Chance for teams to make up ground
KINGSTOWN, ST VINCENT - The Regional Super50 Tournament enters Round III this weekend with three games taking place on Sunday.
Two of the matches, being played at Warner Park, Basseterre in St Kitts, and at Arnos Vale in Kingstown will be day time matches while Barbados' visit to the Three W's Oval will be a day/night fixture.
The six teams that will be in action this round will be the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands, Barbados, the Combined Campuses & Colleges, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.
We preview what you can look forward to this weekend:
Leeward Islands vs Trinidad & Tobago
The 'Trinis' are still finding their feet in the domestic season this year. They had a rough Round II in St Vincent against the Windward Islands, which was their first round of Regional cricket this year, having drawn a first round bye.
After a disappointing loss in the Regional 4-Day tournament, the visitors bounced back at Arnos Vale to record an impressive 14 run victory in the Regional Super50. But it wasn't without its usual drama.
T&T looked dead and buried having set the Windwards a below par target of 217 to win. At 181/3, the Windwards were cruising to victory, then hit an almighty stumbling block. In the space of 21 runs, Yannic Cariah routed them to finish the match with five wickets and bowl the Windwards out for 202.
It wasn't a convincing victory by any means but it meant a lot to the T&T players. Rayad Emrit, replacing Denesh Ramdin who left for international duty did most things right in the field, and with T&T's Regional 4-Day game in tatters, there next best trophy could be the Regional Super50.
On the other hand, the Leeward Islands endured an opening round loss to Guyana. They managed to put 162 together batting first, and even with T&T's batting woes, that won't be enough. They did manage to take five Guyanese wickets and cause a scare but unless the Leewards can get their game and their season together quickly, they could be out of the hunting on two trophy fronts.
Combined Campuses and Colleges vs Barbados
Jamaica were always going to prove to be a difficult for the students of CCC, however, no one expected them to roll over like they did. The students have been playing very competitive cricket this season but haven't managed to get over the line once.
In the first round of the Regional Super50, from a position of 135/3, the Windwards stumbled to 186/9 to win, and this was because the CCC kept pressing them. But even in that game, the likes of Chadwick Walton and Raymon Reifer had to be spine of the CCC batting.
Against Jamaica, Walton failed, while Raymon Reifer only managed 32. The result was that CCC stumbled to 152 all out off 48 overs. Jamaica too, stumbled in their approach. The batting in domestic cricket this season has been at its finest, but they managed to get the job done, as everyone expected them to. Jamaica were in no real trouble of losing the game. Once they kept wickets in hand, the game was theirs.
There's another tricky opposition in Barbados for the College students to face this weekend. Barbados would have been waiting for this match-up. The thrilling loss at the hands of the students in the Caribbean Twenty20 a month ago will still be fresh in the minds of many Bajan players. The loss ultimately dented Barbados' hopes of a semi-final placing.
There's always a great interest in this game, with both teams being based in Barbados. The real home side saw off the Guyanese with virtual ease in Round II. Christopher Jordan (10-2-24-3), Jason Holder (9-4-15-2) and Ashley Nurse (8.3-1-22-4) rattled Guyana out for a meagre 111 in 40.3 overs. The home team went on to record victory for the loss of five wickets in just over 26 overs.
Exclude Jamaica's first round, but Barbados looked very good against Guyana this season in both the Regional 4-Day and the Super50.
Windward Islands vs Guyana
It's clear to see the progress Windward Islands cricket has made this season. They're unbeaten in the Regional 4-Day tournament and should probably be unbeaten in the Super50 as well. The middle order was always a cause for concern at the start of the season and we saw why against Trinidad and Tobago in Round II. From a position of 181/3, the Windwards imploded to 202 all out.
It's a major setback for coach Ian Allen. Just when the Windward Islands were looking like serious competitors this season, his team give him much to worry about in the middle-order. Even when things weren't going well against T&T, at 184/6, Lyndon James came out and tried to clear long-off the very first ball he faced. The Windward Islands have been receiving a lot of credit for the work they've been doing this season and the results they've been getting, but surely that loss would have hurt coach Ian Allen and his men.
They face a tough opposition in Guyana this weekend. The latter are desperate to get their season going after losing both the Regional 4-Day match and the Super50 game to Barbados. Their first round were routine wins over the Leeward Islands, but any team will tell you, the season is won against the bigger teams. It's who can win against the big teams that win the title, and usually that team is Jamaica.
At this stage of the tournament, mid-way, Guyana will know they need some results, and it needs to be positive. They've got tougher games coming up in the likes of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and if they stumble in Arnos Vale over the next week, their task could be monumental to save their season.