THREE humiliating defeats this season have complicated the equation for the Guyana Jaguars, who now go into their final match of the Regional Four-Day tournament at Guyana National Stadium, Providence today in a must-win situation.
The Jaguars are the holders of the Headley/Weekes trophy, symbol of West Indies first-class supremacy for the past four consecutive years, but a loss for Leon Johnson’s men against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in this final round, will only weaken their chances of a fifth straight title.
Jaguars moved to 136 points, a shade over 25 points clear of their closest rival, Leeward Islands Hurricanes who sit on 110.8 points. The Hurricanes hold the edge somewhat with a game in hand. They welcome Windward Islands Volcanoes in this round but then take on Barbados Pride in their outstanding match starting March 14.
However, despite the points-difference between Jaguars and Red Force, a ding-dong battle is expected over the next four days.
Both teams are coming off victories in their previous matches with Jaguars pulling off a seven-wicket win over Pride while Red Force whipped the Volcanoes by 190 runs. The defending champions, unlike the previous four tournaments, have been up and down throughout this season.
Their top order batting for the latter part of the tournament was a huge let-down, an area head coach Rayon Griffith said, must improve during this game.
“The top order batsmen haven’t brought anything much so far and it will be good if they can come into this game and lay the foundation for us. It’s a crucial game but it’s all about the players executing well and enjoying whatever they are doing. It is a must-win game but at the same time they (the players) must go out and enjoy the cricket,” Griffith said yesterday.
While stressing that every encounter is different, Griffith, who is also the West Indies ‘A’ team coach, says his team is focussed on completing the season with a win. “It’s a new game … we just have to ensure we are consistent in the three departments (batting, bowling and fielding). This is a new game so it will be different … and we are ready for the challenge,” the coach emphasised.
Meanwhile, Jaguars have named an unchanged squad for the clash. On the other hand, Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin, admitted that the clash will be a tough one. Ramdin, the former West Indies captain, believes that while it will definitely be an uphill task for his side over the next four days, he anticipates a good game of cricket. Play starts at 14:00hrs in the day/night affair and admission to the venue is free. Further, Pride remain third on 96 points, Volcanoes are still fourth on 86 but are now only a fraction of a point ahead of Red Force 85.6, while Scorpions’ fifth defeat of the season left them bottom of the standings on 82.4 points.
Guyana Jaguars squad reads: Leon Johnson (captain), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Vishaul Singh, Sherfane Rutherford, Christopher Barnwell, Raymon Reifer, Anthony Bramble, Romario Shepherd, Ramall Lewis, Akshaya Persaud, Gudakesh Motie and Veerasammy Permaul.
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force squad reads: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Jeremy Solozano, Joshua Da Silva, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Yannic Cariah, Imran Khan, Bryan Charles, Khary Pierre, Daniel St Clair, Odean Smith, Anderson Phillip, Tion Webster, Mervyn Dillon (coach), David Furlonge (manager/assistant coach), Jason Pilgrim (physio)
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For many years the West Indies team ruled the cricket world, playing undefeated in a Test series for over 15 years. Recently the West Indies team has suffered several losses but with the emergence of new high-calibre players the future for the West Indies cricket team looks very good!
West Indians are passionate about their cricket, quick to cheer when the team performs well but also quick to criticize a poor performance. Thousands of West Indians always turn out to watch their team play .... and hopefully win!
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