By Sean Devers in Barbados
In association with Trophy Stall & Tower Suites
Defending Champions Guyana Jaguars, on the back of six consecutive wins, sit top of the points table with 101 points in this season’s PCL four-day First-Class cricket tournament and with four games remaining the
Jaguars are well positioned to roar to back-to-back titles.
The last time the Jaguars lost a game in CPL cricket, the PPP/C was in power, Georgetown was an untidy mess and there were no issues over the national colours (Green & Yellow) of Guyana’s sporting teams.
Many things have changed since Barbados registered a heart-breaking two-run win 13 matches ago in November 2014 in Guyana’s own backyard. Set just 69 to win Guyana fell for 67.
But the one thing that has not changed since then is the consistency of the Jaguars who have devoured every team except the Red Force, who escaped with a draw.
In recent times the Guyanese have dominated Barbados in Bim and they have won both of their games in Barbados in PCL cricket including the one last season when the hosts declared, setting the Jaguars 335, the highest fourth innings total to win at the Kensington Oval. That Guyana won by four wickets is now history.
In the third round of this season last year, Guyana registered their first win against Barbados in Guyana since a century from Andy Jackman and an 11-wicket match haul from Roger Harper led the South Americans to a nine-wicket win in 1984.
Today at Kensington, the front-runners face-off with their closest opponents on the points table and should Barbados get the maximum 20 points they will go ahead of Guyana by a point. No team has recorded the maximum five batting points although Barbados had 19 in their last match to reduce Guyana’s lead from 22 to 19 points.
Guyana and Barbados have faced each other 85 times since they met in the first ever Regional First-Class game at the Garrison Savannah in Bridgetown in 1865 and Barbados have dominated with 34 wins to Guyana’s 16, while both teams highest total at this level was achieved against each other.
In 1966, when the Shell Shield was inaugurated, Barbados amassed 559-9 declared in Barbados against Guyana who responded with 641-5 declared the next year in the first series played by Guyana as an Independent Nation.
Today the Jaguars will again pin their hopes on 27-year-old Vishaul Singh (548) who is the only batsman with 500 runs, three centuries and an average of 68.50.
Skipper Leon Johnson, the 28-year-old left-hander has 409 runs at an average of 51.12 and is only one of four batsmen with 400 runs. Both Singh and Johnson got unbeaten centuries in the last round and would want support from Test batsmen Rajendra Chandrika and Assad Fudadin to fire at the top of the order.
The absence of his illustrious father provides 19-year-old Tagenarine Chanderpaul another chance to register a big score after getting 81 against Jamaica and 42 against the Red Force in his only two games for the season.
Anthony Bramble has improved tremendously behind the stumps but need to be more consistent with the bat, while Raymon Refier is capable with both bat and ball as are Test spinners Devendra Bishoo and Veerasammy Permaul who had a nine-wicket match haul in the last round.
Gudakesh Motie is the leading wicket-taker with 36 but with Bishoo and Permaul back he is not needed as the third spinner and the Coach might want add the pace of Ronsford Beaton as Keon Joseph new ball partner with Reifer as the third seamer along with the two spinners.
Barbados will look to Kraigg Braithwaite who is averaging 79.00 from just five innings with two tons at the top of the order. Braithwaite has 15 First-Class hundreds since making his debut at this level in 2009 and has been the Region’s most consistent batsman in the last five years.
The 23-year-old Royston Chase (476) and 23-year-old Shamarh Brooks (429) are among two of the four in the 400 club. The 22-year-old Test batsman Shai Hope and Braithwaite scored centuries in the last round against the Windwards.
Kyle Corbin and Keeper Shane Dowrich will also be depended on to contribute runs for the Bajans who will be without Jason Holder and off-spinner Ashley Nurse and Carlos Braithwaite, replacements for the West Indies team for next month’s t20 World Cup. The Bajans, the most successful Regional First Class team with 20 titles, will depend on pacer Miguel Cummins, all rounder Kevin Stoute, Antiguan off spinning all rounder Hadyen Walsh jr and Chase with the ball.
The only new comer is Barbados U-19 pacer Keon Harding who also played for Barbados in U-17 Football team as a Goalkeeper.
Guyana Jaguars: Rajendra Chandrika, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Assad Fudadin, Leon Johnson (Capt), Vishaul Singh (V/Capt), Raymon Reifer, Anthony Bramble, Veerasammy Permaul, Devendra Bishoo, Gudakesh Motie, Keon Joseph, Ronsford Beaton, Robin Bacchus, Esuan Crandon (Head Coach), Rayon Griffith (Asst Coach/Manager)
B’dos Pride: Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Kyle Corbin, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Justin Greaves, Keon Harding, Shai Hope, Omar Phillips, Kevin Stoute, Hayden Walsh Jr., Wendell Coppin (manager), Henderson Springer (head coach), Roderick Estwick (Consultant to fast bowlers).
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