This is it!
Unbeaten Red Force, unpredictable Scorpions battle in first semi-finalWednesday, February 24, 2021
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Favourites Trinidad and Tobago Red Force will look to extend their unbeaten run while Jamaica Scorpions are hoping to find consistency following a rocky preliminary round ride, when the two teams clash in today's first semi-final of the Regional Super50 Cup at Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Having won all five of their first-round matches, the star-studded Red Force are brimming with confidence and with both their batsmen and bowlers turning in strong performances throughout the campaign, it will be hard to bet against the Kieron Pollard-led side reaching the final.
Red Force were dominant in the preliminaries, finding themselves hardly extended but even with the comfortable nature of their victories, Pollard said he did not expect complacency to creep into the side at this stage.
“I believe you would be complacent in the league phase if you win two or three games going into the play-offs but knowing it's a do-or-die game, it's a knockout scenario, if you turn up complacent then I don't think you should be in our team,” Pollard said here yesterday.
“For us, it's about playing consistent cricket. We've spoken about complacency all throughout the tournament in the preliminary stages and I can't see why we would turn up and just expect to beat a Jamaica Scorpions side that's coming off the back of two victories in the last couple games.”
Red Force dominated Scorpions by five wickets in their opener, beat Windward Islands Volcanoes by four wickets in their second match before getting over perennial rivals Barbados Pride by three wickets.
They then rolled over Leeward Islands Hurricanes by nine wickets before whipping Guyana Jaguars by six wickets in their final game.
Pollard said while Red Force's form had been excellent, the results counted for little in the pending semi-final.
“Each and every time we've gotten an opportunity to play, be it bat first or bowl first, we assess the conditions firstly and see what's necessary and try to adapt,” explained Pollard.
“For us, what is done is done. All that is in the past you can't really bask on that because all of the good cricket you have played can count for nothing if you lose one game.
“So we have to be on our P's and Q's, we have to be able to execute what we want to do as a team and hopefully we can come with that mentality tomorrow.”
In contrast, Scorpions' road to the final four has been a difficult one, and they only clinched their berth with a sensational come-from-behind victory over Pride in their very last game on Sunday.
After losing their opener to Red Force, they were turned over by Jaguars by 109 runs before crashing to a 92-run defeat at the hands of Volcanoes.
They were handed a lifeline with a six-run win over Hurricanes in a rain-hit contest before stunning Pride by 51 runs in their final outing.
With dodgy fielding efforts and reckless batting the hallmark of their campaign, Captain Rovman Powell said a turnaround was definitely necessary in the semi-final.
“I think we need to work on all three aspects of the cricket. I think the bowling has come a far way and maybe is the most pleasing area of our game so far,” he explained.
“The fielding still needs a lot of work. We have been dropping a lot of simple catches in the field so that needs a lot of work.
“And also the batting [needs attention]. The batting has been a struggle and it's a case where we're just not getting enough substantial partnerships from our top order and middle order.
“The lower order did some good work in the last two games for us so it's just for us to work on all three areas if we're to beat Trinidad.”
He added: “It's a strong Trinidad team but we're looking to control the factors we have control over and those factors are how we play – how we bat, bowl, and field.
“It's difficult to control the things that Trinidad do so we're not focussing on them too much. Once we go there and play the best cricket we know how to play, then possibly we can beat Trinidad.”
Red Force, without a regional 50-over title since 2016, faltered at the semi-final stage for the last two tournaments and were also beaten by Scorpions in the semi-finals of the 2017 tournament.
Scorpions, meanwhile, have not captured a 50-over title since beating Trinidad in the 2011 final but were good enough to reach the semi-finals in 2018 and the final in 2017, before losing to Pride.
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