By Sean Devers in Antigua
In association with Vnet Communications,
Bounty Farm, Noble House Seafoods &
Guyana Jaguars, who have won three and lost two back-to-back games to Scorpions and Kent, face off with the USA in their sixth match today at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium from 09:00hrs as zone ‘B’ of the Regional Surper50 Festival continues here in Antigua.
After losing four consecutive matches the USA side, in their fourth Regional 50-over tournament, beat hosts Hurricanes in their last match in the biggest upset so far to register only their second win (beat B’dos in 2000) in the Caribbean.
The Jaguars have lost two matches since the departure of Raymon Reifer and Manager Rayon Griffith for the ‘A’ series against England Lions which commenced yesterday with the first ‘Test’ in Jamaica and will be aiming to return to their winning ways.
The Jaguars will lose Shimron Hetmyer and Devendra Bishoo after today’s game and will hope for an emphatic win with a bonus point and to improve their net run rate.
Their loss to Kent means that they are now second to the English side in this group, while USA’s defeat of Hurricanes, means that Jamaica Scorpions have sneaked back into contention for the semi-finals.
The USA will hope former West Indies batsman Xavier Marshall fires after making 54 against the Jaguars and 40 against the Hurricanes in the first half of the zone.
Former India U-19 batsman 30-year-old Sunny Sohal has been consistent with two fifties so far but the Guyanese will know that he plays a ‘Chanderpaul-like’ role in the USA side and could be contained.
Sohal, Marshall, Jaskaran Malhotra, Skipper Ibrahim Khaleel, Roy Silva, and Mrunal Patel will be banked on to do the bulk of the batting while the big hitting 35-year-old Jamaican left-arm pacer Elmore Hutchinson is capable of giving the ball a ‘wack’ as the Jaguars found out the first time they opposed them; hitting three sixes and two fours in an aggressive 45.
The USA’s new-ball attack is right up there with any of the other teams with Hutchinson and fellow left-armer 26 year-old Saurabh Netravalkar, who played for India in 2010 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, capable of troubling the top order.
They should be supported by medium pacer Silva, while the spin should be taken care of by Timil Patel and Usman Rafiq.
Hetmyer became the 12th Guyanese to score a Regional 50-over century and has looked in command in every innings and is easily the most exciting young batsmen in the West Indies. He however needs at times to temper his aggression a bit and stop giving away his wicket with loose shots when well set.
Chanderpaul Hemraj looks the part but his production of runs does not match his tremendous talent although he has had some ‘hard’ dismissals.
Shiv Chanderpaul’s failure to pass 16 in any of his four innings after making 67 in the first round, again raises the question about his age and suitability for limited overs cricket.
Leon Johnson inconsistency is also becoming a cause for concern since his scores of 0, 50*, 1 99, 1 means he has 149 runs from two innings and two from the other three and are not as impeccable as his leadership.
All of the Guyanese have had starts but their poor shot selection has been a contributing factor to their demise and this aspect of their game has to improve if they hope to lift their first trophy since Chanderpaul lifted the last one in 2005 at Bourda.
Chris Barnwell, who replaced Reifer, has played the two games that the Jaguars lost and looked set in both matches but he failed to convert 15 and 36 into a half-centuries. He has bowled only three overs.
While the bowlers could also show a bit more control, this department has surprisingly been the Jaguars’ strength in this tournament in a side which boosts one of the strongest one-day batting line-ups on paper.
Kemo Paul is widely regarded here as the most naturally talented teenaged cricketer in the West Indies and who many feel was unlucky to have missed out on an ‘A’ team pick.
Along with Paul, Romario Shepherd, Sherfane Rutherford and the spinners Bishoo and Permaul will be depended on today as could be the part time left-arm spin of Hemraj.
Jaguars are favoured to win today but it’s imperative that they win ‘big’ to be assured of a place in the play-off for the first time since Sunil Narine’ 6-9 sent them packing for their lowest ever total (65) in the 2015 Final in Trinidad.
Teams – Jaguars: Shimron Hetymer, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shiv Chanderpaul, Leon Johnson (Capt), Ricardo Adams, Sherfane Rutherford, Anthony Bramble, Christopher Barnwell, 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 and Sunny Sohal.
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