PCL: Jaguars start as favourites against bottom-placed Scorpions

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By Akeem Greene

It is a tale of two extremes as top of the table Guyana Jaguars face bottom-placed Jamaica Scorpions in round four of West Indies Four-Day Championship at the National Stadium, Providence, from Thursday.

A matter of 23.4 points separate Jaguars and Scorpions on the standings, and for the visitors, it is not a venue for happy hunting, since they have never won at Providence in the era of the Professional Cricket League.

Actually, they have only defeated Jaguars once, last February in Kingston, and for the reigning five-time champions, a big win in these favoured conditions would help significantly in extending the 0.2 lead over second-placed Barbados Pride.

From left: Kevin Sinclair, Veerasammy Permaul and Devendra Bishoo will battle for two of the spinners spot

All-rounder Raymon Reifer makes a return to the squad after a concussion injury in the second round, replacing Ronaldo Alimohamed.

Speaking on the eve of the match, the Barbadian felt it is important to stick to basics.

“I don’t think we need to change a lot in order to get that edge over the Scorpions. We just need to continue playing the good brand of cricket we are playing and let the result take care of itself.”

The calls for Jaguars batsmen to convert their starts have not stopped. There has been a total of 10 fifties and no hundreds, and Reifer, who has Test experience, felt it is imperative they keep the focus.

“I just think it is probably losing concentration. Once you get past fifty or getting a good start and I think what they need to do once they get past that mark is keep it at the back of their mind since it is little harder to get pass that period and go on to three figures.”

Anthony Bramble has the highest score of 91, followed by Christopher Barnwell with 82, one of his two gutsy half-centuries this season. Tagenarine Chanderpaul leads the batting with 247 runs at an average of 61.75, failing to convert three solid half-centuries.

Reifer also spoke glowingly of new kid on the block, pacer Nial Smith, who has taken 16 wickets in three matches. He should prove to be another handful on a pitch which up to Wednesday midday, had a good covering of grass.

Jamaica Scorpions batsman, Assad Fudadin

Scorpions have been weakened from the previous round with the loss of batting talents Brandon King and Rovman Powell to the West Indies tour to Sri Lanka.

Batsman Paul Palmer, the second highest leading runscorer this season, returns from a hand injury, while all-rounder Peat Salmon, on the cusp of his First-Class debut, is also included.

Guyanese batsman Assad Fudadin felt despite Scorpions being the only team without a victory this season, having lost one and drawn two, there is still great positivity in the camp.

“I am not going to say things have not gone well; we had two good games, is it is just that we have to string some wins now. We have been playing good cricket. We were a bit off against Barbados, but we have some positives in that.”

Fudadin, who last played a Test match in 2012, says he is happy to return home and hopes to produce the goods. Fudadin has 59 runs from four innings this season.

From a team perspective, he felt if they are more patient and more thoughtful in execution they stand a good chance of toppling Jaguars.

Guyana Jaguars: Leon Johnson (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tevin Imlach, Keon Joseph, Veerasammy Permaul, Raymon Reifer, Kevin Sinclair, Vishaul Singh, Nial Smith

Jamaica Scorpions: John Campbell (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Assad Fudadin, Derval Green, Patrick Harty Jr, Jamie Merchant, Marquino Mindley, Nicholson Gordon, Paul Palmer Jr, Pete Salmon, Denis Smith, Oraine Williams

Match time is 09:30h.

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