By Sean Devers in Antigua
In association with Vnet Communications,
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In was here in Antigua in 1980 that Guyana won the first of its nine 50-over titles when Skipper Roy Fredericks’ 119 powered them to 101-run win against the Leewards.
But since 2005 when Guyana, led by Shiv Chanderpaul, beat Barbados in near darkness at Bourda, Guyana has not won another title despite reaching the semi-finals seven times and the final twice (2009 & 2015) with T&T winning on both occasions.
In 2015 Sunil Narine’s 6-9 destroyed Guyana who were bowled for 65, their only double digit total in the history of Regional 50-over Championships which began in 1976 as the Gillette Cup. The Jaguars failed to reach the semi-Final in the last two seasons.
Clive Lloyd in 1983 and Roger Harper in 1993, (title was shared with the Leewards after the final was washed out at Albion) are the only Guyanese Captains to win both the First-Class and the 50-overs titles in the same year and Leon Johnson will hope to join them this year.
Johnson will also want to join Fredericks (1980), Lloyd (1983), Milton Pydanna (1985), Harper (1993), Hooper (1998 & 2001) and Chanderpaul (2003 & 2015) as Guyana’s winning 50-over Captains.
Today from 09:00hrs at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium the Guyana Jaguars battle English County Kent, who became the first County side to participate in an overseas tournament when they played in last year’s competition.
Rain has affected the Jaguars preparation with them not getting in any work at all on Monday and just physical training and ‘throw downs’ yesterday since the nets at today’s match venue where the Jaguars were scheduled to practice could not accommodate bowling since the bowlers’ run-up was wet.
A lot will expected from Chanderpaul, who is the only surviving member of the 2005 team and needs to open the batting and let the other more aggressive batsmen, bat around him and share in partnerships in a team which includes six players who have played Test cricket.
Chanderpaul, who has 11 ODI tons, Captained Guyana to its last two titles and was the only Guyanese to get a century last year.
Chanderpaul Hemraj has to continue batting in his usual attacking manner and make use of the power-play overs, while Shimron Hetymer should bat at three and Johnson four. Anthony Bramble is in wonderful form and should bat at five with Kemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Raymon Reifer and Romario Shepherd following in that order.
Both Devendra Bishoo and Veerasammy Permaul could contribute with the bat and will give the Jaguars plenty of firepower on paper.
A 300 plus total is now the norm in 50-over cricket and all of the Guyana batsmen, except Chanderpaul, Johnson and Reifer, are capable of scoring at an explosive rate and sensible batting and good shot selection should get the Jaguars a 350 total on a track which should slightly favour the English seamers.
The Jaguars’ bowling will bank on Reifer, Shepherd, Paul and Rutherford who will provide the pace while Bishoo and Permaul are expected to take care of the spin, while good fielding is crucial in the 50-over game.
Kent is a very experienced and professional side which will be led by 31-year-old Joe Denly, who has two fifties in nine ODIs for England and includes 35-year-old James Tredwell, who played the last of his two Tests against West Indies in 2015 and has 60 wickets with his off-spin from 45 ODIs for England.
Apart from the two players with International experience, 24-year-old Daniel Bell-Drummond has nine First-Class tons and four 50-over centuries, while 29-year-old Alex Blake is regarded as a brutal 50-overs batsman and has a hundred and eight fifties at this level, 19-year-old Zak Crawley, who scored 62 on his First-Class debut last year against the touring West Indies and South African born Sean Dickson who scored 318 for Kent last year will be depended on with the bat.
Will Gidman has four fifties and 51 wickets at this level along with all-rounder Calum Haggett will expected to contribute with both bat and ball for the English side, while Wicketkeeper Adam Rouse, who was born in Zimbabwe, can also contribute with the bat.
Aussie born Mitchell Claydon, at 35, has 122 wickets at this level with on target seamers and will expect support from Aussie Grant Stewart and Ivan Thomas, while Left-arm Spinner Imran Qayyum and off-spinner Adam Rileywill lend support to Tredwell.
Teams: Jaguars: Shimron Hetymer, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shiv Chanderpaul, Leon Johnson (Capt), Ricardo Adams, Sherfane Rutherford, Anthony Bramble, Raymond Reifer, Kemo Paul, Davindra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul, Ramaal Lewis, Romario Shepherd and Clinton Pestano.
Kent: Joe Denly (Capt), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Mitchell Claydon, Zak Crawley, Sean Dickson, Will Gidman , Calum Haggett, Matt Hunn, Imran Qayyum, Adam Riley, Ollie Robinson, Adam Rouse, Grant Stewart, Ivan Thomas and James Tredwell.
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