Middle-order batsman Jonathan Carter has warned that Barbados Pride will be at their best for the semi-finals of the Regional Super50 that bowl off in Antigua Wednesday.
Last year’s losing finalists, Pride dominated Group B staged in Barbados, losing just one of their eight games as they accumulated 33 points to top their group five points ahead of the second placed Jamaica Scorpions.
Pride take on Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the second semi-final at Coolidge Cricket Ground on Thursday, with Carter buoyant ahead of the contest.
“At the end of the day it is cricket so we will play on the day and see how it goes,” said the in-form left-hander following Pride’s resounding victory over CCC Marooners in their last preliminary game on Sunday.
“In terms of preparation, Barbados Pride are ready and we are going to play tough cricket. We are all gelling together as a team and a unit and it’s just a matter of playing good cricket on the day.”
He added: “Application, dedication and determination, those are the three words I would use. If you saw a couple of the games we had a few challenges and we came out victorious on two of those occasions batting second, and that was the product of having determination and dedication to win.
“I am sure that the guys in the team are ready and willing to win this tournament.”
Carter has been one of the mainstays of the Pride batting, gathering three half-centuries during the preliminary round en route to an aggregate of 300 runs at an average of 42.
The West Indies batsman said he had entered the tournament full of confidence and though he had failed to score a hundred, his self-belief was still high as the knockout stage approached.
“I’ve taken my confidence from the first game. It’s just a matter of me applying myself for the semi-finals and finals if we do get there, so it’s just a matter of my thinking and the situation of the game.
He continued: “I’m full of confidence. I’ve been striking the ball pretty well. I wanted to go on to a hundred [against Marooners] but I had a job to do for the team as always, and I’m a team person so I tried to continue in upping the run rate and it was unfortunate that I got out on 79.”
The first semi-final is set for tomorrow at Coolidge between reigning champions Trinidad and Tobago and Scorpions.
Experienced fast bowler Ravi Rampaul believes knowledge of the conditions could give Trinidad and Tobago Red Force the edge over the Jamaica Scorpions. Red Force topped Group A which was staged in Antigua.
“We will play our style of cricket. Jamaica haven’t played a game here yet so we will have the upper hand on them because we’ve played six games here,” Rampaul said.
“Hopefully we can come and do our stuff again [but] it’s not a matter of who we are playing but what we do with our skills and variations on the wicket.
“Barbados as well didn’t play any cricket here … and Leewards played more games here. But it’s who bats better in the wicket and use their skills more.”
Rampaul was adjudged Man-of-the-Match on Sunday night for his three-wicket haul as Red Force humbled previous leaders Hurricanes by five wickets to top Group A.
That success took his tally for the tournament to 17 wickets, only behind Pride off-spinner Ashley Nurse with 22, and he credited his recent experience with English County Surrey for his improvement.
“I think that playing in England in their County cricket has really lifted my cricket during the time I was there,” Rampaul said. “Hopefully I could do good for the team before I head off back to England this year.”
Rampaul has been the perfect foil for speedster Shannon Gabriel who has produced some fiery spells with the new ball to unsettle opposing batsmen and Rampaul was full of praise for his pace partner.
“Shannon has been bowling brilliantly for us so far,” he said.
“Throughout this competition he has really put up his hand and he’s been delivering. Me on the other end I just try to keep it tight for him to attack. I can’t fault him, he has given his all.”