Miller relieved at victory over Colleges
Kingston, Jamaica - Spinner Nikita Miller expressed relief after former winners Jamaica recovered to beat the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) by 59 runs on Monday to squeeze into the fourth and final semi-final spot in the Regional Four-day tournament.
The Jamaicans, whose batting has been underwhelming in recent years, were again found wanting in that department, but an admirable bowling performance on a spinner-friendly wicket shoved them over the line.
"We had to dig deep. We're happy to be in the semi-finals," the left-arm finger spinner told the Jamaica Observer.
Monday's win stopped a three-game losing streak as Jamaica ended the preliminary stage with 59 points, behind title-holders Barbados (82), Trinidad & Tobago (80) and Windward Islands (65). The Combined Campuses, who entered the game with a shot at the semis, finished fifth with 49 points.
The Tamar Lambert-captained Jamaicans will now meet hosts Barbados at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, while Trinidad & Tobago welcome Windward Islands to the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain. Both games begin on Saturday.
Miller, who took eight wickets in the match, including three in the second innings as their opponents slumped from 131-3 to be dismissed for 177 in search of 237 runs to win, praised his teammates, while singling out part-time off-spinner John Campbell, who took 4-17 in the CCC's run-chase.
"It was a total team effort, though we haven't batted well this season. The pitch helped spin bowling and we exploited the conditions. John Campbell is a part-timer, but he spins the ball a lot and he did well for us," he said.
Miller, who has West Indies senior team experience, noted the untarnished record against the Combined Campuses in four-day cricket, but said he felt they still had the advantage when they entered the final day on 155-5.
"We normally play well against them and they've never beaten us and it's good that we continued that trend.
"It was awesome because we were behind and they needed 82 runs with five wickets in hand in the morning. They had the upper hand, but during the first hour we took those five wickets," the spinner argued.