Jamaica Tallawahs aiming for top spot
Jamaica Tallawahs will attempt for the first time this season to claim the top position in the Hero-sponsored Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 when they play leaders Barbados Tridents at Sabina Park today beginning at 6 p.m.
The Tallawahs, coming off back to back wins over St Lucia Zouks and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel earlier this year, are currently second in the six-team standings on eight points.
This is the same amount as Barbados, who have a better net run rate.
"Barbados are a formidable team, and are actually playing some good cricket," said Chris Gayle, captain of Jamaica.
"We will therefore have to be at our best to beat them, something I know we are capable of."
Gayle who slammed 105 against the Red Steel for his 16th century in the format, will again look to lead from the front with the bat.
He is the tournament's top run-getter thus far with 348 having also notched unbeaten totals of 90 not out, 72 not out and 64 not out.
His opening partner, wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton, who topscored with 76 against the Zouks, Australian Chris Lynn, who has shown glimpses of potential, but is yet to explode, as well as Andre "Superman" Russell, represent the other in-form batsmen in the team.
Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardene, is also another option, however, the 38-year-old has been having a lean spell with the bat following scores of zero, three, 10, and one thus far.
Taylor to lead bowling
The bowling, in the meanwhile, is again expected to be led by pacers Jerome Taylor and Krishmar Santokie, who with 14 scalps is the tournament's leading wicket-taker.
New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori and South African seamer Rusty Theron have also been having good seasons.
"It's an all-round effort so far, and, if we continue in a similar manner, I don't see why we can't win," noted Gayle.
Barbados, who has played seven matches in comparison to Jamaica's six, will be hunting their fifth win.
In their bid to achieve this they will be hoping that talisman captain Kieron Pollard will continue to lead from the front in all departments.
To compliment him the Tridents are expected to place a premium on the batting exploits of opener Dwayne Smith, Pakistan batsman Shoab Malik, South African spinner Robin Peterson and pacers, Jason Holder and Ravi Rampaul.
"It should be a challenge playing Jamaica in Jamaica," said Pollard.
"However, we are on a mission, that of qualifying for the semi-finals and we intend to claim maximum points."