The Guyana Jaguars took a giant step towards banishing the painful memory of their shock back-to-back defeats by producing a magical all-round performance to hammer a sloppy Jamaica Scorpions by seven wickets at the conclusion of round seven of the Cricket West Indies(CWI) Professional Cricket League four-day tournament.
Scores: Jamaica Scorpions 358 and 132; Guyana Jaguars 321 and 171-3.
The Jaguars, with five outright wins this season, have now opened up a significant lead at the top of the standings to remain firm favourites to win a fifth straight title.
They sit on 111.4 points and will now fancy their chances of getting outright results in their final three fixtures against the Scorpions, Barbados Pride and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.
Resuming Sunday’s final day at the National Stadium, Providence, in command of the contest with 145 more runs for victory, the Jaguars reached 171-3 mid-way through the second session.
The run-chase was set-up first by a 57-run opening stand between Chanderpaul Hemraj (42) and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (33) before the left-handed pair of Leon Johnson and Vishaul Singh shared an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 78 runs which eventually sealed the win for the defending champions.
The 31-year-old Johnson remained unbeaten on 61 from 86 balls, counting ten fours and a six while Singh was on 26 from 57 deliveries with three boundaries.
While the 22-year-old Chanderpaul was relatively cautious, his opening partner unleashed some sweetly-timed shots on both sides of the wicket. The 25-year-old Hemraj looked in good touch, hitting eight boundaries, inclusive of a six in his 29-ball knock before he was brilliantly caught at gully by Brandon King off Jerome Taylor.
Sherfane Rutherford, who was again prompted to the number three position, made just five before being bowled by Derval Green to leave the Jaguars at 73-2.
The Jaguars captain joined the left-handed Chanderpaul who was a picture of concentration and once again showed that he has all of the requisite qualities of a good opener. While Chanderpaul struggled a bit early on, he held on well, hitting five boundaries in 73 deliveries before he was trapped leg-before to spinner Kenroy Williams just before lunch.
At the interval, Johnson remained steady on 22 in company with Singh, with the Jaguars on 108-3, 62 runs short of the victory target.
Both Singh and Johnson showed more urgency in the second session with the former completing his second half-century of the match off 72 balls.
However, the two left-handers, who are the team’s most seasoned players, had little anxiety in overhauling the target.
Meanwhile, head coach Rayon Griffith has praised the focus and commitment of his side following the crushing win and has urged them to maintain the intensity as the tournament progresses.