Lambert - We deserved to win semi-final

Jamaica Observer article.

Kingston, Jamaica - Jamaica's cricket captain Tamar Lambert says his players deserve a place in the final, despite a calamitous batting collapse against Barbados in the Regional Four-day competition which nearly saw them missing out.

The Jamaicans, led by Lambert's sparkling first-innings century and an admirable team bowling effort, took control of the first three days of the semi-final encounter and entered the final day on a commanding 106-2 in search of 167 runs for victory.

However, a total of seven wickets fell for the addition of 61 runs as Jamaica scraped home by one wicket in a tense finale at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. Medium pacer Kevin Stoute was the main prick in the side of the Jamaicans with a five-wicket haul for the League champions Barbados.

All-rounder David Bernard and lower order batsman Nikita Miller, who batted at number 11 because he was not feeling well, carried Jamaica over the line with respective unbeaten knocks of 14 and three, in an invaluable last wicket stand of 12 runs.

"I think it was a very good game and we played the better cricket over the first three days. They fought back on the final day, but we deserved the win," Lambert told the Jamaica Observer.

He said a few nerves were jangled under Stoute's rampage, but insisted that he had confidence in Bernard and Miller on what he felt was still a decent batting pitch.

"Yes, I was a little nervous, but still felt we would have gotten there. They are two senior players so they were the two best (persons) you want at the crease in that position.

"The pitch was not really difficult to bat on. We just played some loose shots and they bowled in some good areas as well," the 33-year-old skipper added.

Jamaica will challenge for the Headley/Weekes Trophy against Windward Islands, who recorded a comfortable victory over Trinidad & Tobago in the other semi-final. The final begins tomorrow at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.

The Headley/Weekes Trophy is named in honour of West Indies batting legends George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes.

Barbados, also the 2012-13 champions, already have the tag of this season's regional winners after topping the league standings with 82 points to take the President's Trophy. Trinidad & Tobago followed with 80 points, while the Windward Islands ended with 65.

Jamaica, who were badly beaten at home by Barbados during a three-game skid in the preliminary stage, ended fourth in the league standings with 59 points.

The Combined Campuses and Colleges finished fifth with 49 points, ahead of Leeward Islands (42) and last-placed Guyana (29).

First Published In The Jamaica Observer.

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 04:58