Oct 13, 2018 Sports
By Sean Devers in Trinidad in
association with Regal, Vnet,
Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel
Guyana has not won a 50-over title in 13 years while Trinidad and Tobago has tasted Championship success in three years and today at the Brian Lara Academy in South Trinidad the two teams clash for second time in this season’s Regional Super50 from 11:30hrs in a top of the group clash.
The star studded and pre-tournament favourites Red Force have been unbeaten in the first half of Zone and are on 17 points from four matches while the Jaguars’ only loss has been to the hosts in their first game and are placed second on 15 points.
Whichever team win today will go top of the points table and well placed to lead the group ahead of the ‘final-four’ in Barbados. The Red Force has emerged victories the three times that they have met in this tournament going back to 2015 finals when Sunil Narine destroyed the Jaguars for their lowest 50-over total (65) by taking 6-9.
The Guyanese were then knocked out in the 2016 semi-finals by the Red Force and again losing to the home team in this season’s tournament. But all of those three games were played at spin friendly Queen’s Park Oval in the Twin Island’s Capital while today’s contest will be played on the flat track at the BLA where all three of the centuries in Zone ‘A’ were scored and where Devon Smith’s eighth 50-over ton, the Volcanoes registered the tournament’s highest total (337-9 v Canada).
In their last game Jaguars overcame a middle order slump to beat defending Champions Volcanoes by 93 runs at the BLA while the Red Force defeated West Indies ‘B’ by 70 runs with both teams winning with a bonus point.
In 28 head-to-head matches between the two teams Guyana has won 15 and lost 12 while the 1996 final was washed out and today’s game is an important one for both sides. The Red Force’s batting is strong with Nicholas Pooran’ 240 runs with three fifties in four matches being the most by any batsman in this tournament while Denish Ramdin (156), Lendl Simmons (136), Kyle Hope (142) and Jason Mohammed (90) are the other Red Force batsmen with half-centuries.
Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Narine, Imran Khan, Narine and Reyad Emrit have not yet put up a big score and although Evin Lewis, who been picked for the ODI series in India, might not play today and Darren Bravo who is still injured, the Red Force boast the strongest batting line-up on paper.
But on a track with some carry for quick bowlers, Guyana’s five-prang pace attack led by the outstanding Clinton Pestano (7 wickets and the best economy rate) and including Chris Barnwell, Raymond Reifer, Romario Shepherd and Sherfane Rutherford could make life uncomfortable for the Trinis.
In their last game it was spin that did the damage as off-spinner Ramaal Lewis, Jaguars’ leading wicket-taker with eight scalps and left-arm spinners Veerasammy Permaul and Ricardo Adams, in his first game all bowled well and shared nine wickets between after Pestano had bowled Smith with a beauty.
Narine will once again be the main threat for the Jaguars’ batsmen and is the leading wicket-taker for his side with eight victims. He could be supported by Emrit, Bravo, Khary Pierre, Khan, Ravi Rampaul and Pollard.
Guyana will depend on their top order with Trevon Griffith (64) and Rutherford (69) posting 121 for the first wicket in the last game while Barnwell with scores of 19, 61*, 99* and 29 is their leading run scorer and looks in the best form of his life.
Skipper Leon Johnson added 70 with Griffith against the Red Force in the first half but failed to demonstrate the type of form he displayed in the CGI 50-over League preceding this tournament but there is no doubt about his ability and would want to contribute today.
Reifer has also batted well for the Jaguars lower order which is packed with all-rounders but have been disappointing, especially with their shot selection. A mouth-watering affair is anticipated and fingers are crossed for no rain interruptions since this is in the middle of the rainy season here.
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