By Sean Devers in Trinidad
In association with Vnet, Regal,
Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel
Guyana Jaguars enter today’s final round of the first half of zone ‘A’ of the Regional Super50 Tournament here, second to the host team Trinidad Red Force on the points table.
The Jaguars face-off with defending Champions Windwards Volcanoes from 14:00hrs today at the Brian Lara Academy, just over an hour’s drive from Port-of-Spain in what has been a hectic schedule.
Guyana have played the Windwards 27 times in 50-over cricket and won 18, lost eight with the other game being washed out. The last time they met the Windwards were victorious in last semi-final in Antigua.
The Jaguars have lost just once in their three matches when pre-tournament favourites the Red Force beat them in their first match on a sluggish Queen’s Park Oval track.
The Jaguars registered victories with bonus points in their other two games at BLA; beating West Indies B by nine wickets and Canada by seven wickets in a game reduced to 47 overs, while the Volcanoes have had an inauspicious start to their title defence.
They began with a loss against the Red Force in a 37-over contest before beating Canada, when Devon Smith’s 132 spearheaded them to 337-9 at the BLA (the highest total so far in the eight-team tournament) in which Zone ‘B’ is being contested in Barbados.
In their last match against West Indies ‘B’ the Volcanoes were 48-0 in seven overs chasing 221 for victory before rain washed out the match.
The Jaguars have capitalised on good batting conditions at the BLA to be the consistent batting team in the tournament, but in their last two games although the bowlers set up the wins with good spells, their middle and lower order have not been tested.
Chris Barnwell, at 31 seems a more matured individual and has followed up impressive displays with the bat when he joined the team in the last tournament as a replacement player.
Barnwell’s 179 runs from three games (including unbeaten knocks of 61 and 99) is only behind T&T’s Nicholas Pooran (230) and Canada’s Naveet Dhaliwal (216) in the runs aggregate.
Tonight Windies ODI selectee Chanderpaul Hemraj, who has 141 runs including his maiden ton, will not be here to partner Trevon Griffith since he left the team yesterday and has been replaced by West Indies U-19 batting all-rounder Renaldo Ali-Mohammed.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul could be used to partner Griffith who has flattered to deceive by throwing his wicket away with injudicious shots when well set for big scores and tonight he must step up to give his team a good start.
Skipper Leon Johnson scored the most runs in the local 50-overs Franchise League including a century in the last round and was looking set on 32 for a big score in the opening game before a brilliant leg-side catch by Denesh Ramdin off left-arm spinner Khary Pierre ended his knock, while Johnson (1) played around one that kept low and was bowled on Tuesday night against Canada.
Raymon Reifer who has been impressive with both bat and ball, then made 50 in an unfinished 153-run stand with Barnwell to see the Jaguars to another emphatic win.
Clinton Pestano has been Guyana’s stand-out pacer; bowling with lively pace, movement and excellent control and has received good support from Reifer, Romario Shepherd and Barnwell, while off-spinner Ramaal Lewis is very consistent and the wickets have been shared among the bowlers.
At 36 and with eight List ‘A’tons to his name including one at ODI level, Devon Smith is the most experienced batsman in this tournament and could be Guyana biggest threat.
The Grenadian has already scored 165 runs and along with Gayle, Samuels and Hemraj are the only batsmen to score a century as he continues to dominate at this level.
If Bajan Kirk Edwards, who has an ODI hundred to his name, Kaveem Hodge, Tyrone Theophille, Kyle Mayer, Rolando Cato and Shane Shillingford gets going on the fast outfield and flat track, the Jaguars could have a game on their hands.
Delorn Johnson should lead the pace attack which could include Kesrick Williams and Mayers, while Shillingford will spearhead to spin department.
Yesterday it rained in Port-of-Spain while the weather forecast for today predicts partly cloudy skies with the possibility of rain. The Red Force oppose West Indies ‘B’ at the Queen’s Park Oval in today’s other game.
Jaguars Squad:- Leon Johnson- Captain, Anthony Bramble- Vice Captain, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Raymon Reifer, Sherfane Rutherford, Christopher Barnwell, Romario Shepherd, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie, Ramaal Lewis, Ricardo Adams, Trevon Griffith and Clinton Pestano and Renaldo Ali-Mohammed.
Volcanoes’Squad: – Shane Shillingford(c), Delron Johnson, Devon Smith, Roland Cato, Tyrone Theophile, Kavem Hodge, Larry Edwards, Obed McCoy, Alick Athanaze, Ryan John, Kyle Mayers, Kesrick Williams, Denis Smith and Kirk Edwards.
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