WICB Media Release
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (WICB) — This weekend’s semi-finals in the Regional 4-Day Tournament can further define the season for all four teams taking part.
Barbados will have home advantage and will put their reputation of being regional champions for the second straight year on the chopping block at Kensington Oval in Barbados, where they face a Jamaica side looking to put a shaky season behind them.
Trinidad & Tobago will be aiming to put aside the disappointment of narrowly missing out on their first R4D title in seven years, when they meet a rested, but plucky Windward Islands side at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.
The four teams are playing for a place in the Final, where the winner will be awarded the George Headley/Everton Weekes Trophy.
Both the Barbadians and T&T have prevailed over their opponents during the preliminary matches earlier in the seasons – and will be seeking to keep the traffic flowing one way in these crucial matches.
As they did in the fifth round, Barbados will be looking to seriously reverse recent history against the Jamaicans – they have not beaten them on home soil in three matches over the last six years.
Barbados captain Kraigg Brathwaite said his side was entering the match with confidence, following a streak of four straight wins that led to the title, but he knows Jamaica are a formidable foe.
“They won’t be easy opposition,” said Brathwaite. “We are ready for them, but we’re not going to take them lightly. We’re going to come and work hard and play at our best.
“Obviously, it is a home advantage, but we are looking to go out there and play the same cricket we played before – that’s about it. We’re not underestimating them. We will go out and play them just as hard as we played them in Jamaica.”
Jamaica captain Tamar Lambert said it was an achievement for his side to reach the Final Four, following the topsy-turvy season they endured – but it’s a chance to end the season strongly.
“It was good that we ended the preliminary competition with a victory after losing three straight,” said Lambert. “It’s been a long time since we lost three matches in a season, so it was nice to return to winning ways and boost our confidence ahead of this match.
“Playing for your country should be motivation enough. Every time we take the field we give it our all and we will not be giving any less in this match. We want to come out in this match and put up a good show against Barbados in this match.”
Barbados have kept faith with the squad that brought them victory over the Leewards inside three days, but Jamaica have replaced Jon-Ross Campbell with veteran all-rounder Dave Bernard Jr, who has recovered from injury.
T&T have dominated Windwards since the turn of the century, winning 12 of their 18 matches during that period, including a huge second-round victory, and enter this match as favourites.
West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin has returned from the World Twenty20 Tournament in Bangladesh and will take over the reins of leadership from Rayad Emrit of a confident side.
“The guys did very well and we had a chance of winning the title, but the weather intervened unfortunately,” said Ramdin. “We still have two more matches ahead of us to win a title and so we are going to take this weekend very seriously.
“The Windwards have a very good team, so we are looking for the guys to continue doing what they have been doing all season, scoring runs and getting wickets, and getting good results.”
Liam Sebastien was at the helm when Windwards won the Regional Super50 Tournament last year and will be hoping he can again inspire his side to a title.
“We are coming off a bye last week, so everyone is fresh and ready to go,” said Sebastien. “We have a few players coming into the side that did not play earlier in the season and this should be a boost.
“We have to play to our strengths. Our bowling is our strength and they have been doing exceptionally well, but we also have to bat well, and this has been our challenge this season. There have been some individual performances, but we have not been able to bat consistently well as a team.”
Apart from Ramdin, spin bowling all-rounder Akeal Hosein returns to the T&T side, which also welcomes uncapped off-spinner Ancil Bhagan in place of the retired Amit Jaggernauth, while the Windwards welcome back champion off-spinner Shane Shillingford from injury.
BARBADOS (from): Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Fidel Edwards, Kirk Edwards, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Omar Phillips, Kevin Stoute.
JAMAICA (from): Tamar Lambert (captain), Carlton Baugh Jr, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Brian Buchanan, John Campbell, Dave Bernard Jr, Sheldon Cottrell, Damion Jacobs, Andre McCarthy, Nikita Miller, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO (from): Denesh Ramdin (captain), Adrian Barath, Ancil Bhagan, Darren Bravo, Rayad Emrit, Shannon Gabriel, Akeal Hosein, Ricky Jaipaul, Imran Khan, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Marlon Richards, Lendl Simmons.
WINDWARD ISLANDS (from): Liam Sebastien (captain), Sunil Ambris, Miles Bascombe, Johnson Charles, Romel Currency, Delorn Johnson, Keddy Lesporis, Mervin Matthew, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Tyrone Theophile.