As the Guyana Jaguars continue their hunt for their first title in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional Super50 in 13 years, they face an unsettled Leewards Hurricanes side today.
In the earlier encounter in the competition, the Leewards seemed destined to win, due mainly to their big hitting all-rounder, Rakheem Cornwall who smashed 10 sixes on his way to 119. Cornwall and Terrence Ward added 136, but once they departed, the Hurricanes folded, as Keemo Paul bagged five scalps, and Guyana scrambled home by 19 runs.
Since that game, the Jaguars have suffered shock defeats at the hands of Jamaica and Kent, but bounced back to trounce the USA. Meanwhile, the wheels have come off the Hurricanes who were whipped by nine wickets by Kent, succumbed by 59 runs to the USA, their first win in the tournament, and finally, they were brutalised by the Scorpions in a 148-run defeat.
No doubt that the absence of Cornwall, who is in Jamaica playing for West Indies A, has left a huge hole in the Hurricanes set up. In the batting department, Hurricanes have struggled to score runs reaching 180 only twice, while falling to the USA for 134. Before Cornwall’s departure, they had compiled scores of 280+ in all three of their matches.
Cornwall is still their leading run scorer, despite missing their last three matches. His aggregate of 273 runs leads their second-best run getter, Montcin Hodge by 81 runs.
On the other hand, Guyana will be pleased to see Chandrapaul Hemraj getting amongst the runs, having been the only top order batsman not to get a good score. However, much more is expected from Skipper Leon Johnson who has had scores of 1,1,19 since making 99 against the Hurricanes. Shimron Hetmyer has smashed 40, 10, and 5, but with his potential, the Jaguars are expecting much more. Shivnarine Chanderpaul has also struggled since their first match, whilst averaging just 27 and striking at 57.
Should the Jaguars be faced with chasing a big total, at least three of these batsmen have to come good and not depend on the lower order. If the lower order have to play their part with the bat, they have already proven their dependability with Sherfane Rutherford, Anthony Bramble, and Keemo Paul all getting amongst the runs.
The Hurricanes bowlers have failed to take regular wickets since Cornwall’s departure. Kent lost only one wicket, while Jamaica smashed 329, the highest total of the 2018 Super50 season.
The Jaguars have taken 26 wickets in their last three contests and their bowling seems to lack killer instinct. USA were stumbling at 5-59 but recovered to 144.
In their last four matches the front-line bowlers, Veerasammy Permaul, Devindra Bishoo and Sherfane Rutherford have only managed to take 12 wickets, an unacceptable return of one wicket per bowler per match.
Guyana currently sit at the top of their group with 18 points from six matches (four wins, two losses) but with Kent on 17 points from five matches (four wins, one loss) and Jamaica on 15 points from five matches (three wins, two losses), they need to win to extend their lead in their bid to make the semi-finals, since only the top two teams advance from the group stage. The match will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua from 14:00hrs.