Scorpions' front line batsmen urged to up game for Red Force clashWednesday, February 24, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
JAMAICA Scorpions Assistant Coach Nikita Miller says that, while the lower-order batting bailed them out during the preliminary stage of the Super50 Cup in Antigua, the front-line batsmen need to improve in today's semi-final against unbeaten Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
The slow-starting Scorpions lost their opening three games of the tournament, but scraped into the semis after winning their final two preliminary contests.
“We knew coming into this tournament that we had guys in the lower order who are capable of scoring runs, who are aggressive in their style of play. What we saw in the last two games wasn't really a surprise,” Miller told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“But we need that top-order contribution; we need that middle-order contribution; we need that contribution from the senior guys who are capable of scoring runs at this level,” the former Jamaica spinner added.
The Scorpions' best batting display so far was in their opening match — they made 258-6 against the Red Force. However, they were never close to restricting the imperious Trinidad and Tobago outfit which ran out easy winners by five wickets.
The Rovman Powell-captained Scorpions subsequently lost to Guyana Jaguars and Windward Islands Volcanoes, on both occasions bowled out for under 200.
Their turnaround began against Leeward Islands Hurricanes when they recovered from 110-8 to make 220. Fabian Allen, who batted at number seven, hit 44, while last man Jeavor Royal contributed 38 not out. The pair added an invaluable 85 for the final wicket.
Chasing a Duckworth/Lewis revised target of 194 runs off 43 overs in the rain-affected clash, the Hurricanes were limited to 187-8 in a six-run defeat. Spinner Jamie Merchant and left-armer Royal claimed 3-44 and 2-31, respectively.
In the decisive encounter against Barbados Pride they were again on the ropes languishing on 87-8 before the lower-order rescue operation guided them to 218 all out. Odean Smith, batting at 10, crunched a 75-ball 68 not out, while number nine Merchant made 37.
And with the Pride cruising on 141-2 in the 29th over, the Scorpions' bowlers tightened the screws to dismiss the Barbados franchise for 167. Off-spinner Andre McCarthy ransacked the Pride's middle, and lower order with 6-16, which included a hat-trick.
Due to restrictions in Jamaica aimed at reducing exposure to the novel coronavirus, the Scorpions were disadvantaged by not having full squad training and practice matches ahead of the tournament. Many argue the subpar preparation has affected their batting, fielding and bowling, but while accepting it contributed to some of their failings, Miller insisted the batsmen, in particular, have to do better.
“In terms of preparation coming into the tournament, I believe that, yes, it's a contributing factor to our slow start. But we've played cricket for long enough, and it's no excuse for our batting display. We must take pride in our performances as batters and, hopefully, we can correct that in this crucial semi-final game,” Miller, who is assistant to Head Coach Andre Coley, told the Observer.
“We are grateful to be in this position where we have a chance of making it to the final, so I think we are in a good place. We have it in us to get the job done.
“We take heart from the fact that our best batting display so far in this tournament came against them [the Red Force], and that will give us some sort of confidence. We are struggling at the top at the minute and we just need to put things together. We need to be smarter and just spend some time in the middle,” he said.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login