Jaguars and Pride hunt for points intensifies

Thu, Feb 6, '20

 

Regional 4 Day

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – There are three compelling rivalries in the fourth round of matches of the West Indies Championship, which resumes on Thursday following a two-week break.

With a mere 0.2 points separating them at the top of the table, long-standing foes Guyana Jaguars and Barbados Pride will face awkward opposition in their hunt for a bag of points to put light between each other.

Jaguars, the five-time defending champions and current table leaders, will be on home soil at the Guyana National Stadium, when they face Jamaica Scorpions, a side that has shown a penchant this season for coming from behind to save matches.

Second-placed Pride, runners-up to the Jaguars in each of their title-winning seasons, will be on the road at Warner Park, where they are hosted by a Leeward Islands Hurricanes side that shrugged off a slow start to the season to win in their previous match.

And, the return to the Championship of the decorated pair of Andre Fletcher and Denesh Ramdin will further flavour an already fierce contest at Windsor Park between hosts Windward Islands Volcanoes and the visiting Trinidad & Tobago Red Force – two teams in the middle of the table with 0.2 points also separating them.

 

 Jaguars vs Scorpions in Providence, Guyana

 

Jaguars returned to the top of the table following their third-round win on home soil over Red Force and Scorpions stumbled to their first defeat against Pride in the previous round, after twice batting from behind to earn draws.

But if there was one team that the Jags would relish playing at this stage to put the pressure on the chasing pack, it would be the Scorpions.

The Jaguars have won all but one of the 10 matches the two teams have played in the PCL era of the Championship, including all five matches at the venue for this weekend’s contest.

Scorpions can take heart in their eight-wicket victory on home soil in February last year and their seeming “backs-to-the-wall” batting this season to give them a bit of hope that they can resist their opponents, but it will be a huge task.

Jaguars welcome the return of left-handed all-rounder Raymon Reifer to give a boost to their batting and bowling. Scorpions have been weakened from the previous round with the loss of the batting talents of Brandon King and Rovman Powell to the imminent West Indies Tour of Sri Lanka.

The Jags are a settled, confident unit that know their strengths and weaknesses, but the Scorpions rebuild continues and they will require their handful of senior players, especially in the batting, to show greater stability to be able to slow down, if not stop, the home team.

A number of players stand on the threshold of personal milestones which could be accomplished in the match, if they are selected:

 

• Devendra Bishoo (Jaguars) has taken 243 Championship wickets and needs seven more for 250;

• Jermaine Blackwood (Scorpions) has scored 2,942 Championship runs and needs 58 more for 3,000;

• Keon Joseph (Jaguars) has taken 90 Championship wickets and needs 10 more for 100;

• Veerasammy Permaul (Jaguars) has taken 445 Championship wickets and needs five more for 450; and

• Vishaul Singh (Jaguars) has scored 2,976 Championship runs and needs 24 more for 3,000.

 

Squads:

 

JAGUARS (from): Leon Johnson (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Tevin Imlach, Keon Joseph, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Kevin Sinclair, Vishaul Singh, Nial Smith

IN-Reifer; OUT–Ronaldo Alimohamed

SCORPIONS (from): John Campbell (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Assad Fudadin, Derval Green, Patrick Harty Jr, Jamie Merchant, Marquino Mindley, Nicholson Gordon, Paul Palmer Jr, Pete Salmon, Denis Smith, Oraine Williams

IN–Fudadin, Salmon; OUT–Brandon King, Rovman Powell

UMPIRES: Zahid Bassarath (Trinidad & Tobago), Deighton Butler (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)

MATCH REFEREE: Colin Stuart

RESERVE UMPIRE: Ryan Banwarie

 

Hurricanes vs Pride in Basseterre, St. Kitts

 

After starting the season with a loss, Pride moved to within touching distance of the top of the table, after back-to-back wins over the Jaguars and Scorpions in their two previous matches. Hurricanes got a timely boost of confidence with a comfortable victory over Volcanoes in the third round, after opening with two losses.

This could prove to be the cliched banana peel for the Pride. Though they have won six of the 10 matches between the two sides in the PCL era, Hurricanes given proof that they cannot be taken lightly, twice going onto their opponents’ turf and clobbering them.

The two sides also return to the venue, where the Hurricanes will have fond memories of narrowly failing to pull off a thrilling heist, when they were set a victory target of 312 in the 2017-18 season and their slow bowling duo of West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall and Jamaican leg-spinner Damion Jacobs have made it difficult for opposing batsmen.

But the Hurricanes attack from the previous match has been compromised a bit with the loss of lanky pacer Alzarri Joseph to the imminent West Indies Tour of Sri Lanka. The Pride attack too, has been weakened with West Indies pacer Kemar Roach being rested and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican sidelined with a finger injury.

On a pitch that is typically tailor-made for batting, it should be hard work for the bowlers, but it is an opportunity for the batsmen on both sides to make a big impact.

A number of players stand on the threshold of personal milestones which could be accomplished in the match, if they are selected:

 

• Shamarh Brooks (Pride) has scored 2,911 Championship runs and needs 89 more for 3,000;

• Cornwall has taken 199 Championship wickets and needs one more to become the second Hurricanes bowler to take 200 wickets;

• Justin Greaves (Pride) has taken 46 Championship wickets and needs four more for 50;

• Jacobs has taken 192 Championship wickets and needs eight more for 200; and

• Kevin Stoute (Pride) has taken 143 Championship wickets and needs seven more for 150.

 

Squads:

 

HURRICANES (from): Jahmar Hamilton (captain), Colin Archibald, Sheno Berridge, Quinton Boatswain, Rahkeem Cornwall, Nino Henry, Montcin Hodge, Damion Jacobs, Amir Jangoo, Jaison Peters, Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas, Terance Warde

IN–Henry, Warde; OUT–Keacy Carty, Alzarri Joseph

PRIDE (from): Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Camarie Boyce, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich, Dominic Drakes, Justin Greaves, Keon Harding, Chemar Holder, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Ashley Nurse, Kevin Stoute

IN–Boyce, Drakes; OUT–Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican

UMPIRES: Patrick Gustard (Jamaica), Lyndon Rajkumar (Trinidad & Tobago)

MATCH REFEREE: Stewart Rawlins

RESERVE UMPIRE: Bernard Joseph

 

Volcanoes vs Red Force in Roseau, Dominica

 

Fletcher, who has played 25 One-day and 42 Twenty20 Internationals for West Indies, has not played in the Championship since he made 13 and five for the Volcanoes against the Jaguars almost three years ago at the Guyana National Stadium.

Ramdin, a veteran of 74 Tests, 139 ODIs and 71 T20Is for West Indies, was the Red Force captain last season and led their batting aggregates, but he has not played a match this season.

They will replace Sunil Ambris and Darren Bravo, the players that led the respective teams in the previous round. They too, will be missing this weekend because of the imminent West Indies Tour of Sri Lanka, with the captaincy duties falling to Kavem Hodge for Volcanoes and Yannick Ottley for Red Force.

Having started the season strongly, Volcanoes and Red Force stumbled to defeats in the previous round against Hurricanes and Jaguars respectively, leaving them nestled in the third and fourth.

After tasting the high life in the table, neither side will want to fall further behind and will chase a big haul of points that would keep them in step with the front-running pair.

The rivalry in this match-up has been fierce in the PCL era of the Championship with the Volcanoes holding a 5-4 edge over Red Force. But the visitors have reason for hope in this match.

Last season, Red Force won the return duel between the two sides at the venue for this weekend’s contest by a whopping 190 runs and this should give them some motivation to press hard.

Two players stand on the threshold of personal milestones which could be accomplished in the match, if they are selected:

 

• Yannic Cariah (Red Force) has taken 48 Championship wickets and needs two more for 50; and

• Akiel Hosein (Red Force) has taken 43 Championship wickets and needs seven more for 50.

 

Squads:

 

VOLCANOES (from): Kavem Hodge (captain), Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Keron Cottoy, Andre Fletcher, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Desron Maloney, Preston McSween, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Emmanuel Stewart, Josh Thomas

IN–Cato, Fletcher, Shillingford; OUT–Sunil Ambris, Kirk Edwards

RED FORCE (from): Yannick Ottley (captain), Yan­nic Cari­ah, Bryan Charles, Joshua da Sil­va, Ter­rance Hinds, Akeal Ho­sein, Kissoondath Magram, Jason Mohammed, Uth­man Muhammad, Denesh Ramdin, Kea­gan Sim­mons, Je­re­my Solozano, Daniel St. Clair

IN–Ramdin, St. Clair; OUT–Dar­ren Bra­vo, Odean Smith

UMPIRES: Johnathan Blades (Barbados), Christopher Taylor (Jamaica)

MATCH REFEREE: Reon King (Guyana)

RESERVE UMPIRE: Ericson Degallerie

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