DEBUTANTS, West Indies Emerging Players, will be looking to cap a fairytale run in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup when they face four-time winners, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, today at the Queen’s Park Oval, St. Clair, from 1.15pm for the crown.
Yannic Cariah’s men shocked Barbados Pride by three-wickets (via Duckworth-Lewis) in the semis after they finished second in Zone B to the TT Red Force. They struggled to chase 119 but eventually got the job done. With that behind them, Cariah believes his WI U-19 players such as Ashmead Nedd, Kimani Melius and Leonardo Julien are coming to the fore, especially after Nedd grabbed a four-for which stunned the Bajans.
“We’ve got a young team but they’re learning fast. They’re getting the experience and we’re moving from strength to strength. Our Windies U-19 players are doing well and I think we’re handling the pressure,” Cariah said regarding his charges.
Medium-pacer Keon Harding is third on the wickets charts with 17 and Cariah also has Queen’s Park star batsman and wicket-keeper, Joshua Da Silva (300 runs), as well as Justin Greaves (287 runs) to rely on. However, with the teams meeting for the first time this tournament, Leewards hold the ascendancy based on two trump card players.
Kieran Powell tops the batting charts with 511 runs while medium-pacer Sheeno Berridge has impressed with 21 wickets. There’s also captain Jahmar Hamilton to contend with, who smashed 78 off 34 to take the Leewards past Red Force in a thrilling semi-final clash as they got past 268. Jason Campbell (12 wickets) has looked good too so the Hurricanes do have some depth, especially with Devon Thomas still around in the wicket. But Berridge is the key player according to Hamilton, who dubbed him “exceptional.”
Following the Red Force upset, Hamilton said he was personally adopting a “see ball, beat ball” mentality for these knock-out matches as he wanted to play attacking cricket to bring the One Day title back home. Leewards last claimed the trophy during the 2010/11 season and have easily adapted to TT’s pitches at the Oval and the Brian Lara Cricket Academy prior to the semis. Still, the Hurricanes know they will be underestimating the Emerging Players as minnows at their own peril.
“People have said they are the rejections from the other teams but as you can see they put out a good performance. They played as a team so we’re not going to take anything for granted. We’re going to come out and put our best foot forward against them,” Hamilton warned.