A Guyana Jaguars side, boosted by the return of three of their more senior players, will have a chance to extend their lead in the 2018-2019 Cricket West Indies Regional Four-Day Championships when they come up against fifth placed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the sixth round from today at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Jaguars suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of nemesis Leeward Islands Hurricanes while Red Force marked their first win with a victory over Jamaica Scorpions to sit on 85.6 and 33 points respectively in their previous matches.
The Jaguars will have the services of West Indies trio, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Vishaul Singh and Raymon Reifer while the hosts will be without one of their most experienced campaigner, Darren Bravo who is in the West Indies test side to face England.
The three players had missed the last round after representing the West Indies President’s XI. Hemraj is one of three batsmen in the side, along with Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Anthony Bramble who have scored centuries this season.
Chanderpaul has been indomitable at the top of the order while Bramble has shown his aggressive nature with two centuries in the middle order to add to his 21 dismissals this season. Hemraj and Reifer have both only played one match with the former scoring 144 not out and the later showing his all-round skill-set with a half century and a five wicket haul.
Singh has also shown his value to the team with two half centuries in four innings, strengthening the top order.
Jaguars Skipper, Leon Johnson, has not had the best of season with only 184 runs from 10 innings but will take confidence from memories of last season where he struck his career best of 165 at the same venue to lead his side to an innings and 127-run win.
In that match spin wizard, Veerasammy Permaul bagged match figures of 9-97. The left arm spinner is currently leading the bowling with 28 wickets to his name.
Jaguars followed up that victory with another innings victory, this time on home soil in the final round, handing them their fourth consecutive championship.
The 27-year-old Reifer, is one of six all-rounders in the squad the others being Keemo Paul, Christopher Barnwell, Sherfane Rutherford, Clinton Pestano and Romario Shepherd. Paul has been in exceptional form with the ball, taking his maiden 10-wicket haul recently while Pestano (14 wickets) and Shepherd (19 wickets) have both scored half centuries this season.
While Barnwell and Rutherford have not featured with the ball as much, only bowling 52 overs between them this season, the duo has both scored half centuries with the bat and Barnwell sits as the third highest run aggregate for the Jaguars.
Newly appointed coach of Red Force, Mervyn Dillon acknowledged Jaguars have been playing consistent cricket but is of the opinion that his side will need to come out and play the type of cricket they can, noting “talent is there but it is a mental thing with the guys.”
Red Force has confirmed the inclusion of speedsters Ravi Rampaul and Tion Webster who were brought back into the side for this showdown and have been featured in the training sessions.
Rampaul, 34, has not featured in the Red Force side in over two years for the longer format but has competed for Derbyshire in the Specsavers County Championship Division two tournament last year. Red Force has been heavily dependent on leg spinner, 34-year-old Imran Khan, who has taken 19 wickets this season with Brian Charles and Daniel St. Clair taking nine each.
Like the bowling, the Red Force batting has struggled with Jeremy Solozano being the only batsman to score a century in the team. He averages 35.6. Every other batsman in the side averages less than 28 with Yannic Cariah being the only other batsman with a score over 50.
Guyana Jaguars: Leon Johnson (captain), Anthony Bramble, Vishaul Singh, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Christopher Barnwell, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Gudakesh Motie, Veerasammy Permaul, Clinton Pestano, Romario Shepherd, Raymon Reifer, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Rayon Griffith (Head Coach), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (Assistant Coach), Neil Barry jr. (Physiotherapist)
Red Force: Dinesh Ramdin (captain), Jeremy Solozano, Yannic Cariah, Jason Mohammed, Tion Webster, Joshua DaSilva, Imran Khan, Ravi Rampaul, Brian Charles, Daniel St. Clair, Khary Pierre, Anderson Phillip, Odean Smith, David Furlonge (Assistant Coach), Mervyn Dillon (Head Coach), Jason Pilgrim (Physiotherapist)