ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Another of the Caribbean game’s longest running rivalries between Guyana Jaguars, the five-time defending champions, and current leaders Trinidad & Tobago Red Force will take centre stage when the third round of matches in the 2019-20 West Indies Championship open on Thursday.
With contrasting results in the previous round propelling Red Force to the top of the Championship ladder and plunging Jaguars three places down, this contest at the Guyana National Stadium highlights the rivalries between teams in the top half of the standings and teams in the bottom half in this round of matches.
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The return to action for West Indies off-spin bowling all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall will also be a major highlight in this round of matches and could prove vital for bottom-placed Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
They face second-placed Windward Islands Volcanoes on the road in the all-Islands rivalry, which will be played under the lights at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.
Another pivotal contest takes place at Sabina Park, it’s another the old-time rivalry bringing together fifth-placed hosts Jamaica Scorpions, a side that has made an art of escapes so far this season, and third-placed Barbados Pride, buoyed by the end of their drought of wins against the Jags.
Jaguars vs Red Force in Providence, Guyana
Red Force continued their strong start to the season, when they crushed Hurricanes by an innings and 168 runs on home soil. But Jaguars stumbled, when they batting failed to fire and they were beaten by the Pride on the road.
For both teams in this contest, the scenery changes for the first time this season. It will be the Jags’ first match on home soil, where they are most comfortable, and the Red Force’s first on the road, which will add some intrigue.
The Guyana National Stadium has been a fortress for the Jaguars during their five successive Championship runs. They have lost just three matches at this venue during that period and have beaten Red Force in their last four matches there.
Also, the Jags have won eight of the 10 matches between the two sides in the Professional Cricket League era of the Championship, but Red Force claimed an unexpected 93-run victory last season, albeit on home soil.
The main storyline for this contest will be, therefore, to see if Jaguars can get their groove back on home soil and their loss last weekend was just a blip, and if Red Force can penetrate the home team’s defence and continue their early success this season.
Bowling appears to be the strength in both teams, but the batting will decide the outcome – and Red Force appear to have the edge so far this season, batting once and piling up a couple of big totals in their two previous matches.
A number of players stand on the threshold of personal milestones which could be accomplished in the match, if they are selected:
Tagenarine Chanderpaul (Jaguars) has scored 1,903 Championship runs and needs 97 more for 2,000;
Vishaul Singh (Jaguars) has scored 2,935 Championship runs and needs 65 for 3,000; and
Devendra Bishoo (Jaguars) has taken 241 Championship wickets and needs nine more for 250.
JAGUARS: Leon Johnson (Captain), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Tevin Imlach, Keon Joseph, Ronaldo Alimohamed, Veerasammy Permaul, Kevin Sinclair, Vishaul Singh, Nial Smith
IN-Alimohamed; OUT–Raymon Reifer
RED FORCE: Darren Bravo (Captain), Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Joshua da Silva, Terrance Hinds, Akeal Hosein, Kissoondath Magram, Jason Mohammed, Uthman Muhammed, Yannick Ottley, Keagan Simmons, Odean Smith, Jeremy Solozano
UMPIRES: Shannon Crawford, Carl Tuckett (Nevis)
MATCH REFEREE: Reon King
RESERVE UMPIRE: Imran Moakan
Scorpions vs Pride in Kingston, Jamaica
After stumbling in the first round, victory over their long-standing rivals Jaguars meant a great deal to the Pride. It was their first win over the Jags in five years and against the same opponents on home soil for six years.
Scorpions also have reason to feel buoyant. Twice this season, their batting collapsed in the first innings and were forced to follow on. Twice, they rebounded with strong batting performances in the second innings to earn hard-fought draws.
There was a time whenever these two sides met, the battle was heated. In the PCL era, however, Pride have dominated in the face of a period of transition and unavailability of senior players for Scorpions.
Pride have won six and lost none of the 10 matches the two teams have played, but they have only won once – last season – and by two wickets – in five matches at Sabina Park, so this contest could prove decisive at this stage of the Championship.
For Pride, the match could either continue their revival following their misstep in the first round, and for Scorpions, it could be the trigger for a turnaround in their fortunes.
Bowling also appears to be the strength of the two teams in this match, so it will be important for them to bat purposefully. Pride will want to emphasise the shaky display in the first round was an aberration, and Scorpions will want to end the sequence of having to come-from-behind to save their skins.
While Pride remain unchanged, Scorpions have been given a boost with the return of Rovman Powell from injury and Brandon King from duties with West Indies in the recent series against Ireland.
A number of players stand on the threshold of personal milestones. They are:
Jermaine Blackwood (Scorpions) has scored 2,937 Championship runs and needs 63 more for 3,000;
Shamarh Brooks (Pride) has scored 2,906 Championship runs and needs 94 more for 3,000;
Justin Greaves (Pride) has taken 46 Championship wickets and needs four more for 50;
Kevin Stoute (Pride) has taken 143 Championship wickets and needs seven more for 150; and
Jomel Warrican (Pride) has taken 194 Championship wickets and needs six more for 200.
SCORPIONS: John Campbell (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Paul Palmer Jr, Nicholson Gordon, Derval Green, Patrick Harty Jr, Brandon King, Jamie Merchant, Marquino Mindley, Rovman Powell, Denis Smith, Oraine Williams
IN–King, Powell; OUT–Assad Fudadin, Aldaine Thomas
PRIDE: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich, Justin Greaves, Keon Harding, Chemar Holder, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Kevin Stoute, Jomel Warrican
UMPIRES: Christopher Taylor, Zahid Bassarath (Trinidad & Tobago)
MATCH REFEREE: Denovan Hayles
RESERVE UMPIRE: Colin Bryan
Volcanoes vs Hurricanes in Gros-Islet, St. Lucia
Cornwall had been sidelined for the first two matches of the Championship to recover from knee surgery. His presence will be a great boost to a Hurricanes side that have suffered defeat in their first two matches.
Cornwall has been a very effective bowler for Hurricanes in the Championship since his debut in the first season of the PCL era. In 41 matches, he has taken 197 wickets – at 23.73 apiece – and needs three more to become the second Hurricanes bowler to take 200 wickets.
He is likely to form a lethal spin bowling combination with Damion Jacobs, who is also chasing the 200-wicket mark.
The Jamaican leg-spinner has taken 191 Championship wickets and needs nine more to hit the mark. His haul includes 163 scalps at 22.51 apiece in 39 matches for his native Scorpions before he was picked up by the Hurricanes in the PCL Draft last season.
This spin bowling duo alongside West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph and fellow pacer Sheeno Berridge gives the Hurricanes bowling an edge, and could put pressure on the Volcanoes batting, if the conditions are right.
But the Hurricanes will require their batting to be more consistent and sure-footed if they are to slow down the Volcanoes.
The hosts will be upbeat about their place in the table and will want to build on their current position, though they failed to clinch a win in the previous round against the Scorpions.
Though experienced opener Devon Smith has not yet fired this season, Volcanoes have been able to put decent totals on the board thanks to players such as Kavem Hodge, Emmanuel Stewart and Desron Maloney, and the bowlers have backed up their efforts – and they will want this trend to continue.
This could be a topsy-turvy contest. The Volcanoes had five wins out of six matches in the first three seasons of the PCL era, but the Hurricanes started to buck the trend in the last two seasons, culminating with a sweep of the matches last season.
VOLCANOES: Sunil Ambris (Captain), Kavem Hodge, Alick Athanaze, Keron Cottoy, Kirk Edwards, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Desron Maloney, Preston McSween, Devon Smith, Shane Shillingford, Emmanuel Stewart, Josh Thomas
HURRICANES: Jahmar Hamilton (Captain), Colin Archibald, Sheeno Berridge, Quinton Boatswain, Keacy Carty, Rahkeem Cornwall, Montcin Hodge, Damion Jacobs, Amir Jangoo, Alzarri Joseph, Jaison Peters, Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas
IN–Cornwall; OUT–Jacques Taylor
UMPIRES: Deighton Butler, Christopher Wright (Jamaica)
MATCH REFEREE: Patrick Felix
RESERVE UMPIRE: Ryan Banwarie (Guyana)
Source: CWI Media