It’s UWI’s bat vs Maple’s ball
CGI MAPLE will be seeking to stop Sagicor UWI from achieving the double while trying to win their first Sagicor General Super Cup title in 32 years.
Both UWI and Maple romped into the final with easy semi-final victories over TeleBarbados Carlton and last year’s winners Republic Bank St Catherine, respectively.
Maple, who were champions in 1977 and 1980 and contested the last of their five finals in 1985, are highly motivated to win the cup in memory of their late manager Barrington Yearwood Sr, but UWI won’t be accommodating to such a wish.
Maple’s captain Pedro Agard believes the outcome could be decided on how well Maple’s bowlers can contain the UWI battling line-up.
“I believe we’ve got an excellent chance of winning. UWI is not a team that we fear. I can’t recall Maple losing to UWI in a 50-over knockout game. We won our last 50-over game we played against them two seasons ago, but I think it is going to come down to our bowling against their batting and whoever responds better,” he said.
Maple boast the best bowling attack for limited-overs cricket in Barbados with a plethora of spin options and they also have some quality fast bowlers, headed by West Indies pacer Kemar Roach. Apart from Roach, there is seasoned seamer Khalid Springer while either Barrington Yearwood Jr or Jamar Austin could come into the reckoning, depending on the condition of the Kensington Oval pitch.
“I had a look at the pitch [yesterday] and it was hard and green so we have a squad for whatever conditions confront us,” said Agard.
Still, it is difficult to see Maple moving away from their spin-based attack, consisting of off-spinners Don O’Neal, Jed Yearwood, Ramon Greaves and Shane Ramsay, supported by the left-arm spin of Jamar Griffith.
Frontline batsmen Renaldo Parris and Shane Parris can also trundle off-spin and left-arm spin, respectively.
The UWI batsmen, with captain Kyle Corbin making a timely return to form by hitting 49 not out in the semi-final, will really have to show their mettle as any score in excess of 200 could be challenging.
O’Neal, a batsman good enough to score 93 in the 2000 final for Cable & Wireless, now concentrates mainly on his off-breaks which have brought him a tournament-high 23 wickets.
“We are coming into the game fairly confident of achieving our second title this season by taking the 50-over cup,” UWI’s manager Stephen Leslie told SUNSPORT yesterday. “We expect it to be a competitive game but we are focused on our goal.”
UWI’s coach/player Floyd Reifer is always a threat in domestic cricket but in recent years has shown a vulnerability to quality off-spinners. Left-handed opener Omar Phillips and wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton will also be hoping to give UWI a solid start to the innings.
Barbados batsman Jonathan Carter is capable of turning the match with either his fluent left-handed strokeplay or deceptive medium-fast swing bowling, while Nekoli Parris and the experienced Romel Currency are likely to occupy the other batting positions.
This would mean no place for classy West Indies left-hander Anthony Alleyne, who is noted for his ability to skilfully play both spin and pace, as well as the promising Raymon Reifer.
Maple’s batting line-up will also come under scrutiny by UWI’s varied bowling attack. Young swing bowler Marques Clarke has taken early wickets in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals and UWI will be looking to him and new ball partner?Kevin McClean to knock over a couple of Maple’s top-order batsmen.
However, UWI’s trump cards will be spin twins Ryan Austin and Akeem Dewar, who are among the leading wicket-takers with 21 and 20 scalps, respectively.
Maple are not usually a strong batting side, but the addition of openers Shane Parris and Jed Yearwood this year has boosted the team, whose batting will depend heavily on former high-scoring Barbados Under-19 captain Renaldo Parris. His 390 runs in this year’s tournament are only bettered by Spartan’s Shamarh Brooks’ 413 and his value will be enhanced by his fielding brilliance.