In R2019b or earlier, there is no way to programmatically select a cell or row. This was confirmed with Mathworks and I requested the feature on October 20, 2019.
I tried a dumb way to simulate the selection: use uistyle to highlight a row of interest, and construct event.Indices for a call to CellSelectionCallback. It kind of works, except that the previously really selected row still has light blue background.
On August 28, 2020, I got a notice form Mathworks: “We are pleased to inform you that the issue you reported has been addressed in the R2020a release.”
Given the date they notified me (long after R2020a release), I am guessing it means the issue is addressed in the upcoming R2020b release (expected September 2020). Hope to see the solution soon.