IT CAN be called a group finale or top-of-the-table clash, but whatever name or names it is given, weather permitting today, Malta Supreme Guyana and former champions Jamaica will culminate action in Group A of this year’s West Indies Cricket Board NAGICO Super50 tournament at the Queen’s Park Oval from 14.00hrs this afternoon.
Both sides are on nine points, having defeated defending champions Windward Islands and Ireland in their two opening matches to secure a place in the semifinals, taking a bonus point each from Ireland in the process.
This means that today’s game can also be seen as a dress rehearsal for the final, which is set for the same venue and will see the winner take home the Clive Lloyd Trophy, if they both come away with victories in the semis.
The Guyanese last won a title at this level under the astute captaincy of Shivnarine Chanderpaul in 2005 when they defeated Barbados at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, to lift the WICB KFC Cup.
The Guyanese had an intense net session at the outdoor nets of the venue yesterday, while the Windward Islands and Ireland were going at each other on the field of play.
After they defeated defending champions Windward Islands and ousted them from the tournament in the process, Malta Supreme Guyana skipper Christopher Barnwell expressed his delight at the win, despite having to face certain hurdles prior to and during the contest.
“We did not get off to the best of starts, the wicket was playing a bit tricky and somehow the batters manage to stick it out and we know once we kept wickets in hand we can always go hard at the end.
“So we plan just to see out the new ball and ensure that we had wickets in hand for the latter part of the innings which eventually played out for us,” Barnwell said to WICB Media after the win against Windward Islands.
He added, “While the batters did a good job, the bowlers held their nerves to pull off the victory. I was very impressed with young Ronsford Beaton and also fellow fast bowler Paul Wintz as well as Veerasammy Permaul, who all held their nerves and bowled in the correct areas.”
Meanwhile, Barnwell says despite their success, his side will remain firmly grounded as they recognise their mission is not yet fulfilled.
“What we’re doing is taking it step by step; we’re just focusing on our goal and the process.”
“We would love to be in the final. We’re in the semi-finals so I think it is just a matter of taking the next game that we’ve got in stride and trying to continue with this momentum. We don’t want to be looking too far ahead of ourselves. I think for us it has been a process and we just want to continue that process.”
For today’s game, Malta Supreme Guyana will look to Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who is back after missing the last game due to an abscess on his right leg, Trevon Griffith and the tournament’s leading run scorer Ramnaresh Sarwan to once again bolster their batting.
Support will come from skipper Christopher Barnwell, Leon Johnson, Narsingh Deonarine and Royston Crandon and Robin Bacchus (if selected), with support from Anthony Bramble, Veerasammy Permaul, Devendra Bishoo, Paul Wintz and Ronsford Beaton.
The bowling led by Beaton and Wintz, have already shown they can do the job with the new ball in both matches to date and against the Jamaicans, it should be no different, backed by Barnwell and the Albion Cricket Club spin trio in Bishoo, Permaul and Deonarine.
Chairman of Selectors Rayon Griffith, who has accompanied the team as the Assistant Coach to Esuan Crandon, yesterday told Chronicle Sport there is some concern as it relates to Malta Supreme Guyana’s fielding to date.
“There are some small areas we have to improve on, with the fielding department being of concern to us” said Griffith.
“We are not picking up the ball as clean as possible, but we already noted that to the players and have commenced some work in the areas of concern, while our spinners are not as consistent as we would like them to be, but there is work to be done and we are willing to assist them to get it right.”
Jamaica will be looking to former skipper Tamar Lambert and John Campbell, two of their inform batsmen to date, Andre McCarthy, Andre Russell and skipper Dave Bernard Jr., to lead them with the bat.
They will be backed by Carlton Baugh Jr. and Nikita Miller, with many Guyanese remembering Miller’s last ball six against Deonarine at the Guyana National Stadium last year, which earned the Jamaicans a win and took away from Guyana a semifinal spot.
In the bowling, former West Indies fast bowler Jerome Taylor along with Andrew Richardson and Sheldon Cottrell will take charge of both new balls, while they will receive valuable support from Bernard Jr., Russell, Lambert and Miller.
JAMAICA: David Bernard Jr (captain), Nikita Miller, Andre Russell, Carlton Baugh Jr (wicket-keeper), Tamar Lambert, Andrew Richardson, Horace Miller, John Campbell, Jermaine Blackwood, Andre McCarthy, Sheldon Cottrell, Jerome Taylor, Nkrumah Bonner, Kenar Lewis; Junior Bennett (coach).
GUYANA: Christopher Barnwell (captain), Shiv Chanderpaul,, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Anthony Bramble (wicket-keeper), Robin Bacchus, Trevon Griffith, Leon Johnson, Narsingh Deonarine, Royston Crandon, Assad Fudadin, Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul, Ronsford Beaton, Paul Wintz; Esuan Crandon (coach).
Written By Calvin Roberts in Trinidad and Tobago
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