Feb 27, 2021 Sports
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – Today from 13:30hrs at the Coolidge ground in Antigua, Guyana Jaguars and pre-tournament favorites Trinidad Red Force face-off for the Clive Lloyd Trophy in Final of the CB Insurance Regional Super50 which culminates under lights.
The Leon Johnson led Jaguars won the last of their nine titles in 2005 when, led by Manager/Assistant Coach Shiv Chanderpaul, they defeated Barbados at Bourda.
Since then this is their fourth trip to finals and for the third time since then Trinidad will be their nemeses.
Trinidad is the most successful team in Regional 50-over cricket with 12 titles but none since 2016 when they beat Barbados by 72 runs at the Queen’s Park Oval.
When the two best teams in the tournament clash today in what could be good conditions for batting with a small ground, fast outfield and cold and windy conditions at night, the mental fortitude could be the key ingredient for the Jaguars if they hope to break the decade and a half title drought and give Guyana a great belated 51st Republic Anniversary gift.
The Red Force boosts a virtual West Indies team and will bank on Jason Mohammed the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 326 runs with a century and a fifty.
He is the only batsman with 300 runs, while only Guyana’s Shimron Hetmyer with 280 runs has passed 275 in this tournament.
Daren Bravo, at his best form, is elegance personified and arguable the Caribbean’s best batsman. The classy left-hander has scored two fifties and averages 74.00 from four innings.
Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis are the other batsmen in the Red Force side, while Nicolas Pooran is an exciting talent.
Newly appointed West Indies T20 Skipper Kiron Pollard and former West Indies Captain Denesh Ramdin are short of runs and they would want to ‘come good’ today.
Former West Indies pacer Ravi Rampaul (10) is their leading wicket-taker, while although a bit on the expensive side pacer Anderson Phillip (9) has also picked up wickets. They will also depend on spinners Imran Khan, Khary Pierre, Akeal Hosein and Mohammed.
Guyana’s 305-7 against the Windwards is the highest total in the tournament and one of only two 300 totals this season, while Johnson, Chris Barnwell and Hetmyer have all scored centuries.
The 194-run fifth wickets stand between Hetmyer and Raymond Reifer is the fifth wicket record since the inauguration of this tournament in 1976.
Hetmyer batted brilliantly and demonstrated wonderful maturity and responsibility (attributes not too often associated with the Berbician) in his masterful 113 in the semi-finals and if he gets going today he could set the ground on fire.
Guyanese fans will hope that his non-selection on the West Indies team to face Sri Lanka next month is used as a motivation for him to get a bit more serious with his cricket.
Chanderpaul Hemraj has made 219 runs but he has managed just a single half-century and would want to improve on his conversation rate.
New kid on the block Tevin Imlach has looked accomplished and along with Hemraj have given Guyana solid foundations by playing the supporting role to the aggressive Hemraj who would hope to go on to a big score today.
Johnson, Barnwell, Romario Shepherd and Anthony Bramble are the other batsmen to reach 100 runs but they will want to lift their game today, while Raymond Reifer has made an instant impact on his arrival from Bangladesh with his innings in the semis with his team in trouble.
Against the Red Force and especially Bravo and Pollard, Nail Smith could replace Permaul with Shepherd, Reifer and Barnwell backing his up in the pace department.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie had the most wickets in the tournament with 16 scalps, while off-spinner Kevin Sinclair will want to celebrate his T20 and ODI selection with another frugal spell.
His five wickets have come at an economy rate 3.20 which is best economy in the tournament for all bowlers who delivered more than six overs.
This comes on the back of him having the best economy rate when he helped West Indies Emerging Players to Championships honours in the last Regional Super50.
In addition to the two spinners, Hemraj is being used as the third spinner.
Whatever happens today the grand finale should be a riveting contest and if Guyana can be mentally strong they can return home with the Trophy this year.
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