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Powell returns to Hurricanes


Powell returns to Hurricanes

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ST JOHN’S – The return of Kieran Powell has added some intrigue to one of the two feature matches in the WICB Professional Cricket League Regional 4-Day Tournament, which enters its penultimate round this weekend.

The news about Powell has overshadowed the race for the Headley/Weekes Trophy, symbol of regional first-class supremacy, which has now become a two-team affair between reigning champions Guyana Jaguars and contenders Barbados Pride. 

Powell will be in the thick of things, when bottom-placed Leeward Islands Hurricanes host the front-running Jaguars at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground here.

At the same time, the Pride will be trying to overcome long-standing arch-rivals Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at the National Cricket Centre in Trinidad to stay in the hunt for the title.

In the other match, Windward Islands Volcanoes and Jamaica Scorpions will try to restore pride down the homestretch of the season, when they clash at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex in St. Vincent.

wicb-pcl-logoIn North Sound, Antigua: Powell will make a dramatic return to the Hurricanes fold following a two-year, self-imposed exile from the game.

The 26-year-old from Nevis played 21 Tests and 28 One-day Internationals for West Indies before taking a break from the game.

He last played for the Hurricanes two Aprils ago, when he was captain and the home team crumbled to defeat at the hands of the Pride at the same venue.

The Hurricanes would be over the moon, if he could come close to his best, and help them to blow away the Jaguars – the only unbeaten side in this year’s tournament – who are heavily favoured to win not only this contest and extend their 19-point lead over the Pride.

The Jags kept the Pride at arm’s length when they defied a typically, feisty Volcanoes in their last match prior to the break, making them the heavy favourite to take a second straight title. At the same time, the Hurricanes slid to defeat at the hands of the Red Force.

The visitors have easily won their last three matches between the two sides – but the home team can take comfort that they previously beat their opponents at this venue two years ago.

The Jags also have reason to celebrate, as veteran left-handed batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul and long-standing all-rounder Christopher Barnwell have returned following injury. 

In Couva, Trinidad: The hosts are coming off two straight wins and would consider a third victory or even an incomplete match in which they dominate the Pride a feather in their cap.

The visitors gained a boost when they crushed the Scorpions inside three days in their last match prior to the break and know nothing short of victory and a huge haul of points will keep the Jags within sight, if not within reach.

The Pride have won six of their last eight matches against the Red Force – but this will be the first time that the two will face each other in a first-class match at the NCC.

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach is back from injury after four weeks as the only change to the Pride squad and they will be hoping he gives them the edge to do the damage.

In Kingstown, St Vincent:  The Volcanoes and the Scorpions suffered three-day defeats at the hands of the Jaguars and the Pride respectively in the previous round before the break, so they will be hoping to play far more competitively this time around.

Both teams have so far defended home turf under the new playing format for the R4Day, so the Volcanoes will be looking to return the favour to their opponents, after losing to the Scorpions on the road earlier this season.

This will be the first time the two teams will meet at Arnos Vale Sports Complex in 16 years and the match could ultimately be decided on how well the batsmen on both sides cope with a typically spin-friendly pitch.

Scorpions’ left-arm spinner Nikita Miller is the leading bowler this season and is fresh off a 10-wicket performance against the Pride – but the Volcanoes’ champion off-spinner Shane Shillingford has been sidelined with a niggling injury, so their captain Liam Sebastien will have to carry the fight with his off-spin.  (PR)