Tallawahs look to seal top-two spot
Jamaica Tallawahs captain Kumar Sangakkara says defeating the Guyana Amazon Warriors and finishing in the top two will be their primary focus when the teams meet tonight in the Hero Motorcorp Caribbean Premier League at Sabina Park, beginning at 8 p.m.
The Tallawahs, who trounced the Chris Gayle-led St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by 41 runs on Wednesday, are currently second in the six-team standings on 12 points, heading into their final game of the preliminary round.
This is one point ahead of the Patriots, and four adrift of runaway leaders Trinbago Knight Riders, who also have a game in hand.
''We are now in second position on the leader board, but we have one more game, which is really important for us,'' said Sangakkara, who was once again lethal with the bat in the Tallawahs victory over the Patriots.
''It is against a very, very good Guyana Amazon Warriors side, who have come back into the tournament really strongly, and we know that if we win, it we will get us into the top two.''
''This would be a big advantage for us as it will give us two opportunities of making the final."
Jamaica, who lost the toss and were asked to first strike, scored a highly competitive 157 for seven off their 20 overs against the Patriots with Sangakkara leading the charge with a shot-filled 69.
Sangakkara, who hit three sixes and four fours, was supported by all-rounder Rovman Powell, who slammed 43 off 26 balls, and New Zealand opener Glenn Phillips, who made a run-a-ball 31.
In reply, St Kitts were blown away for 116 with 2.1 overs remaining largely due to young Jamaican fast bowler Oshane Thomas, who claimed three for 31 off his allotted overs.
Playing in his first game of the season, and third Twenty20 match overall, the 20 year-old, in bowling at high speeds, dismissed Gayle for a three-ball duck, West Indies T20 World Cup-winning hero Carlos Brathwaite for seven, and power-hitter Mohammad Nabi of Afghanistan for four.
Fellow pacer Krishmar Santokie, who did primary damage to the Patriots middle and lower order batters, finished with three for 10.
''The victory was really set up by Oshane coming in today and bowling really quick,'' expressed Sangakkara.
''We knew we had to get Gayle and Evin Lewis out early if we were to have a chance of defending 157 and we managed to do that.
''When you have someone like Oshane bowling high 140 kph and 150 kph it gives you a great edge, as extra pace with the control that Oshane had meant that we could hunt wickets at important stages."
Meanwhile, in assessing his team's loss, which like the Tallawahs was their third of the season, Gayle also mentioned the spell of Thomas as the key.
''Last year when I played with him he bowled with a lot of 'wheels'. This year, in his first game, he came out and got the start for his team, and put us on the back foot,'' said Gayle.