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April 13, 2012
Jamaica will be chasing a record fifth-straight Regional Four-Day Competition title when they take on Barbados in the final from Friday. It would be their 11th title overall, second only to Barbados, the most successful side in the Regional Four-Day Tournament with 20 titles in the 46-year-old first-class competition.
Incidentally, they share the record for consecutive wins with Barbados - they won between 1977-80, after sharing the title with Trinidad and Tobago in 1976.
In this year's competition, Jamaica have been the form team, winning all six of their league matches including a 120-run win over Barbados. However, Barbados coach Hendy Springer is confident of a strong showing in the final.
"We just need to stick to the basics and play a stronger, more intelligent type of cricket than we did when the two sides met in the [preliminary] round," Springer said. "We have come here to be worthy opponents and the confidence level is high."
Jamaica, who are hosting the final in Sabina Park, are wary of the challenge. Junior Bennet, the Jamaica coach, said his team needs to stay focussed. "This is a final, and finals have always been high-pressure games," he said. "But we are just looking to go out there to do what we have been doing over the last few weeks: play good, consistent cricket."
Barbados will field a side without Kemar Roach and Kirk Edwards, their second-highest run-scorer in the competition, both of whom are playing in the West Indies-Australia Tests.
Jamaica Squad: Tamar Lambert (capt), Dave Bernard Jr, Jermaine Blackwood, Odean Brown, Sheldon Cotterell, Danza Hyatt, Xavier Marshall, Donovan Pagon, Jamie Merchant, Horace Miller, Nikita Miller, Brenton Parchment, Andrew Richardson
Barbados Squad: Shamarh Brooks (capt), Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashidi Boucher, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich, Justin Greaves, Kyle Hope, Omar Phillips, Javon Searles, Dwayne Smith, Jomel Warrican
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Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough