Tallawahs, Warriors seek semis berth
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Tallawahs will today go in search of their fourth consecutive win in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) when they take on the Guyana Amazon Warriors at Sabina Park.
The contest, which is slated to get under way at 2 p.m., will also see the teams meeting for the second time in the tournament, having done so at Providence Stadium in Guyana.
Jamaica Tallawahs are currently third in the standings with six points and need a win to qualify for the semi-finals.
The same can also be said of the Warriors, who are also on six points, albeit playing five matches as opposed to four by the Tallawahs.
To be led by Chris Gayle, the Tallawahs are again expected to bank on their skipper, off-spinner Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan, all-rounders Vernon Philander and André Russell, and batsman Danza Hyatt.
The five have been outstanding so far in their respective roles, with South African Philander, Russell and Hyatt all claiming Man of the Match awards so far.
The Warriors, meanwhile, will again look to captain Ramnaresh Sarwan, off-spinner Sunil Narine, Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez and the in-form Lendl Simmons in their victory hunt.
In their first clash, the Warriors, on the back of an unbeaten 67 from Simmons and 24 not out from Sarwan, ran away easy eight-wicket victors, much to the delight of their jubilant home supporters.
That was the Tallawahs' first game, but they have bounced back to post three victories.
Powered by a Man of the Match performance from Philander, who claimed three for 16, they were able to get the better of the Antigua Hawksbills by seven wickets at Providence before going on to beat the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel at Queen's Park Oval by five runs courtesy of a match-winning, unbeaten 42 from Hyatt.
"We were caught a little off-guard against them (Warriors), being that it was our first game. However, since then we bounced back strong," said Gayle.
"We have found our rhythm and everything is right in the camp. We just now want to come out all guns blazing tomorrow and not only exact revenge, but also book a spot in the semi-finals."
The Warriors, who were recording their second win when they defeated the Tallawahs, followed up with back-to-back losses to the St Lucia Zouks and the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.
However, they rebounded to carve out a 27-run win over leaders Barbados Tridents in their last encounter, which, according to Sarwan, was the right tonic needed for today's encounter.
"We started off well, but then we hit an obstacle by losing some matches. However, we were able to put things together in our last game," said Sarwan.
"This has given us the sort of confidence that is needed to come here to Jamaica and win, and hopefully come tomorrow, we will be able to do so and book ourselves a place in the semi-finals."
The Tridents, the only team to qualify for the semi-finals thus far, lead the points standing with eight from six matches.
Each team is slated to play seven preliminary-round matches, with the top four advancing to the semi-finals.