Guyana and Barbados will both aim to rebound from first round defeats in their 2014 Regional four-day cricket matches when they meet from 15:00hrs today at Providence in their first Day/Night encounter.
The two nations played the very first Regional First-Class match in the West Indies in 1865 and since Regional cricket acquired sponsorship in 1966 Barbados has won the title a record 21 times while the last of Guyana’s six titles was achieved since 1998 when they shared the crown with the Leeward Islands.
Guyana has been hit hard by illness and injury this season, three of their batsmen with West Indies senior team experience (Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Leon Johnson) ruled out of the first match and will all be unavailable for this match also.
The injury issue has been compounded by the forced withdrawal of Guyana’s fastest bowler Ronsford Beaton, who has been replaced by 22-year-old West Berbice rookie pacer Raun Johnson for today’s match after Beaton suffered a side strain in the opening match.
Tagenarine ‘Brandon’ Chanderpaul, who returned from a successful Under-19 World Cup and Chanderpaul Hemraj have been brought into the local team to replace Sarwan and Shiv Chanderpaul.
In 2010 pink balls were used for the first time in West Indies first Class cricket when Guyana opposed Trinidad and Tobago in the inaugural Day/Night Four-Day game in Antigua. However, the concept was shelved until this year when Guyana will host its maiden First-Class match under lights tonight.
Of the 66 matches played against Barbados at this level since 1966, Guyana has just managed 12 wins and suffered 24 defeats with 30 of the encounters ending in draws.
When the teams last met in Barbados last year the hosts won by 93 runs with Kirk Edwards leading the Bajans with a 120 while Jonathon Carter made 85 and Rashidi Boucher 81 and today Guyana will hope to utilize what should be a slow track which should favor spin to reverse that result.
When Barbados scored their lowest ever total of 58 against Guyana two years ago Narsingh Deonarine had a career best 7-26, Guyana won by an innings and 66 runs.
Today, Deonarine will want to lend spin support to left-arm Veerasammy Permaul who had a five-wicket haul in the last game. Leg-spinners Devendra Bishoo and Amir Khan will also need to bowl with control on what should be a fast outfield.
The new ball pair of Keon Joseph and debutant Johnson will hope for support from Chris Barnwell. Sewnarine Chattergoon gets what could be his last chance to justify the selector’s faith in him and should have the inform Tagenarine Chanderpaul as his partner with Assad Fudadin and Vishal Singh, who batted resolutely in a losing cause in Jamaica expected to be the rock Guyana builds there innings around. Barnwell and Anthony Bramble will want to also be among the runs.
The Bajans will hope for their 21-year-old Skipper Kraigg Braithwaite, who has scored four half centuries in his 10 Tests and the only fifty for the Bajans in their first round loss, to lead from the front with the bat.
Carlos Braithwaite, Carter, Boucher, Kevin Stoute and Shane Dowrich will hope to contribute with the bat for the visitors, who are without Dwayne Smith, Kirk Edwards and Jason Holder.
The bowling attack will center round 23-year-old Miguel Cummings who recently made his ODI debut, Tino Best, Carlos Braithwaite, Ashley Nurse, Stoute and left-arm spinner Suleiman Benn.
Guyana’s Coach Esaun Crandon said the pace of Beaton will be missed but added the Johnson bowled impressively in the Inter-County competition.
“Of course we will miss Beaton but Johnson is quite capable of performing at this level in his first match. We have a nice young team and team spirit is quite high. We had a light day on Wednesday since the guys were tried from the long travelling from Jamaica and we arrived at almost two Wednesday morning. Today (yesterday) we had a good session and did some fielding drills also” the Coach added.
Crandon said he expects the pitch to be slow while he feels the pink ball should swing a bit during the night. The match is expected to end by 22:00hrs. (Sean Devers)
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