Jaguars, Hurricanes square off from Friday in PCL
By Avenash Ramzan
Defending champions Guyana Jaguars will look to continue with their winning momentum when they take on Leeward Islands Hurricanes in round two of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) Professional Cricket League (PCL) Digicel Four-day competition, starting on Friday at Warner Park, St Kitts.
While Guyana Jaguars had to dig deep to emerge with a 181-run victory in the opening round against Jamaica Scorpions late on the final day at Providence, Leeward Islands Hurricanes played to a high-scoring draw against Barbados Pride.
Guyana Jaguars, convincing winners of the previous two editions of the PCL Four-day, enjoyed another excellent showing with bat and ball against the Scorpions, extending their unbeaten run to 18 matches.
After amassing 298, the Jaguars dismissed Scorpions for 208 and then proceeded to declare at 238-4, setting the visitors a huge target of 329. Despite a fighting 96 from Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood, Scorpions fell way short at 147.
The Jaguars can take a lot of positives going forward as several players played crucial roles in the win.
Veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul led all scorers with a fine 91, while Test opener Rajendra Chandrika made 86 as well in the first innings. In a hunt for quick runs in the second innings, skipper Leon Johnson made 69 and Vishaul Singh 71.
The bowlers also played their part with spin ace, Veerasammy Permaul, claiming eight wickets in the match, including five in the first innings, while fellow left-arm Gudakesh Motie bagged seven in the game.
Fast bowler Keon Joseph worked up some real pace, troubling the batsmen, especially in the second innings when he claimed three wickets. Head Coach Esaun Crandon said while he is generally pleased with the overall effort, there is some work that needs to be done in the fielding department as the Jaguars dropped a few catches in the first round.
Meanwhile, the draw for the Hurricanes was a welcome result, after they had earned the tag of whipping boys the previous two seasons.
The burly West Indies A team all-rounder Rakheem Cornwall was the standout performer, claiming 5-117 and 4-101, while also making 84 and 60. Nkrumah Bonner missed a hundred by six, while there were fifties for Jahmar Hamilton and Montcin Hodge.
The Hurricanes are third on the standing on 8.8 points, while Jaguars are second with 17.8 points, just behind leaders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on 18 points.
In the other two games starting Friday, Barbados Pride, in fourth position on six points, will take on host Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, while fifth place Jamaica Scorpions will have home advantage against the Windward Islands Volcanoes, who sit in the cellar position.