of fours and sixes in a 40-ball innings.

When off-spinner Jamie Merchant bowled Ross Powell for seven with Hurricanes on 11 for one in the fifth over, Scorpions seemed to have the advantage but a string of partnerships hauled the home side back into contention.

Kumar punched three fours off 96 deliveries, adding 36 for the second with Kieran Powell (17), 25 for the third with Keacy Carty (13) and 64 for the fourth wicket with Thomas who faced 53 balls and counted four fours.

Unbeaten on 33 at the second rain break with Hurricanes on 75 for three in the 20th over, Kumar eventually perished in the 36th over, lobbing a reserve sweep to short third man off Merchant.

The responsibility of getting Hurricanes over the line rested on Thomas but he added just four following the last rain break at 145 for four in the 37th over, before holing out to long on off seamer Dervan Green at the start of the 39th.

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