By Akeem Greene
Guyana Jaguars will play the Windward Volcanoes beginning today in their eight-round match of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)/ Professional Cricket League at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, St Lucia.
Despite their hard fought seventh-round draw against the Pride, Jaguars still top the league table with 107 points, 17 more than second place Barbados Pride while the volcanoes are in fifth with 41 points.
Jaguars will certainly want a win today to further secure the retention of their title and preserve their unbeaten run in 13 matches thus far.
The last time these two teams met at the National Stadium, Providence; Guyana defeated the Volcanoes by 104 runs and were led by Test batsman Rajendra Chandrika with a fine 146.
Jaguars leading wicket-taker Gudakesh Motie who was left out in the final eleven for the match at home to Barbados Pride, may yet again find himself in the same position as Beausejour pitch is known for its bounce and carry and the selectors will be inclined to play two outright seamers.
Their batting is in good hands with the likes of the tournament’s leading run scorer Vishaul Singh (566 runs at an average of 56.60); and in third place captain Leon Johnson (499 runs at an average of 49.90).
Young opener, Tagenarine Chanderpaul who in this season has been a steady performer with the bat, especially in the second innings with scores of 81, 42 and 69 in his three matches to date.
Right-arm seamer Keon Joseph impressed with the ball at Kensington Oval and with similar conditions expected in St Lucia, Joseph will be looked upon to provide the early break through.
On the other side of the coin, Volcanoes themselves were part of a hard fought draw against Leeward Islands Hurricanes in their last match. They will look to senior members such as Devon Smith, Liam Sebastian, Delorn Johnson and Shane Shillingford for inspiration.
Shillingford so far has taken 31 wickets from seven matches and the last time these two teams played, the off-spinner was a torn in the Jaguars side, snaring a match haul of 11-143; with five left-handers in the top seven, he could yet again be a threat.
The experienced Smith will lead an underperforming batting line-up as he is their leading run getter with 298 runs with a high score of 89 this season. First ball bowls off at 10:00h.
JAGUARS: Leon Johnson (captain), Robin Bacchus, Ronsford Beaton, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Rajendra Chandrika, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Assad Fudadin, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Vishaul Singh
VOLCANOES: Liam Sebastien (captain), Sunil Ambris, Miles Bascombe, Alston Bobb, Kavem Hodge, Keddy Lesporis, Kyle Mayers, Kevin McClean, Kenroy Peters, Jerlani Robinson, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Tyrone Theophile.
The other matchers will see Trinidad and Tobago Red Force play Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the National Cricket Center (Trinidad) and Jamaica Scorpions play Barbados Pride at Sabina Park.