By Sean Devers in Antigua in association with Vnet Communications, Bounty Farm, Noble House Seafoods and Playter’s Enterprise
These teams had contrasting results in the opening round with Guyana Jaguars beating Kent by 35 runs while USA suffered a 162-run defeat to host Leewards Hurricanes. Although in the last two seasons Americans played as part of the ICC Americas which included players from Canada and Bermuda, this is a full US National team and it’s not their first trip to a West Indies Regional 50-over tournament.
They participated in 1998, 2000 (when the late Guyana batsman Neezam Haffiz came with the team and they beat Barbados) and 2008 when they came with a depleted side without Skipper Guyanese Steve Massiah, among others, due to work commitments.
This is their first tournament since touring the UAE and Oman in December and they will want to rebound from their loss on Wednesday when they were bowled out for 136 in 35.5 overs in reply to Hurricanes’ 298-8. Only Jaskaran Malhotra (43) and former West Indies player Xavier Marshall (40) showed fight.
At 35, Jamaica left-arm pacer Elmore Hutchinson (3-44) and his new ball partner 26-year-old Indian left-are Seamer Saurabh Netravalkar (3-43) troubled the Hurricanes batsmen before Rakeem Cornwall (132&3 wickets) made the difference.
On the other hand, the Jaguars were bowled out for 233 in 49 overs as only Shiv Chanderpaul, who has the most runs in Regional 50-over cricket, reached a half-century with 67. Anthony Bramble (39) and Sherfane Rutherford (38) made shot-filled cameos, after Jaguars had stumbled to 33-3.
Kent was marching to victory at 129-2 before Veerasammy Permaul (4-46) and Davendra Bishoo (3-34) befuddled the Englishmen who made 198 in 46.3 overs. This could be Jaguars’ easiest match today but cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and Jaguars cannot afford to be complacent.
The USA will be led by 35-year-old Wicketkeeper, India-born Ibrahim Khaleelandthe, 31-year-old Marshall who played seven Tests, 24 ODIs and last played for Jamaica in 2013 before migrating to New York.
Marshall joins Guyanese Sew Shivnarine, Faoud Bacchus, Clayton Lambert and Neil Mc Garrell along with Hamish Anthony, Adam Sanfordand Jermaine Lawson as West Indies Test players to play for the USA.
Two former India U-19 players (Saurabh Netravalkar and Sunny Sohal) are also in the USA squad. Their batting will depend heavily on Marshall, Sohal, Jaskaran Malhotra, Khaleel, Nisarg Patel and Timil Patel.
Sohal, 30, played for India U-19s in 2007 and has three centuries in 21-First-Class matches for Punjab. He represented Kings XI Punjab in the inaugural IPL in 2008 and played 22 matches in four seasons with Kings XI and Deccan Chargers.
Netravalkar, who played for India in the 2010 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, could cause problems with the new ball, especially if the pitch plays like it did in the game against Kent. Hutchinson could also be a threat with the new ball.
Left-arm spinners Nosthush Kenjige and Timil Patel could also be threats to the Jaguars batsmen. Both teams practiced yesterday on a hot day here and the Jaguars are likely to play an unchanged side from their opening game and could use Chanderpaul Hemraj to open the batting with Chanderpaul, who will once again be required to bat deep and allow the other more aggressive batsmen to bat around him.
Hemraj scored the most runs for Guyana in the last First-Class competition as an opener and Test batsman Shimron could come at ‘three’ and temper his aggression a bit while Skipper Leon Johnson needs to contribute more with the bat. The Jaguars batting line-up is full of power-hitters and is strong on paper.
Test all-rounder Raymond Reifer and Kemo Paul bowled well against Kent and once Rutherford and Romario Shepherd produces economical spells, Bishoo and Permaul will have the luxury of bowling in ‘attack’ mode. The game starts at 09:00hrs today.
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.
USA: Ibrahim Khaleel (Capt), Adil Bhatti, Elmore Hutchinson, Nosthush Kenjige, Jaskaran Malhotra , Xavier Marshall, Prashanth Nair, Saurabh Netravalkar, Mrunal Patel, Nisarg Patel, Timil Patel, Usman Rafiq, Roy Silva, Sunny Sohal.
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