Barnwell, Hemraj put Jaguars back on winning course
After being wounded by two consecutive defeats, the Guyana Jaguars hit back very hard to dispose of the United States of America (USA) by seven wickets with 29 overs and five balls to spare to get their Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional Super50 campaign back on the right trail.
The victory was set up by a maiden half century from opener, Chandrapaul Hemraj and a four-wicket burst from Christopher Barnwell in the day match at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in North Sound Antigua on Monday.
The USA who are languishing at the bottom of the points table in Group B with just one victory from six matches, were sent in to bat but were never allowed to get away due to aggressive bowling from the Jaguars.
Only Jaskaran Malhotra with a well composed knock of 80 passed 19 that allowed the North Americans to tally 144 all out from 43.1 overs. The opener faced 116 balls and hit six fours and one six before he was ninth out in the 43rd over. By that time, he featured in a few partnerships of significance in the context of the innings. Along with former Windies opener, Xavier Marshall, Malhotra put on 39 for the second wicket before joining forces with Adil Bhatti to put on 40 for the seventh wicket. As wickets continued to tumble, he brought up his half century and began to open his arms. He then found another useful partner in Elmore Hutchinson to put on 24 for the eighth wicket to see the Americans recovering from 6-69.
It was right-arm seamer Barnwell, who got the breakthrough when he dismissed Marshall to trigger a collapse and after the USA lost three middle order wickets for four runs they never recovered.
The Jaguars who handed Essequibo all-rounder, Ricardo Adams a debut at the expense of Romario Shepherd began the run chase with left-hand openers Shimron Hetmyer and Chandrapaul Hemraj.
After losing Hetmyer early on, Hemraj and Shivnarine Chanderpaul took the attack to the Americans. The Everest Cricket Club players, put on 89 runs from 108 balls for the second wicket which took the wind out of the sails of the Americans.
However, Chanderpaul perished to a loose stroke and was taken at long on. Hemraj then brought up his maiden List A half century when he hit Noshthush Kenjige back over his head a huge six. After dominating a 20-runs partnership with his captain Leon Johnson, Hemraj was sent back for a well decorated 64 from 59 balls with six fours and four sixes.
Barnwell then joined Johnson and they knocked off the remaining 31 runs in such a quick manner that allowed the Jaguars to assume the top position in Group with a bonus point to move to 18 points, one clear of Kent Spitfires.
The Jaguars will next meet the Leeward Islands Hurricanes on Wednesday in a return fixture this time at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. In the earlier rounds, the Jaguars defeated the hosts by 16 runs in a high-scoring encounter at Coolidge.
The other match of the day will see Kent taking on Jamaica Scorpions as the race for the top two positions in Group B intensifies.