Guyana’s National T20 cricket team will need to put their lacklustre performance of last Saturday against Trinidad’s Red Force behind them when they take on second placed Jamaica as the Caribbean T20 tournament resumes in the Caribbean island of St Lucia with a double header.
Billed as the showdown of the first round, the two teams brought the curtain down on the Trinidad leg of the tournament but the encounter between the two teams who have won the Regional T20 competition turned out not to be the firecracker many were expecting but a mismatch.
Now the tournament turns to St Lucia where Guyana will clash with Jamaica from 6pm with Trinidad and Tobago opposing the Windward Islands in the night’s feature contest.
Guyana, the Windward Islands and Barbados are in a three way tie on eight points behind the Jamaicans who are on nine points from two wins and a no result.
Barbados has already played four matches to three each by Guyana and the Windwards.
The Trinidadians lead the points standing with 13 points from four wins and a no result against Jamaica which netted the two sides a point each.
Guyana will need to be wary of the Jamaicans who dismissed the Trinidadians for a modest score of 128 in the opening game of the tournament before rain forced a no result to the contest, a feat which shows that their bowlers are not to be under-rated.
In Krishmar Santokie and Nikita Miller they have two of the more economical bowlers in the tournament and they will be backed up by the likes of seasoned campaigner David Bernard Jr., leg-spinner Odean Brown, West Indies player Andre Russell and to a lesser extent the fast medium pace of left armer Sheldon Cotterell.
The Jamaican batting line up is without two of the biggest T20 stars in Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels both of whom were involved in the Australian Big Bash until recently and has been inconsistent to say the least.
The Jamaicans crashed to 72 all out against Barbados handing the Bajans an easy five wicket win with only openers Nkrumah Bonner and John Campbell along with Santokie batting at number nine reaching double figures. They were dismantled by the medium pacer Carlos Brathwaite who bagged four wickets while left arm spinner Sulieman Benn picked up two wickets and fast bowler Tino Best, one.
Bonner and Campbell had put on 38 for the first wicket before the collapse and Guyana will hoping to be able to do the same to the middle-order batsmen even if they do not get the openers out cheaply.
The middle order did come good in the game against the Windwards which the Jamaicans won by 12 runs with Danza Hyatt making the top score of 44 while Andre Mc Carthy made 19 and skipper Tamar Lambert 16.
Lambert and Hyatt were the only two batsmen to post scores of note making 34 and 39 respectively when the Jamaicans played the Leeward Islands.
The saying horses for courses might have to be taken into consideration since the tournament is no longer being played in Trinidad at the Queen’s Park Oval, a pitch spinners (Guyana’s included) have often found to their liking.
As such the selectors might consider bringing in fast bowler Ronsford Beaton for his first bowl today especially following Brathwaite’s success against the Jamaicans.
The idea to use wicketkeeper Derwin Christian as a pinch hitter in the game against Trinidad did not bear the expected results and here again the selectors will have to consider whether to continue the experiment in the hope that Christian can come good later in the tournament or scrap it altogether.
Royston Crandon’s batting and bowling seems to have fallen away somewhat and the selectors could also bring in Leon Johnson for his first game of the tournament while Jonathan Foo and Steven Jacobs have done little with the bat so far.
The biggest failure with the bat has been former captain Ramnaresh Sarwan. However, Sarwan is a class player and although he has so far failed to produce any innings of substance, the team will obviously be hoping that he can find some type of form as the tournament progresses possibly beginning with today’s game.
Guyana’s Shivnarine Chanderpaul has shown that one can play proper cricket strokes and still be successful at this level and it is up to the remaining Guyana batsmen to give Chanderpaul the type of support needed so that the bowlers will not have too small a total to defend.
The team trained yesterday and a win tonight would definitely improve their chances of reaching the semi-finals by placing among the top three teams.