Marquee Pride, Jaguars clash raise curtain on one-day championship

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jan 23, CMC – Barbados Pride have dismissed any idea of home pressure when they take on perennial rivals Guyana Jaguars in one of two games on the opening day of the 2017 Regional Super50 here Tuesday.
The day/night affair at Kensington Oval will bowl off at 1:30 pm while the other game, between Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners and Jamaica Scorpions, will get going at 9 am at 3Ws Oval at the UWI Cave Hill Campus.
Pride, last year’s losing finalists, are playing at home for the first time in four years, but skipper Jason Holder said he expected his side to equip themselves like professionals.
“I wouldn’t say there is any added pressure. We are all professional athletes. We are accustomed playing in front crowds, albeit our own home crowd,” the West Indies Test and one-day captain told media here.
“It’s just a matter of us relaxing, being focused and prepared to do the job for Barbados. Whatever it takes to win cricket games for Barbados I’m sure this group here is prepared to go out and do so it’s just a situation where we need to stay focused, stay relaxed and execute under pressure.”
Pride enter the February 24 to February 18 championship with perhaps one of the strongest teams on paper, with 12 members of their 14-man squad being current West Indies players.
They have been installed as one of the favourites to make it out of Zone B but Holder said it was critical the side executed well and performed consistently.
“I expect good things from the team. We’ve had quite a few weeks of good preparation,” the 25-year-old all-rounder pointed out.
“We had four games in total – two being the trial games and two practice games – and I think we got some pretty positive things out of them and the guys are reading and raring to go.”
He continued: “Our key to success is playing good consistent cricket. We obviously have our game plans in mind so it’s just for us to execute them. We have to be consistently putting runs on the board as a batting unit and then obviously as a bowling side, we need to bowl teams out. That’s what wins cricket games.”
Jaguars, meanwhile, exuded confidence ahead of the contest. They are the two-time reigning four-day champions and are hoping to transfer the success into the one-day format.
Captain Leon Johnson said Monday they would be looking to win the competition but were also focused on improving themselves throughout.
“Obviously the ultimate success would be to win the championship but I think they are areas we want to improve in, especially in the batting,” the Windies left-hander noted.
“If we can consistently put 250-plus [runs] on the board or manage to chase those type of scores, I think that would be a major success for us because looking at the past three seasons you didn’t have much 250-plus scores, so I think that would be success.”
Jaguars, along with Pride, are the two teams favoured to advance from the group but with Scorpions always a threat and Marooners and ICC Americas both unknown quantities, Johnson said they were taking nothing for granted.
“I think it will be a very tough group, a very competitive group. I think it is all about execution,” he pointed out.
“Most of the international players are available for this competition and I think it is who executes best on the day. Every team will have their plans against various opposition and it’s about executing.
“You could have the best team, you could have 11 international players playing in one side and at the end of the day you don’t execute, you lose to a so-called lesser team.”
Zone A of the Super50 has been carded for Antigua, and that leg bowls off Wednesday with a doubleheader when Windward Islands Volcanoes face West Indies Under-19s at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and Leeward Islands take on English County Kent Spitfires in a day/night contest at Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua.
Title-holders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force complete the group.
SQUADS:
PRIDE – Jason Holder (Captain), Anthony Alleyne, Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Kevin Stoute, Jomel Warrican.
JAGUARS – Leon Johnson (Captain), Christopher Barnwell, Ronsford Beaton, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Shiv Chanderpaul, Rajendra Chandrika, Jonathan Foo, Assad Fudadin, Shimron Hetmyer, Steven Jacobs, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Paul Wintz.
SCORPIONS – Nikita Miller (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Gavon Brown, John Campbell, Andre McCarthy, Damion Jacobs, Brandon King, Reynard Leveridge, Rovman Powell, Damani Sewell, Jerome Taylor, Steven Taylor, Devon Thomas, Chadwick Walton.
MAROONERS – Jamal Smith (Captain), Cassius Burton Jr., Raymond Bynoe, Kyle Corbin, Mark Deyal, Larry Edward, Keon Harding, Nino Henry, Ryan Hinds, Amir Jangoo, Aaron Jones, Jermaine Levy, Vikash Mohan, Christopher Powell.

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