McCarthy still hungry for runs despite heroics with ballTuesday, February 23, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
Andre McCarthy was always more focused on impacting the Jamaica Scorpions CG Insurance Super50 Cup campaign with the bat, but as fate would have it, his most telling performance to date came with the ball.
In fact, it was his no-show with the bat in their last two preliminary-round fixtures that proved to be the motivational factor in his six-wicket haul that propelled the Jamaican franchise beyond Barbados Pride and into the semi-finals.
After posting scores of 40, 48 and 55 in the first three games — all in a losing cause — McCarthy failed to deliver runs in a crucial contest against Leeward Islands Hurricanes, only making 13 in the nail-biting six-run win and again in Sunday's decisive fixture against the Pride, as he went for a duck.
But being a firm believer in contributing one way or another, McCarthy confidently backed his bowling prowess and came up trumps, grabbing a career-best six for 19, including a sensational hat-trick to hand the Scorpions a 51-run win.
His exploits restricted a previously well-set Barbados Pride to 167 in chase of 219 at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
“As you know I did not score any runs, so, as one of the senior players in the team I knew I had to do well with the ball, and so when the captain [Rovman Powell] gave me the ball I was confident in my ability to contain or dismiss the batsmen. So I was just keeping it tight and applying pressure,” the part-time off-spinner told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“I didn't really have a hat-trick on my mind but I was just really into the game and really determined to contribute something, especially because I didn't make any runs, and so as the skipper gave me the ball I told him I needed an attacking field.
“I just didn't want the next time we were on the field was to play a fifth- or a sixth-place game, so I knew I had to do some good with the ball and the entire team believed in me and I believed in myself to do the job and that's what I did. So I am really grateful and elated that we are in the semis,” a beaming McCarthy added.
Despite his heroics with the ball, the 33-year-old middle-order batsman pointed out that his heart is still set on scoring at least one century in the tournament to not only assist the Scorpions to the title, but also to impress West Indies selectors ahead of the home series against Sri Lanka.
“I think it [a century] is really on the cards. I have been stroking the ball very well; I was just unfortunate the way I got out yesterday (Sunday). I misread a ball and got bowled.
“But I believe it can only get better from here. My confidence is still high to score runs with the bat, which is my main assignment. I must say though that I am starting to love the all-round role that I have been playing from the last two seasons, but I am really a batsman who can bowl,” McCarthy said with a laugh.
Having now passed the worse, the Andre Coley-coached team is now even more confident in their chances of lifting the title as they seek to break a lengthy drought.
The Jamaican franchise, which has eight regional 50-over titles to its name — the last coming in 2011-12 — had its best Super50 Cup run in 2016-17, when they placed second behind Barbados Pride.
However, their semi-final date with the unbeaten Trinidad and Tobago Red Force tomorrow will be no easy task and will warrant a stellar all-round display with both bat and ball.
Still, McCarthy believes the encounter provides the perfect opportunity to turn the tables on the Kieron Pollard-led Red Force, even more so with opener John Campbell and the in-form Nkrumah Bonner returning from West Indies duties to take their place in the line-up.
The Red Force defeated Scorpions by five wickets, knocking off 260 in 40 overs, in their tournament opener.
“I think the last two games showed that we are a tough team with a lot of fight from number one to 11; as you know we haven't gotten any real start from the top order as yet, but that is how it is when you have young players in terms of experience at the top.
“So, I think John and Bonner coming back will add a bit more fight to the batting, and so I think with those two players in we have a good chance against Trinidad,” McCarthy reasoned.
“We are getting stronger and stronger, game by game, Trinidad will be a tough game, but we are hopeful that we can get by them. Once we apply ourselves and play a tough game of cricket with both bat and ball, I think we can beat them,” he said.
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