Guyanese stars aim to upset Trinidad squads in UWI T20

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Malteenoes All-Stars will be looking to stun all the T&T franchises and claim the UWI-Unicom Twenty20 title, as the tournament bowled off today from 10:00h, at the Sir Frank Worrell Cricket Ground at UWI SPEC.

The Guyanese team, no longer entering the competition as Georgetown All-Stars, will be led by Steven Jacobs, and according to vice-skipper Travis Blyden, they’re ready to upset the local squads. The visitors are in Group B alongside Preysal Cricket Club and Tobago Marlins, with their matches on Friday.

“We have a well-rounded team. We have Steven Jacobs, who’s the captain. He’s a very experienced player for us that played for Jamaica in the CPL. Also, he played for Guyana a couple years as well,” Blyden said. The danger man, though, is unsurprisingly Jonathan Foo, one of the country’s most prominent batters.

“We know Foo is a really good cricketer, a good hitter of the ball. We saw what he did in the past and we also saw what he did in the 50-over tournament that went last month for Guyana. We are really relying on him. He’s a key player in the team,” Blyden said.

Travis Blyden

They will be the only Guyanese team this year as Demerara Cricket Club, which lost the 2017 final to Cane Farm, won’t be participating again. Blyden himself played in the tournament in the past and said the quality of the competition has his team “excited,” especially knowing a Guyanese team almost won it previously.

“I played in this tournament a couple years ago for UWI. It’s a very competitive tournament as you are playing against seasoned campaigners – people who are playing for their national teams all year round, and so forth. We know the competition is very stiff. So my advice to the team and my captain: we just got to stick to the basics. We have the talent and ability, so we just have to take it step by step,” he said.

Blyden also mentioned players such as Kemol Savory (wicketkeeper), Robin Bacchus, Kellon Carmichael, Anthony Adams and an opener who has made his name on the T&T limited-overs circuit, Trevon Griffith, as crucial to the team’s quest.

As for Preysal and the Marlins, he said, “We know they’re good teams. There’s a lot of experience with both of them but T20 is who plays the better cricket on the day will be successful. We just have to do the basics, play hard cricket and stay focused and look to come out on top.”

Steven Jacobs

Blyden maintained their all-rounders would be integral cogs in moving out the group to the knockouts.

“We also have very experienced players. We are strong in the batting, bowling and fielding departments so we’ve just got to come and play excellent cricket to progress in this tournament and try to go all the way and win,” Blyden said.

Thursday’s Group A matches have defending champs Queen’s Park Cricket Club, Marchin Patriots and UWI in action, with games at 10:00h, 14:00h and 18:00h. Group C, with Clarke Road, Powergen and Defence Force, bowls off Saturday. Sunday’s action will then pit a returning Merry Boys against East Zone Tigers and Aranguez Sports Club following the absences of Demerara and a Barbados Invitational XI.

The teams are vying for a first-place prize of $40,000 and a trophy, with the runners-up claiming $15,000 and a trophy. Each losing semi-finalist will receive $4,000. The quarter-finals take place on January 14 and 15, the semis are on January 17 and 18, with the final to be played on January 19 at the same venue.

Admission is TT$20 to the public and TT$10 for UWI staff and students. (Trinidad and Tobago Newsday)

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