Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Big CPL T20 party is in town

Published:Friday | August 25, 2017 | 12:00 AMJermaine Lannaman
THE CAPTAINS: Kumar Sangakkara (left) of Jamaica Tallawahs and Shane Watson of St Lucia Stars at Sabina Park yesterday.

The Hero Motorcorp Caribbean Premier League party is on at Sabina Park tonight with Jamaica Tallawahs facing the lowly St Lucia Stars.

Set for an 8 p.m. start, the match-up will see the Tallawahs, third in the six-team standings on eight points, looking to secure their fifth win of the season from seven encounters, and with it book a ticket to the play-off and elimination stages.

St Lucia, meanwhile, are in sixth position and yet to register a single victory from eight outings with a no-result due to rain providing their only point to date. Trinbago Knight Riders, 14 points, and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, 11, are both first and second, and have already booked their passage to round two.

Tallawahs captain, the experienced Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara, knows a lot about the unpredictability of T20 cricket, however, and says his team will not take the Stars lightly.

 

DONE WELL SO FAR

 

"We have done well so far with four wins and two losses on the road, and coming home, we would like to improve on that," states Sangakkara.

"St Lucia may be struggling and are facing early elimination, but in their line-up are a number of world-class players. This means that they can come to the party at any time."

The Tallawahs, who are aiming to become the first team to cop consecutive titles in the five-year-old tournament, will enter the contest in somewhat of a confident mood, having played well in their four wins.

In fact, in their two defeats, firstly to the Barbados Tridents and to St Kitts in their last match, they were never outplayed.

Against Barbados, the Tallawahs made 130 for six in response to 142 for seven, while, against the Chris Gayle-captained Patriots, they scored 171 for seven in reply to 208 for three.

"We have been playing some good cricket, and once we continue to do that, we should be okay," Sangakkara said.

The Tallawahs will again rely on their frontline batsmen Lendl Simmons, Sangakarra and recent recruit, 20-year-old South African opener Glenn Phillips, as well as the in-form Andre McCarthy and Rovman Powell.

Their bowling will centre around seamers Mohammad Sami of Pakistan, Vincentian Keswick Williams and hometown boy Krishmar Santokie, as well as spinner Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh.

Stars skipper, Australian Shane Watson, will be hoping for explosive batting from Marlon Samuels, who knows Sabina Park very well, New Zealander Jesse Ryder, and openers Andre Fletcher and Johnson Charles. Pacer Jerome Taylor and off-spinners Shane Shillingford and Rahkeem Cornwall are set to lead the bowling.

The clash will represent the return-leg fixture between both teams with the first encounter in St Lucia ending with the Tallawahs scoring a five-wicket win.