Tallawahs ready to put on a show
Chris Gayle has expressed that he intends to lead from the front as captain of the Jamaica Tallawahs when they open their campaign against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots today in the Hero MotoCorp Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20.
To be played at Warner Park, St Kitts and Nevis, the match-up will be the fourth of the tournament, and first of two matches on the day.
Title holders Trinbago Knight Riders, who went down to a surprise six-wicket defeat to St Lucia at home in the tournament opener, will host the Guyana Amazon Warriors at Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
Guyana won their opener away to the Patriots in the tournament's second encounter at Warner Park on Thursday.
"I'll be rallying the troops and looking to put on a show," said Gayle, who is set to lead the team's batting along with Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakarra, all-rounder Andre Russell, wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton and outstanding Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan.
"We have a really exciting bunch of players, and we will be looking to add more silverware to our trophy cabinet."
The Tallawahs, winners of the inaugural tournament, are set to enter the contest high on confidence after what returning coach Paul Nixon said was an outstanding preparation period.
Additionally, as well, they will be hoping to confine the Patriots to their second defeat, after the South African Faf Du Plessis-captained outfit went down by four wickets, with a ball remaining, to the Amazon Warriors.
"We are confident and happy with the direction we are heading at this early stage," said former England international Nixon, who led the Tallawahs to the title in 2013 before giving way to South Africa's Mickey Arthur in 2014 and 2015.
He also explained that it was the intention of the team to play "passionate, entertaining and fearless cricket", as the team seeks to "create a legacy for Jamaican cricket".
The bowling for the Tallawahs see South African fast-bowler Dayle Steyn, Pakistan left-arm spinner Imad Wasim and Russell leading the charge.
SOMETHING FOR HOME FANS
St Kitts, in the meantime, who scored a par-score 164 for nine off their allotted 20 overs in their opener on Wednesday before seeing the Warriors amass 165 for six off 19.5, will be hoping to give their home fans something to cheer about this time around.
Their batting is again expected to be spearheaded by Du Plessis with Lendl Simmons, Australian Brad Hodge and Pakistani Thisara Perera in support while, as it relates to their bowling, leading the way will be leg-spinner Samuel Badree, Jamaican Krishmar Santokie, and ICC Twenty20 World Cup final hero, all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite.
The CPL this year will see each of the six participating teams playing 10 preliminary round matches, including four at home.
The top four will thereafter progress to a semi-final play-off series with the top two progressing to the final also to be staged in St Kitts and Nevis on August 7. August 8 has been set as a reserve date for the final.
JAMAICA TALLAWAHS (from): Chris Gayle (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Shakib Al Hasan, Andre Russell, Imad Wasim, Dale Steyn, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton, Jon-Russ Jaggesar, Andre McCarthy, Jonathan Foo, Alex Ross, Kesrick Williams, Nkrumah Bonner, Garey Mathurin, Timroy Allen, O'shane Thomas
ST KITTS AND NEVIS PATRIOTS (from): Faf Du Plessis (captain), Lendl Simmons, Samuel Badree, Brad Hodge, Thisara Perera, Jonathan Carter, Krishmar Santokie, Evin Lewis, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kieran Powell, Jon-Jon Smuts, Devon Thomas, Sharmarh Brooks, Tino Best, Jeremiah Louis, Carlos Brathwaite, Nikhil Dutta, Alzarri Joseph