By Sean Devers in Trinidad
The Guyana Jaguars will face-off with Windwards Volcanoes from 13:30 hrs in a Day/Night encounter at the Queen’s Park Oval in the Colonial Medical Super50 Cup.
The Jaguars are third in Group B with eight points from three matches with wins over the West Indies Emerging Players and the United States of America (USA). Their only loss was against T&T’s Red Force.
The Emerging Players have played good cricket so far and sit at the top of the points table with 12 points from three wins and the loss against the Jaguars.
However, they have completed their first half of a tournament which sees each team playing each twice in a round robin format before the top two teams from the two groups advance to the semi-finals in Trinidad.
The Red Force, who lost to the Emerging Players on Wednesday are second in group ‘B’ on eight points from two wins and a loss but are ahead of the Jaguars on Net run rate.
The Windwards have four points from two losses and a win over the USA who have lost all four of their games so far.
Last year’s runners up Jaguars have the lowest net run rate of the five teams in group ‘B’ and will need to bat with much more intensity and positivity, especially in the 10 power-play overs were they have struggled to hit boundaries or rotate the strike by finding gaps and running hard for singles and twos.
That has been Jaguars’ biggest worry since the tournament commenced.
Tagenarine Chanderpaul, whose highest score is 40 from 104 balls, has made 50 runs from 125 balls at a strike rate of 39.06.
Chanderpaul’s opening partner Chanderpaul Hemraj has 40 run from three matches. His strike rate of 40.81 is extremely strange from the usually attacking left hander, who is the only member of this squad with a century to his name.
Skipper Leon Johnson made 43 in the last match but has only 65 runs in three matches and the 32-year-old has scored just three fifties for Guyana in his last 15 innings.
The other top order batsman who struggled to score quickly is Kemol Savory who faced 146 balls including 102 dot balls in his unbeaten 71 on debut. He has 81 runs from three matches at a strike rate of 50.00.
The 32-year-old Chris Barnwell has batted with confidence and has 140 runs from his innings including a highest score of 80 at a strike of 95.55, while 29-year-old Jonathon Foo, who has returned to Regional Cricket after a break of almost two years, is the only other Jaguars batsman with 100 runs. His 103 runs were scored at a strike rate of 101.98.
Raymon Reifer is a genuine all-rounder but his 26 against the Red Force is his only score of note.
With Wicketkeeper Anthony Bramble available for today’s game after recovering from minor head surgery, it will be interestingto see who makes way for him.
The Jaguars have faced the most dot balls in the tournament an if the ‘think tank’ is serious about improving their net run rate (which could be crucial in the back-end of the tournament) and their Power-play scores, then Chanderpaul has to be res
With Savory being relieved of Keeping he could be asked to open with Hemraj, who will hope to bat like he did in the CPL.
Another option is allowing the big hitting Bramble to open and hope that Johnson returns to form and Savory rotates the strike to allow batsmen like Barnwell, Foo and Reifer, the freedom to play their natural game after a solid foundation is set by the top order.
Ronsford Beaton is genuinely quick and so is 23-year-old Nial Smith but with Reifer and Barnwell capable of bowling seam, the tour selectors could toy with idea of replacing Smith with left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie.
Most of the Volcanoes batsmen prefer facing pace and left-arm spinners Veerasammy Permaul, Motie and Hemraj along with off-spinner Ramaal Lewis and if needed Foo, the Jaguars could attack with spin.
Veteran opener Devon Smith has just 30 runs but such is his threat at this level that 38-year-old left hander who has eight List ‘A’ hundreds; one of them being scored in an ODI, can come good today.
Kirk Edwards is also woefully short of runs, scoring just six runs and the burden of getting a 200 plus could be left to Desron Maloney, Kaveem Hodge, Keron Cottoy and Shane Shillingford who all had good starts in the win against the US.
The 20-year-old Emmanuel Stewart, Shermon Lewis (played 2 Tests), Ray Jordon and Bhaskar Yadram, who is batting in the lower and playing as a pacer, will all want impress today.
The Volcanoes spinners are led by their 36-year-old off-spinner Shillingford who is one of four bowlers with 100 Regional 50-over wickets. He will expect spin support from leg spinner Keron Cottoy who celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday and had a five-wicket haul in his last match.
Left-arm spinnerLarry Edwards and off-spinner Alex Athanaze provide the Volcano’s with plenty of spin options.
Windwards won their first of four titles when they beat Guyana in Grenada in the 1989 final and the last time they won a title was last year January when they beat Barbados in the final.
Guyana has won nine titles (2 shared) but none since 2005 when they beat Barbados at Bourda and has played in 16 finals since finishing runners-up in inaugural final in 1973 against Barbados.
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