CPL clash! - Unpredictable Tallawahs face TKR in semi-final showdown
The slate has been wiped clean and the top four teams in this year’s truncated Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will battle in today’s semi-final double-header, to decide who will face off for the title on September 10.
All local eyes will be fixed on semi-final one at 9 a.m. Jamaica time, when Jamaican franchise, the Tallawahs, square off with the high-riding unbeaten Trinbago Knight Riders at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
In the second semi-final at 4:30 p.m., the Guyana Amazon Warriors battle the St Lucia Zouks.
It is without question that the Kieron Pollard-led Knight Riders are the hot favourites heading into today’s contest against the Tallawahs, having gone through the league phase of the tournament with an unblemished 10 wins from 10 games record.
The Tallawahs, on the other hand, have clawed their way into the final four with some indifferent performances, which saw them winning just three games and losing six, with one no result.
Today’s clash will, however, be a totally different ball game, depending on which Tallawahs team turn up in Tarouba.
The records have shown that historically, there is not much to separate both teams, with the franchises facing each other 18 times in the competition with a 9-9 record.
The Knight Riders, however, hold a slight edge when the teams play in Trinidad, with the home side winning six out of their 10 matches against the Tallawahs.
First-year captain Rovman Powell is hoping for one for those inspirational performances against the Knight Riders, despite his team’s inconsistent run so far.
“Knowing the nature of the competition, teams very rarely go through the entire competition without losing a game, so maybe tomorrow (today) we will see Trinidad’s bad game,” said Powell at the pre-match press conference.
The Tallawahs will be buoyed by the fact that they have the competition’s leading run-scorer in Glenn Phillips (314 runs) and the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, Mujeeb Ur Rahman (15 wickets), in their line-up.
They also have one very special player in Andre ‘Dangeruss’ Russell, who has been restricted to only batting duties lately due to a knee problem.
Russell could be the trump card for the Jamaican franchise, as he has always enjoyed facing the Knight Riders in the CPL. The right-hander has scored 565 runs, including a century, in five innings at an average of 56.50 and a strike rate of 191.52.
The Knight Riders possess a very formidable team but they will be sweating on the fitness of talisman Sunil Narine, who has been facing kidney stone problems.
Head coach Brendon McCallum expects his charges to continue the good work they have been doing.
“It’s been a really good season for us and the guys have played some exceptional cricket. To go 10 from 10 so far has been magnificent. Hopefully, the work that we have put in up to this point can continue in the game tomorrow (today).”