Jaguars face-off with Hurricanes tomorrow
By Sean Devers in St Kitts
In association with Vnet Communications
In what promises to be the match of the round, three times defending Champions and leaders Guyana Jaguars face-off with second placed Leewards Hurricanes from tomorrow at Warner Park in one of three third round games in the CWI Digicel Four-day Championships.
Despite not producing their best performance as yet, Jaguars beat Jamaica at Providence and Windwards Volcanoes in St Lucia and with 40.4 points, enjoy a 10.2 point lead over Hurricanes, who drew with Volcanoes and blew away Barbados Pride in two days and are on 30.6 points.
The Hurricanes are the only team to beat the Jaguars in their last 32 games (twice last season) and they start their 41st game against each other with 12 wins each and 17 draws.
Hurricanes will have found memories of Warner Park where in the second round last season, they broke the Windward Islands’ 33-year-old Regional record of the highest successful run chase by one run. Set 371 to win in four sessions after Jaguars had declared, Hurricanes galloped to 372-4.
In 2014, the Leewards amassed 718 against Kenya in Anguilla, a record that still stands as the highest total in West Indies cricket and are presently playing good cricket.
Leewards hunt their fifth title and first since 1998, while Guyana will want to capture a fourth consecutive Championship, a feat only bettered by Jamaica who registered six successive titles from 2008 when Chris Gayle led them in the Carib Beer Cup.
The return of Shiv Chanderpaul for tomorrow has sparked heated debate on Social Media, but the 43-year-old left hander brings the experience of 164 Tests, 30 centuries and best temperament among the present crop of batsmen in the West Indies.
This season he scored over 800 runs and three centuries in English County cricket to take his tally of First-Class tons to 76. His unbeaten 303 against Jamaica in 1996 is the only triple century scored since sponsored Regional First-Class cricket began as the Shell Shield in 1966.
His 19 Regional hundreds is second most only to Devon Smith’s 24 for the Windwards, while his only two innings in the GCB three-day Franchise League produced 91 and 119.
Chanderpaul should bring some sanity to an erratic line-up in which the top order continues to fail and even the well set batters throw their wickets away with injudicious shots.
Rajendra Chandrika is lucky to still be in the side, while the out of form Tagenarine Chanderpaul, the 21-year-old son of Shiv, will want to give his team a foundation for the middle order to build on.
The level-headed Vishaul Singh looked solid in compiling his seventh ton on his return from ‘A’ team duties, while Keeper Anthony Bramble, the leading run-scorer for Guyana with 178 runs, held five catches and fell 10 short of what would have been a well-deserved maiden hundred before he lost his head and wicket with swipe high to cover in St Lucia.
It will not be surprising if Bramble, who has opened in the 50-over format, replace Chandrika at the top of the order on the small ground here.
Leon Johnson continues to show he is the best Captain in the Region and began with a fifty in Guyana but needs to improve his conversion rate if he hopes to regain his Test place. The positive looking Chanderpaul Hemraj, who got 60 against Jamaica and Shiv Chanderpaul are the other specialist batsmen.
The 19-year-old pair of fast bowling all-rounders, Kemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford has contributed with both bat and ball. Paul scored Guyana’s first hundred this season, while Rutherford bagged eight wickets and made a fifty in St Lucia.
At 22, Romario Shepherd is another talented all-rounder, while the vastly improved Keon Joseph will lead the pace attack with experienced left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker (15) doing the bulk of the spinning for the Jaguars.
West Indies U-19 batsman Keacy Carty is Hurricanes’ leading scorer with 295 and would hope to give the people of Hurricane hit St Martin, something to smile about with another good performance.
Nkrumah Bonner (290), Chesney Hughes (207), Akeem Saunders (177) Jeremiah Louis (151) are the other batsmen with 150 runs this season, while Terrence Ward, Jacques Taylor and Devon Thomas will hope to contribute.
Louis’ 14 scalps is one less than Permaul, while the experienced Gavin Tongue, Mervin Matthew, Bonner and Taylor will strive to restrict a strong Jaguars batting line-up.
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