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Merchant Guides Manchester To Final
Off-spinner Jamie Merchant yesterday produced a Man-of-the-Match performance to guide defending champions Manchester to a three-wicket win over the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) in semi-final action of the Jamaica Cricket Association Senior Cup at Up Park Camp.
Set 165 to win after restricting the JDF to 217 in their second innings, Manchester reached their target at 165 for seven with Merchant making 23 not out to go along with a match haul of eight for 108.
He took five for 36 in the first innings and three for 72 in the second.
"We did well to bowl them out in their second innings and restrict the run chase to under 200 and from there our batsmen did the rest," said Manchester captain, Gary Graham.
"It's now on to the final as after winning the competition for the past three seasons we are looking to go four straight."
Resuming on zero without loss, the JDF, who were bowled out for 125 in their first innings, tried to make a game of the match by looking to score quickly.
However, courtesy of Merchant and left-arm spinner David Powell, four for 61, they were never allowed to get going, despite 41 from Joseph Palmer, 35 from Jermaine Edwards and 30 from Dennis Bulli.
Left with a session and a half to achieve their victory target or bat out the rest of the day, Manchester were led to safety by in-form captain Gary Graham, who made 54 to go with his first innings 51, Donovan Sinclair, 48, and national Under-19 opener, Oshane Walters, 36.
Akbar Moodie three for 30 and Leighton Leslie two for 28 claimed most wickets for the army men, who in losing, failed in their quest to land the one-day and two-day double.
"It was an interesting match as although we batted poorly in the first innings, we tried to make a match of the contest," said JDF captain Damion Grey.
"But credit to Manchester they played us hard and never really let us back into the game."
The final will see Manchester squaring off with Melbourne, who defeated St Elizabeth by 10 wickets in the other semi-final two weeks ago.