Face Windwards today
By Sean Devers
Leaders Guyana with 24.2 points from four matches are technically three matches away from claiming their first ever Regional under-19 cricket ‘double’ when they begin the penultimate round of 50-over tournament against the Windward Islands today at Albion in Berbice.
Guyana are the most successful under-19 team in three-day cricket and won their 13th title in that format last month. But the South Americans have never won a 50-over title since the competition was first played in Trinidad in 1998 as replacement for rain ravaged three-day competition.
Today from 09:30, on what is expected to be a fast outfield and flat track conducive to batting, the home team will aim to maintain their unbeaten streak after registering wins over the Leewards, ICC Americas, Trinidad & Tobago and defending Champions Jamaica.
Jamaica, the dethroned three-day champions, have the most 50-over titles and have captured the one-day trophy for the past two years. They are second on the points table with 21.8 points but have played one more match than Guyana. They draw the bye today before facing the Windwards in the final round tomorrow.
The Jamaicans will be hoping for a Guyana win at Albion today since if the Windwards beat the hosts today and Jamaica tomorrow, they could prevent the lads from Reggae Country from reaching their third consecutive 50-over final.
Both Guyana and Jamaica will want T&T, who have no chance of reaching the final in a format in which they have five titles, to get past Barbados at Everest today.
Guyana’s final preliminary round game is against the Bajans at the Stadium tomorrow and both Barbados (14.5) and the Windwards (14.8) have an outside chance of qualifying for Friday’s final.
The other game today involves bottom-of-the-table ICC America and the Leeward Islands at Providence.
At Albion, a ground which hosted the first ever ODI in the West Indies in 1977, Guyana will be led by West Indies U-19 openers Shemron Hetmyer and Tagenarine Chanderpaul, who has demonstrated that he can be as destructive as anyone at this level if he so chooses.
Brian Sattuar is also known for his power-hitting but he has consistently undermined his obvious talent with reckless shots which has resulted in him not managing a single half-century in either the three-day or one-day format so far. But if he and Hetmyer explode today the anticipated large crowd could be in for a treat.
Kemo Paul is Guyana most consistent batsman with three consecutive fifties in tournament, while the Corentyne pair of Askay Homraj and Sharaz Ramcharran along with Balchand Baldeo and Kemol Savory, arguable the best Keeper on show, can all contribute significantly with the bat.
Guyana will depend on Paul, who bowled with genuine pace on a ‘dead’ Bourda track against Jamaica in the last game and he could share the new ball with off-spinner Baldeo, who continues to operate with a ‘suspect’ action.
Ramcharran would be very familiar with the Albion track since he grew up playing on that ground and is considered by many as Guyana’s best young off-spinner. Leg-spinner Steven Sankar has bowled too many bad balls but has also picked up vital wickets while Daimon Waldron is expected to offer crucial support in a spin based attack.
Gidron Pope and Melvin Gordon will hope to lay a solid foundation for their team for Sherman Hooper, Kershaskie Jno Lewis, Skipper Roland Cato, Anson Latchman and Ryan John to build on.
Jno Lewis and John should share the new ball while Deron Hypolite, Doran Edwards, Pope, Obed McCoy and Craig Phillip could all lend support with the ball but if Hetmyer, Chanderpaul, Sattaur, Paul and Homraj gets ‘stuck in’ the Islanders could spend part of their trip to Guyana’s second largest and most Eastern County, chasing leather today.
Teams: Guyana: Brian Sattaur (captain), Sharaz Ramcharran (vice captain), Balchan Baldeo, Daniel Basdeo, Tagenarine Chandrapaul, Shimron Hetmyer, Askay Homray, Keon Morris, Keemo Paul, Steven Sankar, Kemol Savory, Niall Smith, Daimon Waldron, Akel Wallace
Windward Islands: Roland Cato (captain), Kershaskie Jno Lewis (vice captain), Doran Edwards, Melvin Gordon, Kharmal Hamilton, Sherman Hooper, Deron Hypolite, Ryan John, Anson Latchman, Sherman Lewis, Obed McCoy, Craig Phillip, Gidron Pope, Tonis Simon
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