Tallawahs won't take Stars lightly - O'Donnell
Jamaica Tallawahs head coach Mark O'Donnell said that they will not be underestimating the winless St Lucia Stars when both meet in the Hero Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 (T20) competition at Sabina Park in Kingston today at 6 p.m. Match time is 6 p.m. The Tallawahs will be seeking their second straight win after their emphatic four-wicket win over defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders on Friday night in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
The Stars, who are led by the hard-hitting Kieron Pollard, have yet to register a win after two matches in the competition this season. In fact, they have lost 13 consecutive games in the competition dating back to last season.
However, O'Donnell told The Gleaner yesterday that despite the poor form of their opponents, they are determined to play some good cricket and win the game.
"It is a new franchise, and it is a new season, but we concern ourselves more with what we need to do rather than the opposition too much," said O'Donnell.
"If someone plays very well in T20 cricket for a short space of time, they can take the game away from you, and if you look around the competition, I think the sides are even," he said. "We are absolutely not taking them lightly, because in T20 cricket, any team plays well on the day. They can put people under pressure and we just need to play well with bat and ball, and ensure that we come out with the win," O'Donnell said.
The Tallawahs will be relying heavily on captain AndrÈ Russell, who slammed a brilliant 121 off 49 balls against the Knight Riders on Friday. The all-rounder also took a hat-trick in the match. He is expected to receive valuable support from Kennar Lewis, who made 51 in the opening game, along with Ross Taylor, Rovman Powell, Glenn Phillips, David Miller and Johnson Charles. The bowling department will be spearheaded by Krishmar Santokie, Kemar Roach, Samuel Badree and Imad Wasim.
The Stars are coming off a three-run defeat to the Guyana Amazon Warriors in their last encounter. However, Pollard said that his team has been making steady improvements as the competition progresses and he is confident that they will give a good account of themselves against the Tallawahs.
"We have not started off well, but I think we have improved in our last game. That is a positive for us," said Pollard. "I think we are getting closer because I think the belief in the dressing room is still there," he said.
"I think the guys are upbeat and I think that last game has given us some confidence that we can push and play a good 40 overs of cricket and, hopefully, we can break that jinx and win our first game this season."