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St Catherine, Wanderers showdown


EZRA STUART, FP

St Catherine, Wanderers showdown

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Crane Resort St Catherine will be chasing their fifth Super50 Cup cricket title while CounterPoint Wanderers hunt their first in today’s final at the Windward Club, Lucas Street, St Philip.

Both teams topped their respective zones and fittingly reached the championship match, which starts at 9:30 a.m., with comfortable semi-final victories.

Four-time champions St Catherine, who were losing finalists in the Twenty20 competition when they were trounced by UWI, are also the reigning Elite Division champions. They will be hoping captain Omar Phillips, who missed yesterday’s Elite match, is fully recovered from illness to lead the team.

Wanderers, despite not having their current West Indies’ players like Jason Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite and Raymon Reifer, have been a surprise package under the captaincy of all-rounder Diego Stuart.

In addition, big-hitting all-rounder Roshon Primus, who scored 253 runs with three half-centuries in seven preliminary matches and also took five wickets, is unlikely to play as he is representing the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League.

Wanderers will be boosted by the inclusion of former Barbados captain and West Indies’ batsman Kirk Edwards, who has returned from playing league cricket in England.

This will be Wanderers’ first final since 1993 when opener Mark Sealy made the first century in a final in a losing cause against ICBL Empire. Wanderers’ only other final appearance was in 1983 when they lost to Intermediate and Shield champions Yorkshire.

Both teams lost only one of their ten matches in the Cup competition this year, with Wanderers, who were beaten by Carlton, securing eight victories and a no-decision while St Catherine had two no-decisions, seven wins and a defeat to Police.

Edwards will add some depth to the Wanderers’ batting, which will feature the exciting Jonathan Drakes, who has 261 runs, Shayne Moseley (211 runs), Jason “Grass Man” Greene (178), Marvin Forde, Trinidadian Jeremy Solozano, Stuart (176) and young all-rounder Rey Matthews.

Off-spinner Michael Agard Jr and Dawayne Sealy showed in the semi-final victory over Empire, with knocks of 49 and 42 not out, that they are no slouches with the bat.

They will be up against a varied St Catherine’s bowling attack, featuring left-arm spinners Derick Bishop and Damien Browne, off-spinners Kenroy Williams and Dwayne Skeete as well as left-arm seamer Darnell Greenidge and swing bowler Ulric Batson.

Both Skeete and Greenidge have taken 14 wickets at an economy rate of 3.74 and 3.72 runs per over, respectively, while Browne has 13 at 4.08 and Williams 12 at 3.39 runs per over. Bishop, who has played in only the last four matches because of a fractured finger, has an economy rate of three runs an over. Batson has conceded 3.35 runs per over for his eight wickets.

St Catherine’s have a strong batting line-up, led by Phillips (317 runs, average 45.29 at a strike rate of 90.57), and wicket-keeper/batsman Mario Rampersaud (312, average 52.00, strike rate 64.60).

Opener Chad Puckerin has also hit a couple of half-centuries while the reliable Williams, the attacking Alcindo Holder, who has a strike rate of 122.32, and Shamar Cooke form a solid middle order.

Bishop, Skeete, Greenidge and Batson are also capable of providing lower order runs.

Wanderers will be looking to their spin trio of leg-spinner Nikolai Charles (12 wickets, economy rate of 3.96), left-arm spinner Chad Clarke-Reifer (10 wickets at 3.19 runs per over) and off-spinner Agard (9 wickets, economy of 2.50) to restrict the St Catherine’s batting.

Stuart (six wickets at 4.78) and Matthews (seven wickets at 4.80) will be joined by Sealy, who has four wickets in two matches at 5.13, in providing the seam bowling. (EZS)

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