Challenge Trophy semi-finals set

Jamaica captain and top-scorer, Paul Manning, dispatches one to the boundary.

The top four teams have advanced to the knock out stage of the NCB T20 Challenge Trophy to be played on Sunday, 18 December, 2016.

The final group stage matches were played at the Jimmy Powell Oval and Smith Road Oval on 11 December.

At Smith Road Oval, World Stars were given a challenging total to chase, when one of the pre-tournament favourites, Jamaica, stroked their way to 144 for 5 off their allotted 20 overs. Captain Paul Manning top-scored for Jamaica with 42, Conroy Wright scored 35 and Deno McInniss 34. Al Shields took three wickets for 33 runs for World Stars. Nkrumah Morgan was very economical with the ball, taking one wicket for a measly 13 runs from his four overs.

What appeared to be a daunting total was easily attained by World Stars, led by brilliant batting from opener Jalon Linton who made 64. Jamaica would rue dropping Linton early on by newly crowned cricketer of the year, Troy Taylor. Captain Sam Suberan chipped in with 31 and together with Linton held together a significant partnership of 56 which saw World Stars safely home at 145 for 5. Corey Cato and Paul Manning got two wickets apiece for 15 and 24 runs respectively.

World Stars won by five wickets.

In-form opener Jalen Linton raises his bat after reaching his half century for World Stars.

In-form opener Jalon Linton raises his bat after reaching his half century for World Stars.

With Jamaica having lost the first game, this put India in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals in their game against Barbados. Barbados won the toss and batted first, scoring an even 100 for 9, from their allotted 18 overs. Tennyson Roach top scored with 24, Marlon Hoyte 21 and Kirkpatrick Clarke 17. Ravindra Karkera was the most successful bowler for the Indians, bagging three for 20 off his four overs.

India knew they had to get these runs and get them fast. They started the charge immediately but were quickly pegged back at 16 runs for four wickets in the first four overs. Superb pace bowling from Bajan seamer Greg Shepherd did the bulk of the early damage. However, the India middle order was able to steady themselves to put together a match-winning partnership of 85 between allrounders Akhilesh who got 47 not out and Nitin 31 not out. India reached 101 for 4 off 12.2 overs. Shepherd bagged three wickets for 22 runs.

India's Larry Gomes makes a spectacular diving catch.

India’s Larry Gomes makes a spectacular diving catch.

India won by six wickets but in the end, it was not enough to see them through to the last four, as Jamaica scraped through on superior net run rate.

In the only game at the Jimmy Powell Oval, Cayman Islands thrashed Sri Lanka by 94 runs to easily qualify for the semifinals. Cayman won the toss and batted first, scoring the tournament’s highest total of 158 for the loss of 3 wickets, off their 20 overs.

Zachary McLaughlin smashed 55, Alessandro Morris 31 and Ramon Sealy a blistering 35. No Sri Lanka bowler was spared in the onslaught, the best figures of no wickets for 19 runs was returned by Umar.

In Sri Lanka’s turn at the crease, the demoralised team could only muster 64 all out in 16.2 overs as the Cayman bowling ripped apart their innings. Gregory Smith and Alessandro Morris got three wickets each to seal a comfortable win for the victors.

The semi-final matchups will pit World Stars against Guyana at the Jimmy Powell Oval and Cayman Islands will take on Jamaica at the Smith Road Oval.  Both games start at 10:00 a.m. Sunday. The winners will advance to contest the finals at Smith Road Oval at 2:30 p.m.

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